The best known hiking trails with waterfalls in Cape Town are those around the west of the region, where the ocean cuts in like a series of gulfs. These trails have been well traveled and cataloged; some are classified as easy, while others are classified as difficult.
Safety is paramount; it is important to ensure that one meets the skill and endurance level needed to take on each trail-whether easy or difficult.
It is also important to be mindful of the weather and environment. When everyone respects the environment, it remains beautiful for our enjoyment, and the benefit of future generations. Waterfall trails are known for exceptionally beautiful scenery- they are a photographer’s paradise.
Hiking Trails With Waterfalls In Cape Town
1. Silvermine Waterfall Hike
The Silvermine Waterfall Hike is regarded as one of the best hiking trails with waterfalls in Cape Town for a number of reasons. The trail is easy; there is no difficulty in the terrain, and even children can undertake it.
Furthermore, it is quite short; only taking around 45 minutes to complete. The 2 KM long hike starts at Silvermine East Gate, and cuts through open country. The paths are clear enough, and the hike is almost complete through open country, which makes it best during the morning hours, just before the sun gets hot.
Regardless of the sun, when you arrive at the destination of the hike; the environment changes into a paradise. The area is shaded by trees and vines, and the water droplets spraying from the waterfall makes the area extra cool.
This is a great place to relax over a couple of drinks; it is also a great place to spend time with a loved one. Those who go on this hike enjoy a lot for minimal stress; it is simply fabulous.
2. Skeleton Gorge
Skeleton Gorge is one of the attractions of Table Mountain; but being a nature trail, it fades in recognition, compared to the other attractions on the mountain-those with fancy lights and cable cars.
Nevertheless, this is a very impressive attraction indeed; a calming hiking trail, ending in a spectacular waterfall. This is a great hiking trail because most of the trail is covered by trees, shrubs, and vines.
However, it is not for everyone. Some parts of the trail are so tough that ladders have been installed; and even then one has to be fit to climb down using those ladders. There are also a few places with rocks and boulders which will require one to climb with all fours; while climbing upwards.
The 2-4 hour hike is then rewarded with a wonderful experience; greenery all around, the area is shaded, and the satisfaction of having achieved this hike. No swimming is allowed in this area; the ecosystem is quite delicate. But pictures taken here have often resulted in a lot of curiosity.
3. Krom River Trail
Krom River Trail is located at the Limietberg Nature Reserve, which is in Paarl-just outside of Cape Town. It is classified as a moderately difficult hiking trail; covering seven kilometers, and taking around 5 hours to complete.
The trail starts at the Hugenot tunnel; there is a sign post showing the direction. For ease of navigation, the authorities have painted boots on rocks and signposts to show hikers where to go. Much of the trail cuts through open ground, surrounded by rocks and with breathtaking views.
These views will keep one in awe throughout the journey, and there will also be plenty to photograph along the way. At the end of the journey, the reward is the beautiful Kroom River Waterfall and pool. Swimming is allowed; most people just cannot resist.
The trail is closed during winter, but Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is open throughout the year. Find out more below.
4. Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is located in Stellenbosch, which is in the Western Cape. This is a reserve of striking natural beauty; it encompasses mountains, rocks, and trees. It also has a fine ecosystem; a great number of plants and animals call this their home.
The plants and animals may not be seen, but the hiking trail keeps one’s mind occupied. It is both challenging and refreshing; with breathtakingly beautiful views all around.
Of particular interest in this reserve is the Swartboskloof Trail; it goes up the side of a mountain, and then circles back down, going right past a waterfall, which is so inviting that many ‘hikers’ end up abandoning the hike as they choose to swim in the water instead.
The hike is mostly circular; it goes round, and ends up at the starting point. It takes about 6 hours at a leisurely pace.
5. Myburgh’s Waterfall Reserve
Myburgh’s Waterfall Reserve is a difficult hiking trail; it includes a lot of steep rock-climbing, which is just not something that should be attempted by anyone who is not physically fit, or who is unwell.
