The Hoerikwaggo Trail

The Hoerikwaggo Trail – Cape Point to Table Mountain

We offer value added services of guiding, catering and logistical support. If these services are not required, please contact Table Mountain National Park for information.

The Hoerikaggo Trail no longer exists in it’s original form: Due to a variety of factors including the damage to one of the camps by fire, vegetation fires, private land access and security concerns, the trail now consists of a series of day hikes that require road transport to link the various sections. While we still make use of the existing overnight facilities for private groups, due to logistical complications, we no longer offer fixed departure dates for open groups. There are a few areas where we will no longer take clients in small groups due to isolated crime incidents. We do not recommend the walking of this trail without consultation with someone who knows the all sections of the trail well.

For more information on guided or catered tours e-mail below. 

For more information and bookings please complete the TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM or e-mail info@slackpackersa.co.za. Slackpacker South Africa is an independent service provider offering guiding, catering, transport and logistics services on the Hoerikwaggo Trail. All guides are accredited tour guides and qualified mountain guides.

The Hoerikwaggo Trail was originally envisaged as a six day / five night through-hike between Cape Point, in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and the Western Table of Table Mountain close to the outskirts of the City of Cape Town. Accommodation was planned in five tented camps – Smitswinkel, Simonstown, Slangkop (Kommetjie), Silvermine and Orangekloof.

Unfortunately, servitude agreements between the National Park authority and certain private landowners have not been resolved and the tented camp for the Simonstown overnight stop has never been established. In addition to this the original path between Slangkop (Kommetjie) and Silvermine was closed due to access to private land being denied.

This means that the trail cannot be walked as a continuous trail. With four camps being established the trail is generally undertaken in sections of one, two or three nights or in its fullest form, as a five day / four night trail. Transport needs to be arranged to bridge the gaps between the sections and in some instances one camp may be used for two nights.

Fires in March 2015 in the Silvermine area have further complicated the trail with over 5000 hectares of land being affected and paths throughout this area were closed. The paths on the False Bay side (East coast) were re-opened in September 2015 and the paths on the Atlantic side (West coast) of this area were re-opened in December 2015. However, the tented camp at Silvermine was also damaged and is closed for the foreseeable future – there is a probability that it will not be rebuilt.

There was also a fire between Smitswinkel and Simonstown earlier this year and this path is currently closed. It is a route that requires a permit application and we have been assured by TMNP that it will be open by December. This is not however, guaranteed.

There were a few notable crime incidents on the paths between Simonstown and Kommetjie and Silvermine, via Vlakkenberg and Constantia Nek to the Orangekloof Tented camp, prior to the fires. There have not been any recent reported incidents on these routes and security has been improved, but we assess this on a trail by trail basis.

The terrain that the trail covers includes cliff paths, steep ascents and descents as well as beach walking and some undulating mountain paths. The trail follows a designated path which is generally well marked at most of the strategic intersections. It does not have regular route markers all along the way and it is very possible to take a wrong turn or deviate from the set route, particularly in bad weather. Most of the days are reasonably strenuous, requiring a good level of fitness, yet it is a route that the regular and very fit hiker would not find too challenging.

Apart from the paths that would normally be regarded as part of the Hoerikwaggo Trail, there are numerous alternative routes, that with logistical support can be utilized to accommodate specific requirements of a group, or adapted for specific weather conditions or other reasons.

The accommodation is all in fixed tented camps, most of which sleep two people in single beds. The camps all have communal kitchen facilities with gas hobs, limited refrigeration and braai (bar-b-que) facilities. There are also communal ablution facilities with hot showers.

The accommodation and the trail itself is falls within Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and the booking is made through the SANParks booking system. If you are doing the trail with Slackpacker SA, we arrange the booking for you. While TMNP do not require you to have a guide, if you do not know the Mountain paths, this is highly recommended, not only for the guidance, but the value added through knowledge of fauna, flora, geology, history and more.

