The Cape Trail: Pet-friendly trails you should visit!
There is no joy much purer than hiking on trails with your furry best friend! Here at The Cape Trail, we will show you around the best trails to visit for your outing with your fur baby. Let us walk down the wonderful pet-friendly trails across the Cape. Take a look at the list of trails you should visit with your pet below:
Cave Peak and Spes Bona forest
- 6.5 km loop
- Some water
- Shade in forest areas
- Little water
- Dog friendly (sort of)*
This 6.5 km loop is a great hike when you’re in the mood for something a little more adventurous. Cave peak offers several caves to go and explore. The descent meanders through the beautiful Spes Bona Forest. I would make sure you have a decent general knowledge of the area or bring someone with you who does as the path can get a little confusing at times. Although a great hike all year round, the contrasting colours of the blossomed fynbos flowers in spring is particularly spectacular alongside the unbeatable views of False Bay.
The hike starts at the entrance to Echo Valley off of Boyes Drive. If you are lucky with your timing, there is parking directly opposite the entrance. When you begin the hike, you immediately start climbing some rocky stairs. After about 400 m of climbing there is a slight deviation in the route, stay on the more obvious route. A little further up at 750 m, is Weary Willy’s with built-up stone and metal signage. Follow the route to Amphitheater and Echo Valley Forest (on the left). Don’t forget to look behind now and then during your ascent to appreciate the view of Kalk Bay.
Continue up the path through the fynbos until you reach some large boulders on your right. This area is called Hungry Harry’s. Here, approximately, 1.2 km into your hike take a turn to your left. From this turn, until the summit of Cave Peak, directions can get a little confusing. The paths aren’t always very obvious. When in doubt, look out for cairns that will help you find your way up. The path should aim towards just the left of the bottom of a small rock overhang. Admittedly, we got lost and went off track a bit, but reached the overhang at about 1.45 km. Continue heading up until you reach a large tunnel structure formed by rocks. Enjoy the view on the other side of the tunnel where you can see up until Simon’s Town. To continue on your route, walk through the tunnel staying slightly to the left. The path will head downhill again before heading up again. Ahead of you will be two options to scramble your way to the top, we suggest the option to the right for slightly easier scrambling.
At the top, you are treated to stunning views all the way over to Noordhoek. We did a bit of exploring at the top to find the perfect spot to have a snack and take in the scenery. From where you reach the top, continue hiking along the path to your left. This route takes you alongside numerous cave entrances to go and explore. Please make sure you are fully geared before exploring any of the caves. At approximately 2.4 km into your hike, the path takes you through a small yellowwood forest, with another cave entrance. Continue to walk alongside the rock on your right. The path will lead you to some built-up stone with directions on top, follow the directions to the amphitheatre.
This path will take you alongside an old fence, on your right at about 3.4 km, with a beautiful view of the valley. The path will lead you to the beautiful amphitheatre, a large clearing in your walk. You will find another set of built-up stones here, with a detailed map of the different hiking routes the area has to offer. From here, continue towards the Spes Bona Forest. The hike will take you along the top of the mountain until 4 km where the descent towards the forest begins. A couple of hundred meters further, they will reach Spes Bona Forest. For many, this is the highlight of the hike. The boardwalks lead you through the beautiful milkwood and yellowwood forest for another few hundred meters. Along this section of the hike, watch your head, some low lying branches need ducking under.
On the other side of the forest, the descent continues through fynbos, with more amazing views of the ocean ahead. At about 5.7 km, you reach another set of directions on the built-up stones. Follow the route back towards Weary Willy’s. This path will continue back toward the original entrance, watching your step on your way down. Some fun pictures have been carved into some of the rocks. At Weary Willy’s, take the exit back to Boyes Drive. The route returns to the start of the hike and parking area.
*This route is technically classified as dog friendly, but the scrambling may be difficult to do with your pooch. I would recommend finding an easier alternative route to find your way up to Cave Peak.
- 1.5 hours (to Alexandra Reservoir)
- Moderate terrain
- A half shaded, half unshaded
- Water available
- Dog friendly
A pleasant and well-occupied trail up the southeast 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 many 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 to the parking lot, with several 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 many 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 several 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.
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 is 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 some 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.
The breathtaking view will keep you going. 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 Overseers 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.