Hiking excursion up Skeleton Gorge in Cape Town

Activity Snapshot

Fitness level: Occasionally sporty
Duration: 5 hrs
Spoken languages: Afrikaans, English
Minimum age: From 10 years-old and up
Cancellation policy: flexible More info
Opening seasons:

Activity description

Take a short walk through part of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens including the Boomslang Treetop walk, shady Skeleton Gorge and indigenous forest, providing you with beautiful views on a clear day.

You'll get to see a variety of Fynbos as you ramble to Maclear’s Beacon, the highest point of Table Mountain. You'll also visit the flat plateau of Table Mountain overlooking the city bowl and harbour.

The Gorge is actually a ravine, and ascends steeply up the eastern side of Table Mountain. A well maintained path following the left side of the stream and is in shade nearly all the way to the top.

At about half way up (45min) there are a series of 5 short wooden ladders to help you over a steep terrain and ends in a narrow section of the gorge. For a short distance the path is in the streambed that requires scrambling over rocks and boulders, (this section can be very wet and slippery in winter and shoes with non-slip soles are essential) after you reach the gabion (a stone wall covered with metal mesh to hold it together).

The path crosses over to the right side of the gorge and continues upwards with lush ferns surrounding the path. For the first time you emerge above the treeline and you are able to look down to the starting point in Kirstenbosch.

Soon after a huge boulder called Breakfast Rock, the path splits 4-ways. (You should reach this point in about 1 hour 45 minutes from the contour path). You can choose to go around Hely Hutchinson dam or turn right onto Smuts' Track.

The path then opens up offering expansive views of Cape Town’s southern suburbs and False Bay in the distance. A steady climb up the ‘back table’ to Maclear’s Beacon, (highest point on Table Mountain 1085m/ 3560ft) and then onto our descent via the Cableway or Platteklip Gorge.

Altitude: Start at 180m/591ft to highest point 1085m/3560ft
Total climb: 905m/2969ft
Distance: Approx. 6 – 7 km
Rating: Unrelenting but a pleasant ascent, physically demanding and mountain fitness is required
Time: Between 4 – 6 hours depending on route combination, weather and fitness level

Activity requirements

Please avoid cotton as it soaks up moisture, clings to the skin when wet, doesn’t insulate and takes longer to dry. You end up feeling uncomfortable, with a wet and sweaty layer of clothing.

Special terms

Please note you will have to pay a supplement for the following:
- The cableway fee: R150 pp.
- Walk down: R200 pp.
- Entrance to Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden: R65 pp.
- Taxi fare back to the start of the hike: R200

Advice on what to wear:
The weather on the mountains can change unexpectedly and sudden drops in temperature are common. On a hot day the correct clothing can help prevent heat exhaustion and sunburn. Wearing the wrong clothes on your hiking/walking tour could spoil your tour.

Examples and good choices of clothing:

1st layer: A sleeveless or short sleeve T-shirt/top of light-weight moisture wicking fabric.
2nd layer: A long sleeve shirt with a collar (for protection against sunburn) from light weight moisture wicking fabric. When the temperature increases you can take the shirt off. When it gets cold or sun protection is needed you can put the shirt back on.
3rd layer: A body warmer is a practical choice for the tour (a sleeveless vest that zips up in front, designed to offer warmth and protection to your core, also known as a gilet). Choose one that is light, folds up small and can serve as a wind breaker and can add extra warmth when needed.
4th layer is for protection against rain and cold: Bring light weight jacket that is completely windproof, waterproof, breathable and can keep you warm and dry, preferably with a hood.

Trousers: Full length zip-off pants. Protects the skin form insects, thorn and blister bushes (similar to poison Ivy) and sunburn. The pants could be converted into shorts at any stage and vice versa.

Hands: Gloves for the cold. If no gloves are available bring an extra pair of socks to put over your hands.

Feet: The correct footwear is most important

Socks: Breathable, wick moisture away from the skin and are quick drying.

Shoes: Everyone’s feet are different. Make your footwear choices according to what is right for you. Good choices are: hiking boots, low-cut hiking shoes or trail running shoes.

Head: Wide brimmed hats have excellent coverage. A cap or visor with a bandana for neck protection is also a good combination. Sunglasses, a beanie or buff in backpack in the event of weather changes.

Backpack: 25 – 30 litres for carrying personal items and your snack/lunch pack. If you do not have a day pack please notify us in advance.

Sun block: – at least factor 30; the sunburn danger in Cape Town is high, even on a cloudy day.

Personal first aid e.g. personal medication. sticking plaster, headache tablets. If you have health problem asthma, diabetes or heart problems please inform the guide in advance. If you start getting a blister on your feet on the hike inform the guide so that it can be treated immediately.

  • Expert guide
  • Bottled water
  • Cable way fee
  • Walk down fee
  • Taxi fare back
Do not forget to bring
  • Comfortable clothes adapted to the weather conditions
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Closed shoes adapted to hiking
  • Snacks
100% secure payments
by credit card or Paypal
Meeting point
Table Mountain Aerial Cableway: Tafelberg Rd, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001 Get directions

Cancellation policy

Cancellation 4 days or more prior to the agreed activity date
You will be automatically refunded for the full amount for the activity
4 days
Cancellation between 48 and 96 hours prior to the agreed activity date
You are entitled to a 50% refund
48 hrs
Cancellation 48 hours or later prior to the agreed activity date
No refund will be possible
Weather Guarantee
Regardless of the date, if the activity is cancelled due to bad weather conditions, you will be offered a refund or the chance to reschedule


Average rating
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