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Table Mountain National Park
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An iconic 5 day, 4 night hiking trail traversing 75km through the world heritage site of Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), the Hoerikwaggo Trail gives hikers an unforgettable experience of travelling in the footsteps of the Cape’s ancestors and experiencing the unsurpassed beauty of the Hoerikwaggo – the “mountain in the sea”.
Hoerikwaggo is a Khoisan name given to Table Mountain by the nomadic Khoi people who hunted and gathered on these mountains. Linking Cape Point to Table Mountain, the trail was constructed by previously unemployed people from the townships of the Cape Peninsula with a great emphasis on leaving little or no environmental impact on the earth.
Hikers pass through peaks, forests, beaches and restricted conservation areas of Table Mountain National Park, while journeying through the smallest and most diverse of the world’s floral kingdoms. Along the trail, hikers are also exposed to breathtaking views; and flora and fauna unique to the Western Cape.
- Gearing up
- Lacing up
- Into the swing of things
- Tread carefully
- Views for the Soul
- Dusting off
- What you need to know
- Tour Operators
Hikers will require food, good walking boots, a backpack, water bottles, snacks and weather-proof hiking gear for the unpredictable Cape Town weather (which can include sun, wind, rain etc). As the trail does not have directional signage, hikers are encouraged to arrange a trail guide or to purchase good maps of the area.
The following 4 tented camps are available along the trail for overnight purposes:
All camps offer beautifully appointed self-catering accommodation with full kitchen and bathroom facilities for a maximum of 12 persons. Braai facilities are available. Hikers are required to provide their own bedding and towels. Note that we do not supply wood and you will need to bring your own wood, fire lighters and matches.
For more information on each of the tented camps:
- Check availability
- Making your reservations
- Images of accommodation at Smitswinkel
- Images of accommodation at Silvermine
- Directions to Silvermine
- Images of accommodation at Slangkop
- Directions to Slangkop
- Images of accommodation at Orange Kloof
- Directions to Orange Kloof
Important information: Please be aware that you need to make your own shuttle (drop-off and pick-up) and porterage arrangements if required. Overnight parking (a maximum of two vehicles) is available at the Platteklip Wash Houses (a 30-minute walk from the Lower Cableway station – the end point of the trail). This parking is by arrangement with the reservations officer only and is at the owners’ own risk.
Day 1: Cape Point to Smitswinkel
Difficult – 15km
Your journey begins at the Cape Point Lighthouse (the Cape of Good Hope section of the Table Mountain National Park, otherwise known more fondly as the “jewel of the south”). Hikers head north through vast tracts of fragrant fynbos, while enjoying stunning views of the False Bay Coast and Cape Point. Look out for a wide variety of antelope such as Red Hartebees and Klipspringer, as well as other animals such as the Chachma baboons.
Also keep your eyes peeled for whales (usually seen between late August and October), reptiles and birds - including the not so small, flightless ostrich. The very observant might also sight the crude stone hand tools that give evidence of the early and middle stone-age inhabitants of Cape Point. In the evening, unwind in the shelter of weathered flowering gum plantations at the Smitswinkel Tented Camp which is situated approximately 300m from the Cape of Good Hope entrance gate.
- The Cape of Good Hope daily conservation fees (R90 per person) are excluded from your accommodation fee. Holders of the TMNP limited entry card or Wild Card may use their valid card in lieu of the conservation fees.
- Hikers need to arrange their own shuttle from the Smitswinkel Tented Camp to the starting point of Day 2, along Red Hill Road at the Klein Plaas Dam signboard, close to the SA Navy’s Signal School above Simons Town.
Day 2: Red Hill to Slangkop
Moderate – 12km
Say farewell to the graceful curve of False Bay as you leave Red Hill Road, just above Simonstown, and head off down the spine of the Table Mountain chain. This gentle traverse through wide open spaces is a flower fanatic’s wonderland, but be sure to look closely as some of the greatest fynbos treasures are only enjoyed by being observant.
As you make your way towards Kleinplaas Dam, you can see Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak in the distance and, if you look back, there is an uninterrupted view all the way down to Cape Point. When you arrive at the Dam, look out for fish eagles or listen for their distinctive cry. After relaxing at the water’s edge, the route continues over the ridge and you can catch your first glimpse of the glistening Atlantic Ocean.
The day ends with a descent to the tented camp at Slangkop, nestled between indigenous protected Milkwood trees.
