Western Cape Tourist AttractionsOrangekloof Forest
Where? Collect a permit at the Hout Bay Forestry Station, Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town
How? Call +27 (0)21 712-7471
Orangekloof, or Oranjekloof, is part of Table Mountain National Park. Its 285 hectares lie west of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, its kloof descending behind the parking lot at Constantia Nek on the northern end of the Hout Bay Valley (its valleys, hills, cliffs, trees and rivers nudge up against the houses of Hout Bay to the west).
Through the kloof runs the Disa River, its tea-coloured water a rush of steep and fast flowing water off the slopes of Table Mountain.
This region of the park has managed to remain free of any fire damage for over 30 years. Even the recent 2015 fires were prevented from damaging the Orangekloof and its magnificent forest.
Few people know about the kloof or that the forest it contains is a piece of indigenous Afro-temperate forest; the most intact and oldest indigenous mountain forest on Table Mountain. It is carefully protected.
For this reason one must have a permit to hike or walk in the kloof. And group numbers are limited to 12 people a day. (Read more about this trail here: Orange kloof Hike).
Because paths are not all that clear, people are encouraged to enter the forest and kloof with a guide (it is fairly easy to get lost). The trail is not difficult, even though the gorge is pretty steep, and it functions well for a family hike, hence its popularity - book in advance as weekends tend to fill up quickly (tip: winter is the secret month, just after the first rains, when flowers are at their best in the kloof).
The Hoerikwaggo Trail, a 5-day, 75 km hike between Cape Town and Cape Point along the ridge of Table Mountain, has one of its tented camps in Orangekloof (the others are at Silvermine, Smitswinkel and Slangkop).
The tented camp is accessible even if you are on a different trail and a quick detour is worth it to explore the non-invasive and sustainable design of the camp – the builders used alien timber, recycled glass jars and an unusual layout. You can hire the self-catering camp even if you are not on the Hoerikwaggo trail, contact Table Mountain National Park for details.