- 1.5 hours (to Alexandra Reservoir)
- Moderate terrain
- Half shaded, half unshaded
- Water available
- Dog friendly
A pleasant and well-occupied trail up the south east side of Table Mountain, the hike up Constantia Nek is easily manageable, accessible, dog friendly and a perfect way to enjoy the outdoors for the whole family. Situated in Table Mountain National Park in the south (via Constantia), the path is clear, walkable and well-worn, with a few rocks, roots and steps to negotiate at first, beyond which a steep tarred road will take you to the top, with the view that awaits well worth the effort.
Starting from the Cecilia Forest parking lot on Rhodes Drive in Constantia in the Southern Suburbs, the first segment of the hike winds its way alongside a number of tall, majestic trees before entering the thick vegetation of Cecilia Forest, providing much-needed shade in the heat of the day. A map of the area is printed on the signboard at the start of the jeep track adjacent the parking lot, with a number of various pathways leading to the same destination, yet we took the route as follows:
From the parking lot, the jeep track gradually winds its way up, the old pine trees stretching high into the sky along the dirt road before being covered by a number of overhanging branches and vegetation, with the path becoming visibly rocky and uneven.
Approximately 15 minutes into the hike, a small free-flowing stream will traverse the main path on which you are walking. Before crossing it, take the clearly visible pathway up to the left of the stream, which again is covered in roots and rocks, so watch your footing.
Five minutes along this path will take you up to the main jeep track once more, as you will reach a fork in the road. Traverse the jeep track, continuing up the narrow path to the left of the river which is defined by a number of wooden logs built in as a staircase up this path.
The pathway is well worn, clearly visible and easily walkable, and gently ascends upwards before reaching another intersection, with cement braai areas clearly visible on the left of 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.
A few hundred metres later, after gradually climbing up, you will notice and unmarked but clearly visible left turn along the path, easily identifiable by the built-in log staircase. (Continuing straight will take you to Cecilia Waterfall – see the description HERE).
The rocks and wooden logs make for easy footing as you steadily rise, before the path open up into a wide clearing, where this time an easily noticeable path on the right appears, again with wooden stairs leading upwards.
Continue along this path, where after approximately ten minutes at a leisurely pace, the path will intersect the main, tarred Constantia Nek jeep track. And don’t be fooled – this pathway is steep! There no gradual increase about this road, and it sharply ascends the side of the mountain before cutting back to an even steeper section.
Breath-taking views of the Southern Suburbs, the ocean and mountains in the distance, along with the encouragement of a number of families and dog-owners along this popular route, will keep you going as the track hugs the side of the mountain all the way to the top.
As the path flattens out, the first of three dams will appear on your left, the first being De Villiers Dam – feel free to swim here, picnic or enjoy a picnic along the shore. At this point, you would have ascended 400m from the parking lot.
Continuing along the tarred pathway, the Overeers Cottage appears soon after on the right, outside which is a water fountain, providing much-needed hydration and a cool drink for you and any furry friends.
The path slowly rises along for another few hundred metres, where you will find Alexandra Reservoir first, and then Victoria Reservoir just after, to your right. Both are picturesque settings, which make for great photos and a lovely picnic area on the rocks. Unfortunately swimming is not allowed.
This is where we called it quits, taking us an hour-and-a half at a leisurely pace with a few water breaks in between to get there. Continuing along the tarred path will take you to more reservoirs, the Woodhead and the Hely-Hutchinson Reservoirs, thereafter.
Turning back, you can take the very same path to descend, or you can continue along the main jeep path all the way down, which might take you a little longer than cutting through the forest.