Hike up, Cable car ride down.
Skeleton Gorge takes you through shaded indigenous forest up the eastern slopes of the Table Mountain range and summits at Maclears Beacon the highest point of Table Mountain 1086m above sea level.
The route is steep, you have to work hard to get to the top and a good fitness level is required for this one. Skeleton Gorge is shaded nearly all the way to the top which makes a cooler accent much appreciated in the hot summer months.
This hike is different to those that summit on the western and northern routes as the eastern slopes receive the most rainfall throughout the Cape Peninsula creating a more diverse forest like landscape. Think boulders, running water, streams, indigenous shaded forest, fresh smells and a lot of green and you may start to get an idea of what hikes on this side of Table Mountain are all about.
The route starts in world renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, we’ll wonder through tunnels of trees and over little wooden bridges making our way up the eastern slopes of Table Mountain to the Contour Path where it is intersected by Skeleton Gorge.
We start our accent up the gorge on some rock steps followed by a series of wooden ladders, 6 in total laid down to aid us up some steep rock faces – adding a sense of adventure into this hike. The route follows a rocky stream where we will do a little minor scrambling which will consist of using your hands to stabilize yourself as we pass over some rocks. The scenery here is fascinating, it’s like a jungle in this forest – the wide variety of flora and running streamlets blend into this indigenous forest making a spectacular hiking environment
The river bed leads the way as the path blends into the mountain slopes taking us up to Breakfast Rock a massive boulder near the summit. Well the hard work here is almost done and we head north along the eastern flank on a more gradual and well maintained route, passing Table Mountain’s peaks and gorges to Maclears beacon via the Smuts track. Maclears beacon is a short walk to the Upper cable car station where we will take the cable car back down.
Views of the Cape flats, False bay and Hottentots Holland mountain ranges will be enjoyed along the way and once we reach the cable car station you will be spoilt with uninterrupted 360 degree views of the Cape Town from the main Plateau.
This route is shaded most of the way up Skeleton Gorge, although you can get away with starting later on this route we still recommend starting this hike early in the morning.
We will meet at the entrance of Kirstenbosch Gardens, there is a parking area here, but remember that we will finish the hike at the lower cable car station.
Rhodes Dr, Newlands, Cape Town, 7735, South Africa
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