Skeleton Gorge/Nursery Ravine - Platteklip Gorge

Skeleton Gorge/Nursery Ravine - Platteklip Gorge

Platteklip gorge route starts from the world famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. This is a great hike that will take you up Skeleton Gorge and down Nursery Ravine with steep steps and scrambling up river beds part of the route. There is a fairly strenuous walk up through the shady indigenous forest of Skeleton Gorge. On reaching the top of the Back Table, relax next to Hely Hutchinson dam, one of the 5 dams on Table Mountain. There is an easy stroll along the top with magnificent views towards the Hottentots Holland mountains, False Bay and the Peninsula to Cape Point. Before descending Nursery Ravine there is Castle Rock to visit. This walk takes about 3.5 hours. Follow the route of the original explorers to the top of the Front Table. This ascent is steep and stepped. The reward at the top is the unrivaled views of Cape Town, Table Bay, Robben Island and the whole of the Cape Peninsula, east to the Hottentots Holland mountains and from the twelve apostles to Cape Point. Spend time exploring on the top before descending by the same route. This walk takes about 4.5 hours.

The first recorded ascent to the summit of Table Mountain was by the Portuguese captain Antonio de Saldanha, in 1503. He wisely chose Platteklip Gorge , the gap visible from the front table (the north side) which, as it turned out, is the most accessible way up. A short and easy extension will get you to Maclear's Beacon which, at 1086m, is the highest point on the mountain. The Platteklip route has the added advantage of ending at the upper cable way station, so you can descend in a car.

  • Starting and Ending Point: Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (Main Entrance)
  • Area: Table Mountain
  • Type of Terrain: Dirt road, Single Track, Steep Stairs, Steep Rocky River Bed and Ladders
  • Difficulty: This is a difficult hike requiring fitness and hiking experience. The path up Skeleton Gorge is well maintained and the steps are well graded steps, making the climb up a bit easier, although it is still a fairly steep slog up. The route up Skeleton does sometimes get a bit slippery but there are fixed ladders to help you through these trickier parts. The route up Skeleton Gorge is one of the most popular and so is often quite busy.

Table Mountain over top