Devil’s Peak – Tafelberg ascent

Devil’s Peak – Tafelberg ascent
  • 5.75 km out and back
  • Elevation gain: 623 m
  • Not dog friendly
  • Moderate to high level of difficulty, depending on fitness levels
  • Proper hiking shoes highly recommended for lose rocks and muddy path.
  • Ensure you have warm and wind (water) proof garments. There is normally a strong wind at the top

Rising tall and proud out of the heart of Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs, Devil’s Peak is not easy to miss and is along with Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, one of Cape Town’s iconic mountain summits. Reaching 1000 m above sea level, Devil’s Peak is second highest to Maclear’s Beacon in Table Mountain National Park. However, ascending Devil’s Peak is definitely more technical and challenging given the steep incline and loose rocks near the top. Luckily there are beautiful views stretching over Cape Town CBD and the Atlantic Ocean throughout the hike, and the panoramic views at the top make the hard work worth it. There are multiple starting points from which to begin the hike up Devil’s Peak. This details what is probably the easiest route – starting from Tafelberg road, heading up and returning back the same way (although you could add considerable distance by returning via Newlands Ravine).

The initial climb from Tafelberg road zig-zags towards the contour path

To arrive at the start, take the turn off onto Tafelberg road from Kloof corner. Drive all the way past the cable car station and continue until you see the sign for Devil’s Peak on your right. The initial path is relatively steep as you climb steps that zig-zag up the face of Table Mountain. Since the path is mostly exposed, you may simply turn and cast your eyes over the Atlantic views should you need to catch your breath.

Fork in the route at the lower contour path. There is a signpost indicating the route to Devil’s Peak (right in the picture)

You will soon reach the lower contour path that traverses Table Mountain. Here, the route splits 3 ways – left to the Blockhouse, right to Platteklip and up towards Devil’s Peak. Take the latter route, which continues steeply zig-zagging up to the saddle between Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain.

Narrow path leading from the saddle between Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak, to the start of the final ascent

At the plataeu in the saddle between these two giants, continue parallel to the lower contour path towards Devil’s Peak. At the split in the route (image left), head right and continue up the narrow path that seems to be part of a small river bed. This route may be wet and slippery after recent rains. Soon you will come to the turn off to Devil’s Peak on the left, from which the path continues very steeply up towards the summit.

About 10-15  minutes after taking the turn off you will come to a brief plataeu, where on a clear day you will have excellent views. Continue on the narrow path to the right, before turning left up a shaded rutted path up the mountain. You may need to watch your head for the low-hanging branches of small bushes and tress and be careful underfoot on the slippery mud and rocks

Views over Table Mountain and Lion’s Head from one of the plataeus en route to Devil’s Peak

The gradient becomes very steep at points in this short section and is definitely the toughest part of the hike. Shortly after conquering this section you will come to another lookout point and what may appear to be the summit of Devil’s Peak. You will be able to see one of the other routes up Devil’s Peak from here, specifically Mowbray Ridge, and it is often very windy from this point onwards. However, you will be fine as long as you have dressed and packed appropriately.

Final gradual incline towards the true summit of Devil’s Peak. Be sure not to turn around too early!

Continue slightly right on the path that heads up at a gradual incline towards the true dummit of Devil’s Peak. You will see the flag on top of the cairn that marks the summit! Take a seat, pull out the coffee and rusks and enjoy the spectacular views of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Robben Island, the Atlantic Coast and on a clear day all the way towards Hottentots Holland Mountain Range.

Perfect spot to enjoy that morning coffee!

 

Having adequately soaked up the natural beauty at 1000m above sea level, begin the comparatively easy hike down. Sections of the route down towards the last turn off at the saddle may be steep and slippery, so be careful not to rush and risk rolling an ankle. Otherwise, the hike back to Tafelberg road is relatively easy and follows the same route you came up. Should you wish to prolong the hike or return a different way, consider heading left at the saddle towards Newlands Ravine. This involves a very steep long descent towards the contour path in Newlands Forest and a long loop around past Blockhouse towards Tafelberg Road. This would add an extra 3-4 hours to your journey. Otherwise, enjoy the views that you may have missed on the way up, but don’t lose tack of your footing! Enjoy!

 

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