Cape of Good Hope Overnight Trail
This trail is located in the Southern Peninsula of Cape Town, within the boundaries of the Cape of Good Hope Section (Cape Point) of Table Mountain National Park. It is filled with beautiful scenery, over 1500 fynbos species and a chance to spot some wildlife like Eland, Bontebok and Klipspringer. It is well worth the time, effort and money you will spend doing this 2 day hike. You will be rewarded with unforgettable views, beauty and a sense of accomplishment when you reach the end.
The 2 day trail is just over 33 km and is fairly easy to follow if you know where you start and finish every day. You can get a brochure at the entrance gate to guide you along the route. There are also numbered markers as well as some signboards posted along major intersections. The brochure will guide you clockwise along the borders of the Cape of Good Hope, but there is no reason you can’t start with the listed “day 2” on your first day.
Rules and logistics
You have to start your hike by 9am each morning as per trail rules. Although I would advise you start by 6am in summer to avoid the heat. Sanparks offers an optional porterage fee for up to 6 bags (as per rules which you will receive via email when you book, but it’s also available on their website). They do not provide firewood so you need to bring this along if you want to braai, this will be dropped off below your hut. The huts are very basic, but there is cutlery and crockery as well as gas plates. Each hut has 6 bunk beds but you need to bring your own bedding.
Upon booking you can request whether you want the Erica, Protea or Restio hut . The latter two are adjacent with a communal kitchen and toilet area. These huts are in the middle of an old Environmental Centre, so there will be few dilapidated buildings around you. Erica hut is a few hundred metres away next to an old radar station. They have very similar views, but Erica makes things seem a bit more remote, and the Cape of Good Hope is visible from here if you walk a few steps West.
Day 1 – False Bay Coast – 13 km
You start at the main entrance of the Park where you can leave your vehicle just after the pay point. After a short walk up the tar road the trail starts with a gradual ascend towards Judas Peak. The first 2-3 hours is probably the most strenuous section of the entire trail, but it’s nothing to worry about if you are reasonably fit. The terrain is a little uncomfortable and tough because of the predominant soil type found along Judas Peak, Die Boer and Paulsberg. It’s is not the soft sandstone that you find on the majority of TMNP trails, but rather made up of uneven rock surfaces with loose stones. To make life a little bit more difficult you partially climb up and down these peaks. Be on the lookout for Klipspringer in this area, they are small antelope adapted to rocky terrain. The end of the ankle buster section is marked roughly by Kanonkop. It is here that you will get a very clear view over False Bay, Cape Point, Da Gama Peak and the location of your overnight hut. When you are at Kanonkop you have a choice between two routes to follow. You can either follow the coastline which is probably the more strenuous pick or stay inland which is slightly easier. If you pick the coastline you will walk past Bordjiesrif and Buffelsbay picnic site, best avoided over the festive season and Easter but pretty quiet most other times. They both have tidal pools which are great for a cool off and as a lunch stop. If you stay inland you will go past the Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre where you will be able to pop into the museum which tells you a little bit more about the history of the area as well as some more information on the Park. Whichever one you pick it will be a relative breeze compared to what you have hiked thus far.
The last approximately 30 minutes heading to the huts on either route will make your legs burn a bit but once you hit the porch of your hut and you marvel at your view for the night you will forget about your tired legs. Day 1 can be done in 6 hours even with a handful of moderate breaks.
When you are in the planning stages of this hike you can decide to hike on a budget and carry your own food and bedding or pay porterage fee and pack a mini feast. The view from the overnight huts are pretty special and should be enjoyed with some lovely refreshments, it will be worth the extra money. The location of the huts are also the reason you should do the shorter hike on day one, so you can unwind and really enjoy the view in this remarkable location.
Day 2 – Atlantic Coast and Sirkelsvlei – 20 km
You start your day by aiming for the white strip of beach North West of your hut and follow along the coast until you get to Hoek van Bobbejaan, which is roughly 7km from the huts. This section follows the coastline where you will walk past various marine bird species, so look out for White Fronted Plovers, Cape Cormorants, African Black Oystercatchers, Swift Terns etc. You might also be lucky enough to spot Cape Clawless Otters along the beach (or at least their tracks). The section is also a popular grazing area for Eland and Bontebok. The terrain is fairly flat and easy to walk. There are some small boulders around Gifkommetjie, but Sanparks have laid them flat so it’s easier to walk through. There is also a bit of softer sand as you walk towards Hoek van Bobbejaan which will make your legs work a little harder.
Once you leave the Hoek van Bobbejaan the trail starts winding away from the coast further and further, another 5 kms of walking and you will get to Sirkelsvlei. The area around the vlei is relatively flat with Sirkelsvlei being the highest point. Water seems to defy gravity as the vlei is mainly filled with groundwater. Your next few kms of walking will be easy until you cross the tar road and make your way up to Rooihoogte. This is another 90 mins or so of relatively intense climbing compared to what you have done so far in the day and then you are greeted with spectacular views over the park. From the top of Rooihoogte you slowly head toward the gate, 30 mins or so and you will arrive back at your car.
Tips: Bring your own bedding as none is provided. The huts are equipped with cutlery and crockery, cooking pots are basic. Bring a warm jacket as the South Easter can be freezing. Watch out for Baboons when you have snack breaks. Take at least 3 liters per person, you can refill at the overnight huts.
Call or contact the Sanparks Tokai Wildcard office to make your booking and to find out more about the hike if you have any further questions. +27 21 712 7471
If you want to experience this hike with a guide, please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org We will sort out all the logistics and give you further in depth facts about the area, the fauna and flora encountered along the route as well as information regarding the monuments and history of the area.