Now’s the time to book your flights to Cape Town. After significant winter rains, the city and its surrounds have transformed into a lush playground for nature lovers, and the long days of summer are on their way. There’s water, water everywhere you expect to find it – and even where you don’t…
These are the best places to take a walk in search of hidden and not-so-hidden waterfalls that appeal to your need for a big splash.
Woodstock Cave is a great option if you’ve got children in tow. It’s a short, gentle hike and easily accessible from the Cableway Station or Rhodes Memorial.
When you reach the cave, pause a while at the picnic spot to admire the views over Woodstock and a little waterfall that’s much more impressive after the rains. It’s one of Cape Town’s infinitely Instagram-able spots.
Take the Yellowwood Trail
Since you really should be visiting Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden during your Cape Town stay anyway, why not make it extra special. The Yellowwood Trail heads off into the forests of Kirstenbosch from the Fragrance Garden to a tall waterfall that gushes and splashes dramatically overstepped rocks into a rock-strewn stream below. As the summer wears on the waterfall dwindles. It’s best enjoyed during winter and spring.
The Yellowwood Trail is the perfect place to take a breather from your busy sightseeing schedule, just minutes from the heart of the city. If you’re after a more strenuous jaunt, take the trail to Skeleton Gorge instead, which also delivers you to a picturesque waterfall after a longer walk.
Another more challenging forest hike meanders up the slopes of Table Mountain towards Muizenberg. Along the way you’ll come across a lovely waterfall that wafts like a lace curtain down the rocky cliffs on the way to Cecilia Ravine. It’s the perfect place to gather your thoughts and catch your breath while negotiating this strenuous hike.
The hike starts and ends at the Cecilia Forest Parking lot off Rhodes Drive.
Silvermine Nature Reserve
Silvermine Nature Reserve offers hikes for any energy level, including options for children and dogs. The trail from Gate 2 is one of the latter and only takes an hour to complete. Along the way you’ll encounter a 30m-high waterfall splashing its way down the rocky cliffs.
Make a day of it by continuing along the trail to Silvermine Dam for a picnic and a swim. This waterfall dries up as the weather warms up, so plan your visit for winter or early spring.
Crystal Pools Gordons Bay
If you’re planning a summer trip, be sure to include a day-trip from Cape Town to the Steenbras Nature Reserve outside Gordon’s Bay. This lovely natural destination is home to a series of rock pools connected by lovely waterfalls of varying heights.
The hike meanders alongside these pools and offers opportunities for swimming in the cool, clear waters or quiet contemplation at the water’s edge. The second pool is best for swimming and kloofing but be warned, these mountain waters can be chillier than you expect.
This trail is open from November to April every year.
Krom River, Du Toitskloof
For the more serious hiker, the Limietberg Nature Reserve just outside Paarl offers a 7km hike that should take you about 5 hours to complete. The path winds between the Krom and Molenaars Rivers and starts after the Worcester exit of the Huguenot Tunnel.
This trail has it all. The paths are clearly marked and involve both up and downhill climbing as well as several pools fit for swimming and fed by gurgling streams and small waterfalls. There are gorgeous views of hills, dales and forests along the way.
The main event is at the second pool, where a large waterfall rushes dramatically over the rocks into a deep pool below. You’ll need to scramble up to the top with the help of chains to get to this point, so it’s not for the feint-hearted. You can modify this hike into a family-friendly event by turning back after the first pool.
Permits for this trail are limited to prevent overcrowding, so book early with CapeNature Central Reservations if you want to try it out.
Discover More Cape Town Hikes
Cape Town offers a wealth of nearby activities for nature lovers wanting to celebrate spring with outdoor adventures. Book your cheap flights to Cape Town now and find out more about what the Mother City has to offer.