If you have five days to spare and plenty of energy, a perfect way to explore the Cape Peninsula is on foot. The 97km (60 mile) Hoerikwaggo Trail runs right along the spine of the peninsula, the whole way from Table Mountain to Cape Point. You can also do one of four different 2 day sections, with daily hikes ranging from 14-21 kms (10-16 miles) per day.
What to see
Named after the ancient San (Bushman) name for Table Mountain – it means ‘mountain of the sea’ - the trail runs through the Table Mountain National Park for its entire length. The scenery is magnificent from the vast panoramic views on top of Table Mountain to beachfronts such as Boulders with its colony of African penguins and Cape Point, at the tip of the continent.
As you walk, you will get a chance to study the intricacies of the fynbos, the incredibly rich and delicate flora of these mountains. The Orange Kloof section is a rare surviving section of Afromontane forest, while ancient Cape Beech, Milkwoods and Yellowwoods still grow at Silvermine. Keep an eye out for small mammals from the small cuddly dassie (rock hyrax) which, astonishingly, is the nearest living relative to the elephant to small antelope such as shy duikers and porcupines. You might even see the rare Cape clawless otter. Then there are the birds. With mountains, sea and forest along the trail, there is the possibility of seeing an extraordinary variety of different types of birds from a peregrine falcon to an African wood owl or black-browed albatross. And in season, it is always worth keeping a sharp eye out to sea for the tell-tale puff of a whale’s spout.
Accommodation and booking
Accommodation is in a series of comfortable permanent tented camps with communal ablution blocks and self-catering facilities. There is no fee to use the trail although there are entry fees for some sections of the park and you will be charged for the overnight accommodation. It is also strongly suggested that you hire a guide. An easy alternative is to book though Jenman African Safaris who have partnered with the National Park to run guided hikes along the trail.