Table Mountain is probably Cape Town’s most iconic landmark. You can easily visit the mountain by embarking on the cableway. But why take the easy way when you can immerse yourself in one of the best hikes in Cape Town? The Platteklip Gorge hiking trail is one of the most well-known hiking trails in the Mother City. As well as the most popular hike to the top of Table Mountain. Platteklip Gorge hiking trail offers you a direct route to the summit, as well as some spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the city. This hiking trail is definitely a popular one. To ensure that you are fully prepared for a hike up Table Mountain, we have gathered everything you need to know for your hike. Read along for the ultimate guide to hiking Platteklip Gorge in Cape Town.
Hiking Platteklip Gorge in Cape Town
The hiking trail of Platteklip Gorge starts on Tafelberg Road. When you are at the Lower Cableway Station of Table Mountain you must carry on along the road till you reach a parking area with a Platteklip Gorge sign. After you have parked your car you must walk towards the sign – it is on the left side of a stone staircase. From here you must walk up the stairs. The route is well marked and heads directly up the hill – without any option to turn off. You just have to follow the path till you reach a signpost. This indicates that you have reached the Upper Contour Path. The sign will say ‘Upper Cable Station via Platteklip Gorge 2100m’. Follow the sign and turn left along the path. You must continue walking on this route until you reach an intersection with another signpost. This one will say ‘Platteklip Gorge Upper Cable Station’ and you must follow the sign by turning right.
From here you will begin zig-zagging your way up a ravine of Table Mountain. This part of the route is very straightforward, and the path is easy to stay on, but the steps get steeper and steeper till you are at the summit. It is a thigh burner, so it is important you take as many breaks as you need. Once you reach the summit you must turn right, climb a few steps, and then you are at the top of Table Mountain.
Is it difficult to hike Platteklip Gorge?
If you compare Platteklip Gorge to other Table Mountain hiking trails it is definitely the easiest, shortest, and less challenging route to the top. But do not be fooled by this. Platteklip Gorge is a difficult hike. Especially if you are a beginner like us or if you don’t have that good of a fitness level. It does not require any expert hiking skills or challenging rock climbing, but it is uphill all the way to the top. This means that there is some upward climbing, which can be quite challenging enough in the heat of the sun. You must also keep in mind that because of the short hike to the top it is a pretty steep hike. This means that there are a lot of steps to conquer – they just keep coming. All that being said, it is still a hike that you can do as a beginner. It is more so your fitness level that will determine how challenging you will find the Platteklip Gorge hiking trail. And once you reach the top of Table Mountain all the muscle aches will be worth it.
Taking the Cable Car down from Table Mountain
As we have said, the Platteklip Gorge hiking trail is pretty steep. Walking down from the top of Table Mountain can therefore be as challenging as walking upwards. Especially if your body is feeling the aftereffects of the steep climb, it might be a good idea not to walk down the mountain. Fortunately, you are able to ride the cableway to the bottom. You can either buy your ticket online beforehand or at the upper cableway station before you embark on the cable car. Keep in mind though, that the cableway is weather dependent. If the weather is bad or there are strong winds it might be closed, and your only way down is by walking. Another important tip is not to miss the last cableway down. Remember to check the website for the specific times.
Time spent hiking Platteklip Gorge
How much time you spend hiking Platteklip Gorge depends a lot on you and your fitness level. We are beginners when it comes to hiking, and it took us about 3,5 hours to reach the top of Table Mountain. We took a lot of breaks during our hike – to hydrate, eat snacks, and reapply sunscreen. However, we met several people along the route who were a lot faster than us. One couple made it to the top in an hour and 15 minutes. However, keep in mind that it is not a race to the top. Take your time and do the hike at your own pace for the best hiking experience.
What to bring for your Platteklip Gorge hike
If you are planning to hike the Platteklip Gorge trail there are a few things that you should bring. Therefore, we have gathered this list of useful things to bring for your Platteklip Gorge hike.
- A lot of water – It is very important you stay hydrated during your Platteklip Gorge hike.
- A good pair of shoes – Climbing a huge number of stairs requires a good pair of shoes. A good grip is especially essential for a great hiking experience.
- Headlamp – It is always a good idea to bring along a lamp for your hikes. If you are hiking Platteklip Gorge for the sunset at Table Mountain, it is especially a good idea to bring a lamp. If the cableway is not running your only way down is by walking. And it would be too dangerous without any light.
- Sunscreen – There is almost no shade along the trail. Sunscreen is a must to avoid sunburn.
- Snacks – A hike to the top of Table Mountain is never complete without snacks. You need something to celebrate when you reach the top.
Best time to hike Platteklip Gorge in Cape Town
The best time to hike Platteklip Gorge in Cape Town is definitely in the morning hours. The earlier you start the better. The hiking trail is in direct sunlight which means that it can be brutally hot during the day. Another bonus of hiking in the morning is that you can take your time. You do not have to stress about reaching the top before sunset. However, hiking the Platteklip Gorge trail in the afternoon can also be good. The crowds tend to be smaller, and you are able to watch a stunning sunset from the top of Table Mountain.