Cape Point is an exquisite place which we feel doesn’t get enough shine. Once an island separated from the mainland, the peninsula in the deep south’s landscape has been mostly untouched for a very long time and offers various hiking trails for varying levels of fitness. We recently set out on an overnight excursion to uncover the beauty of the reserve in winter.
Upon arriving at the main gate on a crispy August morning, the sun was just peaking out from behind the Hottentot Holland mountains and rising over False Bay, creating a breathtaking backdrop for the start of this epic trail. At that moment we knew this was going to be a spectacular couple of days.
We set out from our starting point at the main gate leaving behind our overnight packs. For a nominal fee, the friendly staff of the park will drop off your bags (including the necessity of wood for a braai!) at the overnight huts if you don’t feel like slogging it with on your journey.
We decided to do the longer section of the two-day trip first, as we had an early start and thought it would be nice to complete the hike not too late. In total, it is about a 20km trip from the main gate to the huts – on the first day you will be led through some of the most beautiful natural and endemic habitat around on the Cape Peninsula. Starting off with a short climb, the trail leads up to Rooi Hoogte where you get your first unobstructed vantage point over the centre of the park. If you look closely enough here you might spot some of the antelope moving through the fynbos.
From there you saunter across the marshy flats to Sirkelsvlei and Olifantsbos. I must say that the route is amazingly well kept, so even when walking through the marsh in the middle of the park, your boots won’t get too wet as steps have been laid out to save you from this predicament. The next stop was Hoek van Bobbejaan, including the shipwreck of Phyllisia, which is a great place to stop to have lunch next to the ocean. The following 6km hugs the shoreline up to the Platboom parking lot where you can fill up on water and take a restroom break.
A short distance further down the trail, two options lay ahead. One goes straight up to the huts for a well-deserved sundowner. The second, if you still have enough energy, goes up to the iconic Cape Point lighthouse.
The over night huts are comfortable six sleeper rooms with a fully equipped kitchen and running hot water. The views from here are in one word, breathtaking. To your right, the lights from Gordon’s Bay through to Simon’s Town illuminate False Bay, and on the left, you have a clear view of the Atlantic Ocean with the park running through the middle. Make sure to get up early as the sun rising over the eastern mountains is something else to behold!
The trail is a bit more of an up and down affair the next day, but nothing too challenging. You find yourself walking from the huts along the False Bay coastline – about 14km back to the main gate. This is definitely the more picturesque route with scenic views over the bay. There are a couple of different routes here, some hugging the coast to join the main trail at Kanonkop and others heading back inland to the visitors centre. Both are worth following and it’s really up to you and energy levels.
A nice spot for lunch on the second day is at the Signal Cannon, boasting a magnificent view over False Bay and the reserve, but it does get very windy up here. The canon was used in the 1800s to signal Simonstown harbour of approaching ships in False Bay. From Kanonkop, it’s up and down the rocky path towards Die Boer and over Judas Peak, then back down toward the main gate.
All in all, a very rewarding two-day hike that’s suitable for almost all levels of fitness.