 

Current Walk Itinerary as offered by Platteklip Tours & Trails
       
Day 1 Cape Point to Smitswinkel Bay    
Transfer to start at Cape Point Walk to the camp    
       
  Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Day 2 Smitswinkel Bay to Simonstown

Note 2: currently closed due to fire damage – scheduled to be opened by December.

Simonstown to Slangkop

Note 1: there are security concerns on this section of the trail with occasional isolated incidents

Transfer to another part of the Park – Baskloof or Kalk Bay for day walk route
  Transfer from Simonstown to camp at Slangkop end of day Transfer from Smitswinkel to Simonstown beginning of the day  
       
  Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Day 3 Early morning beach walk to Noordhoek followed by transfer to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens & contour path walk to Orangekloof Camp Early morning out and back beach walk followed by Constantia Nek circular route to Orangekloof Camp Slangkop to Simonstown (reverse of Option 2 on Day 2)

See Note 1 above with regard to security

  Transfer from Noordhoek to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Transfer from Kommetjie to Constantia Nek Transfer from Simonstown to Orangekloof
  Option 1 Option 2 (Final day)  
Day 4 Circular route from Orangekloof up to Bel Ombre Peak across to the Back Table – Nursery Ravine and back to Orangekloof From Orangekloof to Table Mountain  
    Collection from Platteklip Gorge for transfer back to own accommodation  
Day 5 Final day    
  From Orangekloof to Table Mountain    
  Collection from Platteklip Gorge for transfer back to own accommodation    

There are a number of additional options that have not been covered in this description, that can be discussed with the group on a daily basis, with itinerary being adapted accordingly. Considerations such as weather, traffic patterns where road transport is involved, safety / security and fitness of the group, all need to be taken in to account.

Brief trail description

Day 1

Cape Point to Smitswinkel Bay 17.5 km

The trail starts at the Cape Point lighthouse car park. There is an option of visiting the lighthouse at the Point before setting out on the trail. The trail meanders between the some high cliff paths, low peaks, inland fynbos and coastal rocks and beach. In a few places there are alternative paths where a choice between beach and inland can be made. The day finishes with a stunning cliff view point and a short walk down the tarred access road to the Nature Reserve to cross to overnight tented camp venue.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Day 2 (option 1)

Smitswinkel to Simonstown 12 km

A steep trek up Smitswinkel buttress to the ridge. Some mild scrambling and a bit of exposure – steep and strenuous. Along the ridge on an undulating walk through some high stands of vegetation on a path the is clear but rough and uneven in places. A short steep climb up to the top of Swartkop followed by a winding path down, also rough and rocky in places. Finish with a long path that goes slowly down to Simonstown descending over considerable distance from one contour to the next.

Difficulty level: Strenuous

Day 2 (option 2)

Simonstown to Slangkop Lighthouse 13 km

This is the easiest day’s walking on the trail but transport is required to get from the overnight accommodation to the start at the bottom of the old cable way step in Simonstown. The steps are paved but they are steep and are good wake up in the morning. These come out at the grave of Just Nuisance, the only dog to have been formally enlisted in the British Navy during World War II. From here there is a short walk along the tarred road to Red Hill and a return to the hiking trail. The path is clear and easy going to the Kleinplasie Dam and then on over some fairly rock terrain to the Slangkop Peak, overlooking Kommetjie and your accommodation at the tented camp alongside Slangkop Lighthouse.

Difficulty level: Easy

Day 3 (option 1)

Slangkop to Simontown

This is the reverse of Day 2 – option 2 and would only be done for those who have done option 1 and Day 2. A fairly easy walk with a short steep climb up to the ridge and then and undulating walk finishing with a visit to Just Nuisance grave (See above) and descend down the Klawer steps to Simonstown. Transport would then collect hikers for transfer to overnight accommodation

Difficulty level: Easy

Day 3 (option 2)

This day starts with a beach walk from the camp, past the wreck of the Kikapo (1900), to Noordhoek on the other end of the beach – a distance of about 8 km. From here transport will collect hikers for transfer to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens where there is an easy walk through the Gardens up to the contour path and on to Constantia Nek before descending to the Orangekloof Tented Camp.