Day 3: Slangkop to Silvermine
Tough – 21km
Test your hiking stamina as you cross endless beaches next to crashing waves, followed by a steep climb – however the views and satisfaction of completing this section is worth the effort. Leaving Slangkop Point, the crisp ocean air will sharpen your senses, preparing you for the day. Be on the lookout for Oyster Catchers and Cape Clawless Otters on the shoreline and, further out to sea, whales and dolphins.
As you walk along the bleached white sands of the spectacular Noordhoek Beach, you will see the remains of the unfortunate Kakapo wreck, beached by its Captain on 26 May 1900. Leaving the vast sands behind, ascend Chapman’s Peak and take a well-deserved lunch break to enjoy the 360° panoramic views that stretch from Table Mountain to Cape Point. Then climb Noordhoek Peak before hiking down to your overnight accommodation at the beautifully appointed Silvermine Tented Camp.
Day 4: Silvermine to Orange Kloof
Challenging – 15.5km
A day of steep climbs and breath-taking views that showcase Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and its marine protected area in all its splendour. The view as you look out over Hout Bay from Noordhoek Beach is definitely among the most picturesque in the country. This is only the beginning of a day of sweeping vistas, and as you wind your way north, you will marvel at the contrast between TMNP and the bustling metropolis of the Peninsula that sprawls out before you.
It is here that you can appreciate the way nature and the city interacts on the borders of one of the world’s few urban parks. At Constantia Nek hikers enter the restricted area of Orange Kloof and the day ends at the Orange Kloof Tented Camp surrounded by the magic of an Afromontane forest.
Day 5: Orange Kloof to Tafelberg Road
Difficult – 9.5km
The final day of the Hoerikwaggo Trail is unforgettable. Orange Kloof Afromontane Forest offers some shaded respite and it is quite simply one of the most wonderful forest experiences you can imagine. Table Mountain is a world of its own and boasts incredible fynbos delights, panoramic views and historic landmarks - not least of which are the five dams that still provide Cape Town with water.
As you ascend the Back Table via the picturesque Disa Gorge, keep a sharp Lookout for the ‘Pride of Table Mountain’ and the Red Disa flower (an orchid which blooms in February). You can take a short break at the rock pools of Hell’s Gate which is the source of the Disa River. From Woodhead Dam, hikers continue to walk through the Valley of the Red Gods to the upper Cableway station and are then able to descend the mountain via Platteklip Gorge or via the Cableway (at their own costs) to end the Hoerikwaggo Trail at the bottom Cableway station.
- Orange Kloof is a restricted area and due to the conservation of the Afromontane Forest a permit is required to hike in this area. When booking the Orange Kloof Tented Camp accommodation for the trail and making use of a TMNP accredited guide, no permit is required to hike from Orange Kloof up Disa Gorge to Table Mountain on Day 5. Hikers without a guide must hike from Orange Kloof Tented Camp to Constantia Nek and the confirmation letter for booking the Tented Camp acts as your permit for hiking in this section of the restricted area. From Constantia Nek hikers without a guide can proceed to Table Mountain via the relevant foot paths (see map) outside of Orange Kloof on Day 5.
- Hikers may make prior arrangements with the booking officer to park their vehicles at Platteklip Wash Houses in Cape Town (a 30-minute walk from the Cableway station) and collect them at the end of day five.
- There is no charge for hiking the trail; however hikers will be required to pay entrance (Cape Point) and accommodation fees.
- To book accommodation for the trail or for further information, contact the Hoerikwaggo Trail Bookings Office on Tel: +27 (0) 21 712 7471 between 08h00 -16h00 weekdays or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, click here to check availability and book online. All tented camps accommodate a maximum of 12 persons.
- The trail is not signposted. It is recommended that hikers use a TMNP accredited Trail Guide. Contact either (021) 465 8752 or (021) 462 7861 for assistance in arranging a guide. Should a trail guide be required to sleep over at a tented camp, the client must arrange with the guide for the payment of this accommodation.
- Trail Guides are compulsory should hikers wish to take the Disa Gorge route in Orange Kloof.
- It is recommended that good quality maps are purchased for the hike. Peter Slingsby maps can be sourced via his website on www.slingsbymaps.com
- Porterage and shuttle services are not offered by Table Mountain National Park.
Registered Tour Operators should e-mail: email@example.com or contact SANParks Travel Trade Office, Cape Town on +27 (0) 21 422 2816 for special tour operator rates. Alternatively, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If spending the night in the beautifully serene setting of the Tented Camps appeals more to you than hiking the trail, simply book the accommodation and use it as a base from where you can enjoy all the surrounding activities.
Have a question? Why not ask at the forums?
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