The BEST Guided Hikes in Cape Town 

Last Updated on May 7, 2024 by thecapetownblog

Ready to go hiking in Cape Town?

I think that going on a guided hike is a fantastic idea. Not only is it a lot safer, as someone who is directionally challenged (to put it mildly), I definitely prefer going with someone who knows the way, even though I live here! This is especially true when heading up Table Mountain, as there are so many different paths, it’s easy to lose your way. 

Plus, hiking tours often include any necessary equipment, such as headlamps for sunrise or sunset hikes, and even snacks or hotel pickup. Booking a guided hike really does make everything so much easier, so all you need to worry about is choosing a reputable one. And that’s why I’ve written this blog post! 

1. Kasteelspoort One-Way Guided Hike

Time: 4 hours
Distance: 10.8 kilometres (6.7 miles)
Elevation gain: around 600 metres (1,968 ft) 
Difficulty: moderate
Price: R1,500 (plus R240 on the day for the cable car down)

The Kasteelspoort hike is my favourite route up Table Mountain, because it’s fairly quiet and the views are absolutely stunning. Most people do the Platteklip Gorge route, which is pretty straightforward but the scenery just doesn’t compare! Kasteelspoort takes you up the western side of the mountain, meaning you get amazing views of the Twelve Apostles, the Camps Bay and Clifton Beaches, and Lion’s Head. Honestly, I think that this hike is so underrated.

The only thing is that I don’t think I would have found my way up without the help of someone who’d done the hike before, so I think it’s worth booking this guided hike. I think it’s safer, too, since this is a quieter route and sometimes there are muggings on the mountain during the summer, so there’s a real benefit to going in a group, with a local guide. 

This tour is so convenient, too, as it includes hotel pickup and finishes at the Upper Cableway, so you can buy a ticket and ride down! Plus, it stops at the Diving Board to snap stunning photos and visits the Woodhead Dam, which I can tell you from experience is tricky to find on your own! This is definitely my top pick of all of the guided hikes up Table Mountain. 

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2. India Venster One-Way Guided Hike

Time: 4 hours 
Distance: 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) 
Elevation gain: 700 metres (2,300 feet)
Difficulty: Hard
Price: R1,500 (plus R240 on the day for the cable car down)

India Venster is the most difficult route up Table Mountain, so unless you’re a pro hiker, I highly recommend going with a guide! I think this top-rated tour is an excellent choice, especially because the guide, Dohann, is fantastic at encouraging the group and keeping motivation high. And what he doesn’t know about Table Mountain really isn’t worth knowing! 

Now, I won’t lie to you, if you’re going to do India Venster you do need a pretty good head for heights. The views are absolutely stunning and although the hike is challenging, with a scrambling section, it is doable for anyone in decent shape. But if you struggle with heights, this is probably not the best idea. 

The great thing about doing this hike is that you’ll get major bragging rights amongst the people of Cape Town, and it’s certainly an adventure. It begins at the Lower Cableway Station and you can book for 6 am or 8 am, so it starts pretty early – but that’s a good thing, especially during the summer! 

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3. Lion’s Head Guided Hike – Sunrise or Sunset

Time: 3.5 hours 
Distance: 5.3 kilometres (3.3 miles) return
Elevation gain: 400 metres (1,312 feet)
Difficulty: Moderate
Price: R900, or R1,300 with hotel pickup and drop-off

I love hiking Lion’s Head because it’s a good workout but still very doable, and the views are spectacular. But although I’d happily do this hike in a pair during the day, I would strongly recommend going with a guide at sunrise or sunset, since you’ll be hiking one way in the dark! 

The second half of the Lion’s Head hike involves scrambling, so I personally would not feel comfortable doing this without a guide to help me. Plus, the price of the tour includes headlights and torches, so you don’t have to worry about buying or renting those separately. 

The views from the Lion’s Head summit are pretty spectacular, as you can see in every direction, so this is an incredible place to watch the sun come up or go down. And the 130+ 5-star reviews certainly attest to that – you can read them here

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4. Abseil and Hike on Table Mountain

Time: 3.5 hours (including abseil)
Distance: 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles) one-way
Elevation gain: 680 metres (2,230 feet)
Difficulty: Moderate 
Price: R1,700 per person 

In need of an even bigger adventure?

Well, fear not, because this hiking and abseiling adventure is here for you. It starts off fairly easy with a hike up Platteklip Gorge, which is the most direct way of getting up the mountain. Now, I’ll be honest, I don’t think that this route is as stellar as Kasteelspoort, but it’s nice and straightforward, which is probably what you need before you go abseiling off of the side of Table Mountain. 

And come on, abseiling off of Cape Town’s most famous landmark? That is definitely something to write home about. The abseil team is so encouraging and will make you feel at ease (well, as at ease as it’s possible to feel when dangling off of a mountain). You’re free to grab a beer afterwards, and then you can take the cable car back down the mountain or walk back down Platteklip Gorge again, if you like! 

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5. Private Group Tour 

Time: up to 6 hours
Price: from R2,488 per person

If there’s a group of you who are keen to do a guided hike, then I think that this tour is a fantastic choice. What’s great about this tour is that it includes a private guide for just you and your group, who will pick you up from your accommodation and take you on whichever route you’d like – or recommend one for you if you can’t decide! 

What’s great about private tours is that you really get to know your guide, and they can tailor the experience towards your specific needs. So for families and big groups of friends, I think that this tour is the ideal choice. I also love the fact that this tour includes a picnic lunch, which is all prepared for you, and bottled water, so you can enjoy a lovely day out without having to plan a thing. 

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6. Kirstenbosch Gardens and Skeleton Gorge

Time: 3.5 hours (including abseil)
Distance: 6.5 kilometres (4.4 miles) return
Elevation gain: 900 metres (3,000 feet)
Difficulty: Moderate 
Price: R1,350 per person (plus Kirstenbosch entry fee)

Kill two birds with one stone on this guided hike up Skeleton Gorge. I say that because the Skeleton Gorge route starts in the famous Kirstenbosch Gardens, which are said to be among the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world. I mean, the location at the foothill of Table Mountain definitely gives them a bit of an advantage, and that’s before we get into the diversity and splendour of the Cape Floral Kingdom. 

I think this hike is amazing to do with a guide who can teach you all about the flora and fauna, both as you stroll through the stunning gardens and as you start to wend your way up the mountainside. I find that this trail has a very “enchanted woodland” feel to it, and I love the fact that it’s nicely shaded, because most trails leave you pretty exposed to the sun – as a ginger, this is a real concern for me. 

But best of all, your guide will help you discover the secret Skeleton Gorge Beach on top of the mountain. That’s right people, there’s A BEACH up here. Cape Town never fails to amaze me. 

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Thanks so much for reading this post! I hope it helped you to find the perfect guided hike in Cape Town – there certainly are some fantastic options. For more adventurous activities to enjoy here, check out…

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