Kasteelspoort is one of the must-do routes for anyone wanting to call themselves a hiker. Ascending the Twelve Apostles range with dramatic views of Camps Bay, Lions Head and everything in between is well worth the climb. It is also a fresh alternative route to the top of Table Mountain if you want to go all the way.
Time: 5 hours return same trail
Kasteelspoort is perfect for more experienced hikers looking to get in some steps. This one requires reasonable fitness, although it can be managed if you’re less fit, but have more time. There are no real technical difficulties, only steep inclines.
The trail starts at the SANParks signboard in Theresa Road in Camps Bay. Follow the gravel road until you find the Pipe Track. Once on the Pipe Track, look out for the sign indicating the turnoff to the Kasteelspoort tail, and remember to keep an eye on the stunning fynbos around you.
The ascent starts gradually, and if you start in the early morning you’ll be walking in shade for a lot of the way – no small luxury for a hiker. Don’t forget to glance back every now and then, as Camps Bay will start looking more beautiful with each step, lying in the distance behind you as you gain elevation.
After about an hour, the incline gets steep and you can expect some rock scrambling. You will get to a wooden bridge crossing a stream, leading you to a signpost with a map. Turn right here and continue along the path marked “Twelve Apostles Spine Route”.
When you reach another signpost, take another right turn and follow the path marked “Old Cableway Viewpoint”.
Soon, you will see the ruins of the old cable station and the famous “Diving Board.” This is the perfect spot for a picnic and taking pictures. Remember to be very careful when going out on the ledge, as it’s not a short fall down. It’s not recommended to go onto the Diving Board on a very windy day.
You can make this your point of return, or, if you want to continue to the very top of Table Mountain, you can follow the spine of the Twelve Apostles to reach the upper cable station. The trail will wind through areas named the “Valley of the Red Gods” and the “Valley of Isolation” before you finally reach the top after about another hour.
Here you can either choose to take the cable car back down to Tafelberg Road, go back down the way you came or use one of the other well-known roads like Platteklip Gorge. This will of course affect your time to complete the trail.
Picture: David Zamora