Things To Do in Cape PointCape Point Hike
Where? Platboom beach to the gate of Cape Point Nature Reserve - Start at Platboom Beach and finish at Cape Point's main gate.
When? Daylight hours.
How? Call +27 (0)21 780-9010
How much? Free
Start: Platboom beach, roughly 3 km south of Gifkommetjie beach; there is a parking area
Finish: Cape Point's main gate
Duration: 18 km one way (leaving a car at the gates is essential)
Fitness: it's a long hike and some of it is on sand, so pretty strenuous, although no real uphills until the end
Our tip: get there early! (best to enter the reserve when it opens - 7am)
Map: best done with the latest Peter Slingsby Cape Point (and Simon's Town) map
Despite its being one of the top five things to do for every tourist in Cape Town, Cape Point Nature Reserve still boasts deserted beaches and amazing undiscovered hikes with the chance to spot wildlife.
This is because Cape Point lies far enough from the city bowl that most people misjudge the time it takes just to reach the gates. And then the average tourist bus heads straight for the lighthouse, the restaurant, a stroll around the headland and then returns, leaving most of the reserve unexplored.
For this reason the reserve is one of the best spaces in which to hike.
To get to Platboom beach follow the signs after the Buffelsfontein Information Centre until you reach a parking area on a low bluff that overlooks a sandy beach (there is a little traffic circle just before you reach the end of the road).
Most of the incredible sand dunes for which the beach is renowned stretch to your right, as you face the beach, and the beach is pretty. Just be aware there are no life guards and any swimming is at your own risk.
The well-signposted hike heads off to the right along the coastal path following the sandy shoreline for just under 6 km, a perfect coastal start to the hike. This part of the reserve is virtually isolated – you and the birds hopping in amongst the rocks.
It will help you to bear in mind that you're heading in the direction of Sirkelsvlei (the circular dam almost in the middle of the reserve).
The trail turns away from the coastline at the 6 km mark heading through the odd stepping-stone clad marshy bit, fynbos and coastal scrub. You eventually join up with the tar road that leads down to Sirkelsvlei's southern shore.
Sirkelsvlei is best known for its position on the Shipwreck Coastal Trail. The lake has its own beach, and often bontebok are sighted along its banks. If you can make it this far without a stop (as it's quite deep into the hike – roughly 12 km) then it's ideal for lunch.
After Sirkelsvlei you will cross the path of the Red Route alongside the slopes of Rooihoogte, and then reach the hike's highest point, before heading down to the road a the gates of the reserve.