Day 3 (option 3)

This day starts with an out and back beach walk from the camp to the wreck of the Kikapo (1900). On return to Kommetjie transport will then collect hikers for transfer to Constantia Nek. From here there are a few circular route options from an easy contour path to a steeper walk up one of the routes to the Back Table. Some of the options will depend on timing but all end in the overnight accommodation at Orangekloof. Detailed options will be discussed with the group.

Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate

Fire affected areas below

Day 2 Smitswinkel to Simonstown – route closed due to fire damage. Due to be opened before the December 2016 summer season, but not guarenteed.
Day 3 Slangkop Lighthouse to Silvermine:  17.5 km – this option no t available at present – due to land access – see below
Note: Due to the path passing over private land the description below is no longer valid with various alternatives involving transfer to different starting points. All alternatives are easier than the original route and can be discussed prior to departure. Difficulty level – Moderate
Route no longer available

In contrast to day 2, day 3 is probably the most strenuous of the trail. The day starts with a beach walk of about 6 km across the beach to the base of Chapman’s Peak. This a steep ascent from sea level to just below 600 metre at the top of the Peak itself. The path is well crafted and the views are so amazing that your attention is soon distracted from the climb. From the Peak there is a sharp descent in to a saddle and the a long walk up the path to Silvermine Ridge at close to 700 metres. The reward for the climb is the easy descent to the camp, close the Silvermine Dam (where swimming is permitted).

Difficulty level: Strenuous

 

Day 4
Silvermine to Orangekloof: 16km – this is an option but the Silvermine camp is  not available at present due to fire damage. The  paths have been re-opened. Security concerns need to be taken in to account.
This day starts with a short climb from the Silvermine Valley to the lookout point at Blackburn Ravine. The path appears to drop off straight to Hout Bay and the rocks below. In reality it is a good path with some moderate exposure, that zig-zags down to the contour path below. The route then follows the contour overlooking Hout Bay, before meandering up the side of the Constantiaberg, meeting a short section of the jeep track before descent in to Vlakkenberg Valley and up to Vlakkenberg Ridge. From there it is down to Contantia Nek, across the main road and in to Orangekloop and your overnight camp in this permit access only area of Table Mountain.
Difficulty level: Strenuous

 Day 4 (Option 1)

This is a circular route from the camp along a short jeep track to Constantia Nek from where hikers will take a steep path with some mild scrambling, up to Bel Ombre Peak. From here there is an easy, undulating path through spectacular rock formations to the Back Table and the historic reservoirs. From here it will be back down the steep Nursery Ravine to the contour path, back along the contour path to the camp.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Depending on the routes selected for day 3, some of the options may be interchangeable.

 

Day 5

Orangekloof to Table Mountain: 10km

The last leg of the hike is moderate and made easier by the beauty of the surroundings. After a short walk through the pristine fynbos of the Orangekloof Valley, you ascend Disa Ravine. Between the end of January and early March you may see the famous red disa growing here. At the top of the Ravine you will come out at the Woodhead Reservoir, before heading for the Valley of the Red Gods, the Valley of Isolation, Echo Valley and the Western Table of the Mountain – the well known ‘flat’ top, familiar in photographs depicting Cape Town. You will come out at the top of Platteklip Gorge, where you may have a choice between visit the cable station precinct and descending by Cable Car or walking down the Gorge to the lower cable station and the end of the hike.

Note: The Cable Car can be closed in high winds or inclement weather conditions.

For background history, current situation and Slackpacker SA rates follow the link below to

Table Mountain Hiking Trails

 

2 responses to “The Hoerikwaggo Trail

  1. paul

    yes this seems like something i can do for my 50th in
    june 2013

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