Just an hour’s drive outside of the busy CBD of Cape Town lies one of the most beautiful parks in South Africa, Cape Point Nature Reserve. Hundreds of visitors coming from all over the world visit this spectacular destination on a daily basis, but they often only see a fraction of the amazing natural beauty of the reserve.
Some might not know but Cape Point is also considered a hiker’s paradise, as there are a number of beautiful and manageable short walks throughout the park. Each trail serves up a selection of panoramic ocean and mountain views, access to unspoilt beaches, and the opportunity to spot rare wildlife wandering peacefully among the fynbos or across the salt white sand.
Here are some of their trails you and your family should definitely consider taking when in the reserve:
Cape of Good Hope Trail
This trail is an easy one to do with your family and friends. The well-maintained boardwalk takes you all the way to the famous Cape of Good Hope sign – where thousands of tourists from across the globe love to capture their memories on film. This path is popular for its killer views over Diaz Beach and its natural western shoreline. Make your way to the very end of the trail, and you’ll have reached the most southern point of the Cape Peninsula – a perfect photo opportunity to prove that you’ve visited the most South Western corner of Africa.
Departure point for the hike: Cape Point main parking area. Follow signs towards Cape of Good Hope. Distance: +-3.5km, 2-3 hours return. Difficulty: Easy.
Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail is often overlooked by visitors eager to pay a visit to the iconic old lighthouse that sits atop Cape Point. This trail is considered one of the most beautiful paths in the reserve as it leads you along a narrow walkway with plenty of historical bunkers and fortresses which were used as strategic observational points throughout Cape Point to warn of impending enemy attacks near the naval base of Simonstown during the Second World War.
This trail is also filled with beautiful fynbos for you to gaze at and take pictures of along the way. Just be sure to be on the lookout for baboons as they are known for lazying around along these paths to catch some warm afternoon sun.
Departure point for the hike: Behind the upper funicular station. Park at the Cape Point main parking area and walk to the station or preserve your energy for the hike itself and take the funicular. Distance: +-2km, one-hour return. Difficulty: Easy.
Whenever you find yourself in Cape Point, be sure to head on over to Buffels Bay Beach. Here you’ll find one of the most beautiful trails in the reserve. The Antoniesgat Trail has some spectacular views all along its walkway. It also takes you close to where the waves crash against the shores of the peninsula. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore a number of caves and tunnels along the way. The best element of this trail is the opportunity to cool off in the tidal pools as a reward for completing the walk.
Departs: Traffic circle south of Buffels Bay Beach. Distance: 3.5km, 2-3 hours return. Difficulty: Moderate.
The Gifkommetjie Trail follows the southwestern shores of Cape Point, and offers beautiful views of the unspoilt shoreline and lush green open marshes. It’s a great option for the moderately fit looking to go a good distance on a flat route, but can also be shortened if you’re just looking to stretch your legs, away from the busier sections of Cape Point. It’s an often-overlooked region of the nature reserve, and the result is a feeling of true isolation.
Departure point for the hike: Gifkommetjie parking area. Follow signposts upon entry into Cape Point. Distance: +-5.5km, 2 hours return. Difficulty: Easy.
The Kanonkop Trail is one of the most popular among Cape Point hiking enthusiasts. Named after the old canon located at its peak, the Kanonkop Trail provides impressive views over False Bay, Cape Point, Buffels Bay Beach, and it also passes an interesting old lime kiln along the way. The trail requires only a moderate level of fitness.
Departure point for the hike: Cape Point Visitor Centre. Distance: +-5.5km, 3 hours return. Difficulty: Moderate.