Hiking in South Africa
The hike spirals up around the head offering 360 degree views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a local favourite, with many Capetonians doing the trail before or after work. It’s a great way to really experience Cape Town’s easy access to nature. Once Cape Town offers a trek up Lion’s Head as a free activity. So be sure to check with reception when it’s happening.
Where: Signal Hill Rd, Cape Town (3,2km from Once Cape Town)
Duration: 2 - 3 hours
Good to Know: Take a refreshment for when you reach the top so that you can take some time to enjoy the view. Only locals know how to get to Wally’s cave, so drag one along. On the full moon people do a Lion’s Head night hike by moonlight.
Book the hike at Once Cape Town Reception
This is the quickest trail up Table Mountain, but by no means a walk in the park. It’s a steep climb, so a certain level of fitness is required. It’s one of the most popular routes in Cape Town, with easy access from the city and an epic destination - the top of Table Mountain. What makes this hike unlike any other you’ve done is that you catch a ride on the cable car to get back down.
Where: Tafelberg Rd, Cape Town (4,3km from Once Cape Town)
Duration: 3 hours
Good to Know: It’s best to climb this route in the cooler morning hours, with direct sunlight for most of the day it can get pretty hot.
Join @trailfitsa for public hiking events and private tours
Photo by @trailfitsa. Join for public hiking events and private tours
This is less of a walk and more of a climb, with 700 or so steps to go. You come back the same way you went up, but the lush vegetation and panoramic views are phenomenal, and seeing it all twice is a pleasure. Conveniently, the trail starts in Kirstenbosch Gardens, meaning you can get on the Red hop-on hop-off bus to get there. Chat to reception at Once to get a ticket.
Where: Kirstenbosch Gardens, Cape Town (12,7km from Once Cape Town)
Duration: 4 hours
Good to Know: Because you are starting in Kirstenbosch Gardens you’ll need to pay the entrance fee of R40 to get through the gates.
Photo by @travelourdreams. Follow them for great insider tips.
Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve
This nature reserve, owned by the Johannesburg City Council, has a network of trails open to the public 7 days a week, from sunrise to sunset. It is however advised to go with a group or join one of the guided walks on the fourth Sunday of every month. You may be lucky enough to spot some of the game on the reserve during your hike, including wildebees and zebra.
Where: Peggy Vera Road, Kiblerpark (17,7km from Once in Joburg)
Distance: 3km - 9km (various routes)
Duration: Dependent on the route chosen
Good to Know: You can find a map of the trails on the website.
Join a guided hike here
Photo by @masimini_adventures. Check them out on Instagram.
Cape Point Nature Reserve
Take an easy walk through the nature reserve to reach the most South-Western point of Africa. You’ll walk along the untouched Diaz Beach to the sound of crashing waves and surrounded by towering cliffs, and reach the Cape of Good Hope. It’s a walk packed with natural beauty and if guided, amazing storytelling.
Where: Cape Point Nature Reserve (70.8km from Once Cape Town)
Distance: Various routes
Duration: A minimum of 40 minutes of walking
Good to Know: Be picked up right outside of Once in Cape Town by a shuttle and explore the entire Cape Peninsula and enjoy the hike to make a complete day of it.
Book the complete tour here on our website.
The Whale Trail
This coastal walk boasts jaw-dropping ocean views and winds through fynbos shrubs. Fynbos, meaning fine bush, is what we call the type of plants that make up the Cape Floral Kingdom. Existing only in the Eastern and Western Cape of South Africa, it is the smallest of the seven floral kingdoms around the world. Book this hike in September, October or November and you may be lucky enough to spot the visiting whales. You’ll also get to spend every night of the walk in a different cottage perched along the route.
Where: De Hoop Nature Reserve (234km from Once Cape Town)
Duration: 5 days
Good to Know: Groups must be made up of 6 or 12 people, so start rallying the troops!
Book the hike here
Photo from @roxiroxrox
The Amphitheatre Heritage Hike
This walk traverses through the highest parts of the country in the Drakensberg. You’re in for spectacular mountain paths with sweeping views of uninhabited nature. One of the highlights of the hike is reaching the top of Tugela Falls, Africa’s highest waterfall. You may also get to encounter some of the regions wildlife.
Where: Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park (391km from Once Joburg)
Duration: 3 days
Good to Know: The mountains can get cold, so pack according to the season you’re hiking in.
Book the hike here
Photo by @jeff_hennessy
The Genadendal Trail
This is a short but strenuous walk through the rugged mountains, less than 2 hours out of Cape Town. The paths are shouldered by wild flowers and cool swimming holes along the trail offer the ultimate refreshment. You’ll also get to learn more about the rich history of the area while, and get to stay in a well equipped farm cottage.
Where: Riviersonderend Conservation Area (138km from Once Cape Town)
Duration: 2 Days
Good to Know: The walk is completely exposed and so it can get really hot - sun protection is essential.
Book the hike here
Photo by @danielldupreez