From forested canopies to endless sand dunes, Nicole Eddy rounds up four of the best hiking trails in the Western Cape. Join in on her adventure!
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At the southernmost tip of Africa where two oceans meet. you’ll find a beautiful place called Cape Town, nestled among mountain ranges and surrounded by deceivingly cold sea. Situated in South Africa’s Western Cape region, it’s home to one of the most diverse landscapes and indigenous vegetation in the world. </span> From views of the wild Atlantic and Indian oceans to wildlife both big and small, forested canopies and never-ending sand dunes, the Western Cape is an avid hiker’s dream. Let’s explore four amazing trails within the Western Cape:</p>

<h2><b><img alt="Nicole Eddy in South Africa" class="image-embed alignnone" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/blog_images/capetown3-690x398.jpeg" title="" /> Hike 1: Twelve Apostles, Table Mountain National Park</b></h2>

<ul>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Distance from Cape Town International Airport: 25 minutes (20.9km)</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Difficulty Level: Moderate</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Elevation: </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">3,563 feet above sea level</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Terrain: Everything from dry, sandy landscapes to moist, tropical microclimates, waterfalls, and densely forested vegetation. You name it, it’s got it.</span></li>
</ul>

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 12 Apostles hike is an all-day excursion and stretches across Table Mountain National Park traversing across the 12 Apostles Peaks on Table Mountain. Starting in Suikerbossie, Hout Bay, the hike ascends to the plateau on top of the mountain traversing across small waterfalls and streams. However, once the plateau is reached the hike follows sandy paths across plateaus and open grasslands as well as caves, and more waterfalls to help you cool down. That’s followed by dense vegetation before you’re finally onto the beautiful, flat, granite topped Table Mountain. </span> If you’re exhausted after the hike and have jelly legs, you can take the cable car down. <b>Gear</b></p>

<ul>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Snacks </span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Water</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hiking boots (waterproof are the best, like the La Sportiva P</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">rimer <a href="https://www.gore-tex.com/product/la-sportiva-womens-shoes-primer-gtx-surround-gore-tex-surround-footwear-surround-technology-23953/23953">GORE-TEX SURROUND® Shoe</a>)</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">C</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">amera (you’ll get some amazing views of Cape Town)</span></li>
</ul>

<p><b><img alt="Nicole Eddy climbing" class="image-embed alignnone" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/blog_images/capetown4-690x398.jpeg" title="" /></b></p>

<h2><b>Hike 2: Wolfberg Arch, Cederberg</b></h2>

<ul>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Distance from Cape Town International Airport: 2.5 hours (200km)</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Difficulty Level: Moderate</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Elevation Gain: 5278 feet above sea level</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Terrain: “Am I on Mars?” is something I’ve asked myself when I’ve hiked Wolfberg Arch. It has a harsh, dry, red rock landscape.</span></li>
</ul>

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Cederberg Wilderness reaches extremely high temperatures in summer and has bitterly cold, snowy conditions in the winter. </span> It’s in a remote, yet absolutely beautiful location dotted with occasional farms, small villages, and places to camp, glamp or stay in style. The Cederberg offers both rock climbers and hikers alike a wide menu of different hikes across its 71,000 hectares of rugged mountainous Mars-like landscapes. Wolfberg Arch, a phenomenal arch rock formation at the top of a mountain overlooking the wilderness, is a highlight for any visitor in the Cederberg region. You need to buy a pass to hike the trail, which you can do at the local shop in the Sanddrif campsite where the hike starts. <span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Pro tip:</strong> To avoid hiking in extremely hot temperatures, start the 6 to 7-hour hike before sunrise and end with a refreshing swim in Maalgat rock pools. </span> Alternatively, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous and are an experienced hiker, start out in the afternoon (don’t forget the drinking water) and set up camp for the night where you can watch the stars rise over the arch. It’s perfect for night photography, not to mention that you’re more than likely to see shooting stars. Keep an eye out for the shy Cape leopards that hunt at night. They’re a magical and rare sight if spotted. You’re bound to see baboons along the way, which are a common sight along the trail. There is no need to be fearful of either animal, as the leopards are extremely shy and will more than likely run away before you even get the chance to see them. When baboons are around, it is always handy to pick up a few small stones to throw as a warning in the unlikely event that they decide that your snacks are better than their berries. <b>Gear</b></p>

<ul>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Water </span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Snacks</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sunscreen</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Camera</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hiking pass</span></li>
</ul>

<p><b><img alt="Nicole Eddy on beach" class="image-embed alignnone" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/blog_images/capetown5-690x398.jpeg" title="" /></b></p>

<h2><b>Hike 3: Geelbek Day Hike, West Coast National Park</b></h2>

<ul>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Distance from</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Cape Town International Airport: 1 hour (100 km)</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Difficulty Level: Easy</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Elevation Gain: 16.4 feet above sea level</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Terrain: Arid and white sandy beaches.</span></li>
</ul>

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This hike is a 7 km scenic trek through Cape Town’s pristine West Coast National Park. Sightings of ostrich, tortoise, large antelope and snakes are virtually guaranteed.</span> <img alt="Nicole Eddy in La Sportiva hiking shoes" class="image-embed alignnone" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/blog_images/capetown2-690x398.jpeg" title="" /> The hike starts within the typical dry, arid environment synonymous with South Africa’s West Coast, but it includes a segment along the white sandy 16 Mile Beach. You can end the day in style by cooling off in the warm turquoise waters of the lagoon and cook up a barbecue, or as South African would say, a “braai” in the designated spots that overlook the bay. It’s an amazing experience to catch the sunset before the gates close. <b><img alt="Nicole Eddy by creek" class="image-embed alignnone" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/blog_images/capetown0-1-690x398.jpeg" title="" /></b></p>

<h2><b>Hike 4: Suicide Gorge, Hottentots Holland</b></h2>

<ul>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Distance from Cape Town International Airport: 1 hour 12 minutes (78 km)</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Difficulty Level: Difficult</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Elevation Gain: 5217 feet above sea level</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Terrain: Waterfalls, forested and arid landscapes</span></li>
</ul>

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Suicide Gorge should only be tackled by fit and experienced hikers. Situated in Hottentots Hollands Nature Reserve an hour outside of Cape Town, Suicide Gorge is a 17 km day hike that is a little different from most others. The route follows the river downstream.</span> <img alt="Nicole Eddy hiking in La Sportiva shoes" class="image-embed alignnone" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/blog_images/capetown1-690x398.jpeg" title="" /> Getting wet is mandatory as sliding down the mossy rocks and jumping from one pool to another is often the only way down. Despite the fun to be had on the hike, there’s plenty to see including rare and endemic fynbos species, over 110 bird species, antelope, and if you are extremely lucky, leopards that frequent these mountains. <b>Gear</b></p>

<ul>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Snacks and water</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dry Bag</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Permit money</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Waterproof camera</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Waterproof hiking boots</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Swimsuit</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Change of clothes</span></li>
</ul>

<p><strong>Be sure to check out Nicole's recent video from #thebreatheproject!</strong> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=da49Hd6BkiU &nbsp; &nbsp;</p>
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