Now that the view from our Airbnb is nothing but Table Mountain, it was constantly weighing on our minds to finally get out there and try a bit of hiking. Mark did a fair amount of research (as usual) to the common paths and their level of difficulties. He picked a great one called Woodstock Cave Devils’ Peak, which in the article stated that it was a moderate level of difficulty. We thought to ourselves, “Perfect, a great way to start out and we’ve been killing it in the gym lately so this should be fairly simple for us.”
We took an 8$ Uber to Rhodes Memorial, which lies at the bottom of where our hike began. A memorial designated to an English-born, South African politician named Cecil John Rhodes. A gorgeous building and statues made of bronze and Cape granite obtained from Table Mountain. Walking through the main building down the front steps, I was taken aback by the beauty in front of me. A stunning view of the endless coast of Cape Town. From here you can see the long stretches of sand beaches as well as all parts of the inner city and outlying suburbs.
When we arrived at the top of the parking lot to begin our hike, we were a tad confused as there was no signage stating which route to take or where the paths in front of us lead to. We took our chances following a few other people into one the nameless trails. The first 45 minutes was at quite a steep incline with fairly loose rock and exposed tree roots. Make sure you are to wear a decent pair of runners or hikers as your sandals most likely wont survive the trek.
Like I said, there was no signs stating which way to go, so Mark and I pretty much guessed our way when we realized there was no one else hiking around us. We arrived at what looked like a bridge built for mountain bikes and weren’t sure which of the 3 ways we should go. Luckily we came across some bikers and they pointed us in the right direction, upwards towards Kings Blockhouse. From here you have some more incredible views of the city on a sharp cliffside which makes it a great photo op spot!
Sharing the view with us was a couple on a wine safari tour with ‘Durbanville Hills Wine Safari’. They had a pretty sweet set up sitting along the cliffs edge, surrounded by half empty wine bottles and wooden platters of tasty breads, meats and cheeses. The sommelier, who we later learned was named Henri, was extremely friendly and waved us over, offering us a glass of wine, which I took after some twisting of my arm of course. He made conversation, asked us where we were from and offered us two chairs to enjoy the view. We didn’t want to put him out or crash the couples tour but he graciously insisted and carried the chairs over to the edge and set them up for us. While we were sitting there enjoying the peaceful and romantic scenery in front of us, Henri came back over with a wooden cutting board of snacks. I was so blown away by this gentlemans kindness that I somewhat felt bad for accepting all of these treats, but he was so persistent and continued to thank us for visiting his country. I have also noticed the kindness from residents amongst this city in our last couple of weeks here. Most people tend to smile and make eye contact as you walk by on the street. I’ve received several compliments on my yoga pants and Mark on his shoes. A quick “How you doin brotha?” happens often while walking through the city centre.
After stuffing our faces with the tasty free snacks we thanked our new friends, took some photos and continued on our hike. There was only one path to take behind the Kings Blockhouse making it easy to get the rest of the way to our destination. This path wasn’t as steep as the beginning and we were now walking parallel around the side of the mountain. This was an easier time for me to get photos of the surrounding views, trees, shrubbery and flowers. Not too long after crossing over a small revine, we were directly under the opening of the cave. We walked for another 5 minutes and came to a split in the trail with a sign pointing up towards Woodstock Cave. This was another fairly steep trek with lots of large rocks on an uneasy footpath. We kept saying to each other that we were surprised the article about this route said it was good for families with children and dogs. I dont think I would want young children doing this climb or a dog that isn’t used to cliffs. It could potentially be dangerous if you are not careful of your footing.
After another 15 minute climb, we arrived at the gaping mouth of Woodstock Cave. Smaller than I imagined after reading it was one of the largest caves on Table Mountain, at only 50 metres wide by 15 metres deep and about 3-4 metres high, we climbed inside the long horizontal opening to soak up everything around us.
From here you have this amazing panoramic view of Cape Town, Lions Head (another mountain peak) and Table Bay. This would be a great place to enjoy a picnic and not too bad of a hike up while carrying it on your back. We spent less than 30 minutes exploring the small cave, taking pictures and checking out the plants and moss growing on the walls before we began our descent. We decided to head the opposite direction in which we came to get some new scenery that was heading in the direction of home. After reading the signs, thinking we were going the right way, we found ourselves on an insanely steep hillside and walking along a very thin, steep and eroded path barely wide enough for one person. The trail (which we thought was taking us to the bottom of the cable car that takes you to the top of Table Mountain) was actually taking us to ‘Devils Peak Saddle’ which is a path a little out of our hiking skills. We quickly turned around when we realized the path was getting more difficult and not descending towards the road.
We finally ended up at the main road and we had another hour walk to the cable car. We knew it was gonna be a long trek down so we weren’t overly concerned about the walk but were worried about how to get home as we dont have data and can only order an Uber if we can get access to wifi. About 5 minutes into our walk on the paved road a safari style jeep pulled up behind us and low and behold, it was Henr with Durbanville Winery Tour and the same two friendly faces at Kings Blockhouse. He jumped out of the jeep and offered to give us a ride. Smiling ear to ear and all of us laughing about how this was definitely our day, we enjoyed the ride in a safari jeep all the way down Table Mountain. You couldn’t have wiped the smile off my face even with that winter wind nipping at my nose. This wonderful man dropped us off at our front door and refused to take our 100R (10$CND) that we offered for the drive. It couldn’t have been a more perfect end to an already perfect day.
Thanks again to the amazing Durbanville Hills for spoiling us backpackers and making us feel incredibly welcome. If anyone is looking for tour ideas while visiting Cape Town, I highly recommend this wonderful company. I know we will be reaching out them in the near future to book a trip or two.
For more information on the Woodstock Cave hike or other mountains surrounding CT, check out this website here.
If you’re brave enough and want to take Devil’s Saddle, click here.
Dont feel like planning it yourself? Click here to find private tours around Cape Town
No car? Check out Uber, a great and inexpensive way to get around CT