There is no better place to start a hike than from the world renowned Kirstenbosch botanical Gardens. The vast 36 hectare gardens are nestled at the foot of Table Mountain; it is the most famous of the nine gardens that covers five out the six South African biomes. Kirstenbosch is the host to over 7000 different plant species, it puts its focus on indigenous vegetation to South Africa, and particularly emphasizes on the flora naturally found in the Cape area. You can spend hours, even a full day wandering through the gardens’ various hidden paths, the Enchanted Forest, the stunning array of Proteas… Not to mention the luscious soft green grass and the beautiful surrounding flowers and decorative statues make for an idyllic picnic spot or an incredibly relaxing setting for a good read or even a cat nap. Getting lost within the Kirstenbosch Gardens is a must. You will definitely need and surely want to come again in order to experience the entire splendour these gardens have to offer.
From there we start ascending on a nature trail called Skeleton Gorge. Apparently it was named this way because a skeleton was once found along the path by a hiker… Otherwise it is also know as the Smuts’ trail, named after late Prime Minister Jan Smuts, a botanist at heart, who used this route regularly.
There are many possible trails you can take in order to reach the top of Table Mountain. So far, Skeleton Gorge has been our absolute favorite route. The trail is not only beautiful with its waterfalls in winter, its ravines, the beautiful views of the Cape Peninsula etc… but because it gets a little technical, it is also such an exciting and fun hike to do!
Considering that this is a hike to the top of the Table, be advised that it is best to have a pretty decent fitness level. The trail approximately ranks at a 3/3 difficulty level.
~ On Top Of Table Mountain ~
Once you reach the top there are once again many different options of routes you can choose to get back down. It all depends on where you want to end up and how much your legs are aching (the sweetest pain in the world). The options include either hiking back down or walking across the Table and hopping on the rotating cable car. We opted to hike down Nursery Ravine which would eventually lead us back to Kirstenbosch gardens. Nursery Ravine is such a stunning trail offering magnificent views of the gardens and the surrounding suburbs. It starts off flat and walks you through the rocky top of Table Mountain until you reach stairs. From then on the trail is very straight forward, heading directly back to our starting point in Kirstenbosch. This trail is considered to be one of the easier slopy ones but do expect to feel a little burn the next day. Although most of all you’ll definitely feel great after having accomplished this half-to-full day hike.
< Descending Nursery Ravive