The trail starts at Hout Bay, and cuts through the Table Mountain National Park, then going to the Twelve Apostles path, and then ending up back at Hout Bay. It is the typical circular hiking route.
The hike typically takes 4 to 5 hours to complete; and it covered with beautiful scenery to keep the hiker pumped up throughout the journey. It follows a stream for much of the way, which means there is plenty of greenery along the way, and also plenty of animals.
6. Kogelberg Trail
Kogelberg Trail is located in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve; which is a mountain range in the east of Cape Town. It has the greatest floral diversity in the whole world; making it a very special place indeed.
This is a special hiking trail for those who appreciate nature; who like smell the flowers as they go, and who like to look at the strange plants. Kogelberg trail offers all these and more; it is a 24km walk that takes around 8 hours to cover.
The hike is not particularly hard, although due to the length, it is better that hikers be fit and mentally tough. It is better to start the hike in the morning; something around 9 am.
There are areas marked for swimming; this is an additional reward to all the flowers and plants that hikers get to see.
7. Bobbejaans River Trail
Bobbejaans River Trail is located in the Limietberg Nature Reserve in Paarl, just outside Cape Town. This is a moderately difficult hiking trail; it is something that takes a bit of strength and stamina, but is not so difficult that it needs special consideration.
This trail takes around 6 hours to complete; and takes hikers above the river. The ground rises gently as you go, and passes through plenty of open ground. You also need to cross a river; but it is shallow, so there is nothing to worry about.
The trail winds up at a waterfall; rewarding hikers with a dip in the cool waters of the pool. The trail may appeal to those who like to swim; this is because there are many pools to choose from. There are also many other hiking trails in this nature reserve to choose from; including one that takes 2 days to complete.
8. Groot Winterhoek
Groot Winterhoek is a beautiful waterfall area, hewn out of rock. This is a very rugged area; one that offers a mixture of nature and ancient culture for any strong willed hikers who dare to take on the trail. Why does it need strong willed hikers?
As mentioned above, the area is rugged- it is rocky and mountainous in nature. The whole hike is pretty much a steady climb, which demands physical and mental fitness. Of course it is often done at a leisurely pace; with plenty of rest along the many pools in the range.
This hike takes around 1 to 2 hours to complete, but it is classified as a moderately difficult trail because of the rocks, and the steeply rising ground.
Hikers are rewarded with the beautiful scenery, cool pools to swim, and ancient rock art done by the Khoi and San people. This is a great place to take photos.
9. Crystal Pools
Crystal Pools is part of the intricate Steenbras River Gorge, which is in Kogelberg Nature Reserve. This hiking trail is mostly on rocky ground; and it takes around 3 hours to complete. However, since the trail is on mostly flat ground, anyone who is reasonably fit can complete the trail. There is no shame is taking as many rest stops as needed; after all, the goal is to relax in nature, not to win a trophy.
There are many pools and ravines to choose from; swimming is one of the major attractions to this hiking trail; this makes it one of the first choices among the hiking trails with waterfalls in Cape Town.
All that trekking and swimming could leave one depleted; so it is important to pack some snacks and drinks for the journey.
10. Cecilia Waterfall
Cecilia Waterfall is part of the Table Mountain range; although it is one of the less popular ones. Whatever the reason for its lack of popularity; this is still one of the best hiking trails out there. Much of the trail is under the canopy of trees; which means hikers do not tire out so quickly.
There are plenty of birds to see, and there are also plenty of views; like that of Constantia in the distance. Cecilia Waterfall is a great place for a solo expedition, or to go in twos.
The trail is classified as moderately difficult because much of it is steep. However, someone who has been hiking for some time should not find this too difficult.
There are many hiking trails with waterfalls in cape town; but if the intention is to go swimming, then one must make sure that such activity is allowed on the particular hiking trail that they wish to visit. Furthermore, it is important to be safety conscious; collect the phone numbers of the management of the park before heading out; this is to help one in case of an emergency.