- 2.5 hours (to De Villiers dam, but only 45 minutes to waterfall)
- Moderate terrain
- Mostly shaded (until the waterfall)
- Water available
- Dog friendly
A hidden treasure on Table Mountain, Cecilia Waterfall is easily accessible, quick to get to and the perfect location for a weekend picnic. Situated in Table Mountain National Park in the south (via Constantia), the path is walkable and well-worn all the way to the waterfall, beyond which the gradient increases significantly should you wish to continue up to De Villiers Dam.
Starting from the Cecilia Forest parking lot on Rhodes Drive in Constantia in the Southern Suburbs, Cecilia Waterfall lies beautiful stowed away among the thick forest and lush vegetation of Cecilia Forest, with a number of different pathways through the forest to explore. A map of the area is printed on the signboard at the start of the jeep track adjacent the parking lot.
The path begins to the right of this signboard, a mostly sandy and rocky trail through the Cecilia plantation adjacent tall, towering trees for a few hundred metres before linking up to the main jeep track.
A right turn takes you along the wide jeep track, through the shade of the pine trees for another few hundred metres until a major intersection in the path. Just before crossing the bridge over the stream, take the pathway behind the main tree at the intersection, which leads up to the left of the stream.
The pathway is well worn, clearly visible and easily walkable, with wooden stars built in to guide you along the way, though there are a few rocks and roots to be mindful of.
The path gently ascends upwards before reaching another intersection, with cement braai areas clearly visible along the path. Opposite these is a flight of stairs built into the rising embankment with the help of wooden logs.
Take the staircase and continue upwards along the path, which gets a little rocky and crosses the stream soon after, before following the contour as it gradually snakes its way through the forest, with plenty shade from the overhanging branches to keep you cool in the heat of the day.
Continuing along this path, at a relaxed walking pace, will lead you to the waterfall within 20 minutes. The waterfall is a sight to behold, with continually dripping water from above providing a cool and refreshing breather. A large tree that has fallen dissects the path, yet a number of others hang onto the cliff, which is covered in moss, ferns and other vegetation – a beautiful and picturesque setting for a picnic, while a rocky ledge leading behind the dripping water provides the perfect opportunity for a memorable photograph.
At this stage, you can easily turn around and head back, or continue up along the path and explore more of the mountain – which is what we did. Crossing the fallen tree at the waterfall, the pathway steepens dramatically as it continues through the overhanging vegetation before opening up along the slopes of the mountain.
In the distance, breath-taking views of the Southern Suburbs and the ocean beyond come in sight as the still sandy pathway rises up, until, at its highest point, a clearly visible left turn is reached.
Here, the pathway becomes more difficult to navigate, with bigger rocks and boulders to step over and pull yourself around – none too steep and no scrambling necessary, yet the path is steep, the rocks big, and there is no shade. This continues for another 30 minutes, before eventually plateauing and joining a single, sandy pathway once again through shorter veld-like vegetation which leads to the unmissable paved jeep track.
De Villiers Dam is now in sight – after a left turn, continue for 200-odd metres along the jeep track, before a right turn towards the dam. Feel free to sit along the rocks and enjoy a picnic in the scenic surrounds. At this point, you would have ascended 400m from the parking lot, which should take between 2 to 2.5 hours at a leisurely pace.
The easiest descent down the mountain would be along the paved jeep track, which descends fairly steeply, but clearly snakes its way back down to the start.