The steep slopes of the Cape Peninsula are home to more than 100 caves, ranging in size from overhangs to deep fissures with underground tunnels.
The caves in Table Mountain itself have been created by movement of native sandstone. Some better-known caves, such as Wynberg Cave, Bat’s Cave, Smuggler’s Cave and the Giant’s Workshop, have been formed by eons of water erosion following earlier rock movement.
Take a hike
A cross-country hike is a wonderful way to witness the natural beauty of Cape Town’s special fynbos vegetation and stunning mountain vistas – and including a cave visit makes it all the more interesting. Cape Town’s craggy mountains offer many cave options to hikers, three of which are highlighted here.
Elephant’s Eye Cave
Although the hike to Elephant’s Eye Cave in the Constantiaberg takes three hours, it is advisable to allocate an additional hour to get to do some exploring. This large cave is easily accessible from Tokai Forest or Silvermine Nature Reserve. An early morning view from Bergvliet reveals the elephant (Constantiaberg) and the cave that marks its eye. The walk to the cave is not too strenuous and follows gravel roads, but be sure to take enough water. Apart from the cave itself, there is a variety of plant and bird species to look out for, along with two stunning viewpoints en route. The hike offers unparalleled photographic opportunities for visitors – don’t forget your camera!
It’s worth a walk up to Woodstock Cave to take in a fantastic view of the city of Cape Town and the peninsula. This horizontal crack halfway up Devil’s Peak is accessed via the upper contour path that runs across the face of Table Mountain.
Amateur archaeologist Victor Peers discovered fossilised remains of a 12 000-year-old man in an ancient burial site inside what is now known as Peers Cave above Fish Hoek in 1927. A visit to the Fish Hoek Valley Museum will give you more information on this interesting fossil. Contact the museum on +27 (0)21 782 1752 or the nearest Cape Town Tourism Visitor Information Centre at Muizenberg, +27 (0)21 787 9140; email@example.com, or visit the Visitor Information Centre at The Pavilion, Beach Road, Muizenberg, to organise a guided hike to the cave or for more information. Read more about the cave and its heritage in our entry on Fish Hoek Man.
Cave exploration tips
- If you intend exploring a cave, make sure that someone outside your group knows where you are headed and how many hikers are present
- Two torches per person, spare batteries and a headlamp are essential, as are energy foods, a medical aid kit and cellphones
- It’s very easy to lose track of time when exploring in the dark, so make sure you have left sufficient time to walk back to the entrance and to get home before it gets too dark or cold
Contact Cape Town Tourism on +27 (0)21 487 6800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for advice on accredited guides.
- Phone: +27 (0)21 487 6800
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Cape Town – a hiker’s dream city if ever there was one – is home to both Table Mountain and Cape Point. There is even a famous route, the Hoerikwaggo Trail, which links these two iconic landmarks.
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