Off the Beaten Track: 5 Under the Radar Trails in Cape Town And Surrounds

Words: Emma Nkunzana

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It’s no secret that Cape Town boasts some spectacular trails. For hobbits and tourists there’s Lion’s Head and Table Mountain, for those that enjoy the long and slow walks there’s Newlands Forest, Silvermine and Orange Kloof, and for the novice trail runners – there’s Vensters. But if you’re looking for a trail that is more low key we have some stellar spots suitable for all levels of fitness.

5 Under the Radar Trails in Cape Town

Cecilia Contour Path

You can either start the trail at the Cecilia Forest car park in Constantia (free) or Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (Kirstenbosch entrance). The car park is accessed where Hohenort Drive meets Rhodes Drive.

Like most Constantia and Newlands trails, Cecilia is a calm trek along the lower sections of Table Mountain, although it can be quite steep at times the trees give a fair amount of shade making it ideal for all seasons.

Time: ± 2 hours
Cost: Free
Difficulty: easy, with some steepness.

Dutoitskop Hiking Trail

The Dutoitskop trail forms part of the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve and the Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve. Situated in Franschhoek the entire reserve spans 30km of well-maintained hiking trails, from a quick 2-hour walk to a full days hike. Dutoitskop is a great in-between trail, it starts at the main gate and peaks at the Dutiotskop mountain. For flora enthusiasts, there’s a large diversity of indigenous fynbos.

Time: 2,5 – 5 hours
Cost: R50 day permit (guided hikes available for R100 per person)
Difficulty: easy

Trails in Cape Town

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

Just outside Stellenbosch lies the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, the reserve spans across Stellenbosch and is home to a variety of trails for all fitness levels. If you’re going in summer it’s best to start at first light, there’s little to no shaded or tree cover except for caves along the way and the temperature can peak to 45 ºC. Luckily there are two waterfalls (depending on the time of year it can range from a trickle to a steady flow), as well as a river and mini pools that can be easily accessed along the way. Just watch out for the frogs, not that they’re poisonous but they do sneak up on you.

Time: varies from 1 – 3 hours depending on pace and distance.
Cost: R40
Difficulty: easy

La Motte

Who doesn’t love a reward after a hard but enjoyable, hike? Explore the splendour of the flora and fauna of La Motte Wine Estate and then pop to the restaurant for wine tasting or lunch. The circular route starts at La Motte and stretches over 5 km. There is also an abundance of birdlife to be viewed, as well as diverse fynbos.

Time: ±2 hours
Cost: free
Difficulty: easy

Little Lion’s Head

If you’re at an average level of fitness and short on time but looking for a mild sweat, then Little Lions Head will hit the endorphin sweet spot. Expect some scrambling and rock climbing. The start of the trail is through a gate at the top of Valley View Drive, which can be accessed from Mount Rhodes Drive off Victoria Road. The trail is only accessible from 06h00 – 20h00 in summer and 08h00 – 18h30 in winter.

Time: 1 – 1,5 hours
Cost: free
Difficulty: easy

trails in Cape Town

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