Waterfalls you can hike to in Cape Town

After the drought Cape Town has been experiencing over the past three years, heavy winter rains are a welcome change. There are few things as magical as the sight of the waterfalls that spring up all around the city’s mountains. Here are some of the most magnificent waterfalls you can hike to in and around Cape Town.

Woodstock cave

After a good rainfall, the tiny waterfall at Woodstock Cave on the slopes of Table Mountain transforms to a curtain of water, with rainbows and all. As the name suggests, this hike takes you to a large cave with an epic view of the area of Woodstock and surrounds. It’s a relatively easy and family-friendly hike, so be sure to pack a picnic and enjoy the view while you’re up there.

You have two starting point options. You can start via Tafelberg road, which entails driving past the Cableway station and parking either at the Woodstock Cave route’s start or as close as you can when the road is closed. The second option is starting at Rhodes Memorial and hiking to the King’s Blockhouse. Past the Blockhouse the road forks where you’ll take the left fork. At the next fork, take a right towards the Cableway.

View this trail on a map.

 

See other Table Mountain hikes you should try

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Cape Town’s backyard is a wonderfully green slice of heaven. Follow the Yellowood Trail and you’ll come across a permanent waterfall that’s particularly spectacular after the winter rains. It will feel like you’re in the heart of a forest while you’re only fifteen minutes away from the centre of town. It’s a lovely spot to relax and reconnect with nature all throughout the year. While you’re there, explore the rest of the magnificent Kirstenbosch Garden and you’ll get to know the indigenous fynbos of the Cape.

Plan a Kirstenbosch National Botanical outing.

 

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

This Cape Nature reserve just outside Stellenbosch has multiple waterfalls to admire and enjoy. With towering mountains and lush valleys, this is easily one of the most magnificent hiking locations that isn’t connected to Table Mountain. It’s an even walk along the Eerste Rivier (‘First River’) to the Eerste Waterfal (‘First Waterfall’).  A steeper climb takes you to the Tweede Waterfal (‘Second Waterfall’) where you can enjoy a break in the shade. Getting to the second waterfall involves walking up the river, so be sure to get a map and directions at the ticket office where you’ll have to pay an entry fee before accessing the reserve. Climbing to the top of the waterfall is currently not allowed due to safety concerns.

Read our hiking safety guide before you set out

 

Crystal Pools

The numerous pools at Steenbras Nature Reserve near Gordon’s Bay are on various levels and they’re connected via beautiful waterfalls. A hike to Crystal Pools is certainly a Cape Town bucket list item and if you love swimming in freezy water then this one is perfect for you. First off, you need to book permits (the hike is only open from November until the end of April annually). Once you have your permits and you’re off, the first pool is about 45 minutes from the start of the trail and you can stop here for a snack or break in the shade. For some serious swimming and kloofing opportunities, it’s best to hold out for the second pool, which is another ten to fifteen minutes up. Here’s where you’ll find the glorious waterfall where you can have an outdoor shower. Don’t jump off the rocks into the pool unless you have a guide or experienced hiker with you who has done it before.

Read more about a day trip to Crystal Pools

 

Cecilia Forest

Just south of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden you’ll find the beautiful Cecilia Forest in the Constantia area. Walk the slopes of Table Mountain with beautiful views of the southern suburbs stretching all the way to Muizenberg and discover an enchanting waterfall on the way. Start and finish this pleasant hike at the Cecilia Forest parking lot, off Rhodes Drive in Constantia. Follow the contour path and the signs to Cecilia Ravine via Rooikat Ravine. The hike entails some climbing so be sure to wear your walking shoes and pack enough water.

View this hike on a map.

 

Krom River, Du Toitskloof

If you’re keen for a day trip, head on over to the Krom River Hiking trail at Du Toitskloof just outside Paarl. The trail starts right after the Worcester exit of the Huguenot Tunnel, where you’ll walk back towards the tunnel, looking out for the sign beneath the two bridges marking the direction to the Krom River Trail. The hike crosses the Krom and Molenaars rivers. It’s in the Limietberg Nature Reserve, so you ‘ll need to pay for your permits at the reserve office or book ahead through CapeNature Central Reservations. It’s a gratifying 7km hike that should take about five hours to complete there-and-back.

View this hike on a map.

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Silvermine Nature Reserve

If you’re looking for an easy walk or hiking with kids and/or dogs then the waterfall walk in Silvermine Nature Reserve is perfect for you. It’s about an hour of walking there-and-back. Park and pay an entry fee at Gate 2 and take the marked path to the waterfall. The trail starts off nice and easy but narrows closer to the 30m waterfall. While you’re there you can also stop off for a swim, picnic or braai at the Silvermine Dam.

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