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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hiking Devils Peak via Newlands Ravine

Hiking Trail: Devils Peak via Newlands Ravine
Name of Reserve / Area: Table Mountain National Park
Nearest Town: Newlands, Cape Town, Rondebosch
Province: Western Cape
Country: South Africa

Duration of hike: 4 hours

Directions to get there: From Cape Town CBD, take the M3 towards Muizenberg. Take a left turn towards Rhodes memorial. Follow signs to Rhodes Memorial and park your car there.

Looking up at the mountain from the car park, you will see the steps leading up the mountain on the far left corner. Climb these steps, cross over the jeep track and continue up the steps to a T-junction. Turn right and follow some more steps until you see a turn stile in front of you. Do not go through the turn stile, rather take a sharp left onto the Contour path.

Walk along this picturesque flat route for about 20 minutes, until you reach a pic-nick area as in the picture below. This will be a good time to take a quick break and fuel up for the next up route, which is directly opposite this pic-nick area.

This is your start up Newlands Ravine. Looking back, you will soon see the Newlands Forrest and also the helicopter pad for the Mountain Rescue Club.

This route is steep and should take you about 30 to 40 minutes to reach the top.

Once you have reached the top, you need to keep walking towards your right and down into the valley known as The Saddle. Keep following the path in the direction of the stream and it will again bring you to a T-junction. Turn right onto the path and you will begin to follow this flat route around Devils Peak for about 30 minutes.

In the picture below:
Middle Traverse path with runners on it. Top right is the section called The Knife Edge, with the peak of Mowbray Ridge to the left of it.

After walking for about 30 minutes, you will reach a fork in the path, take the zig-zag route down until you reach another flat path, known as the Lower Contour Path. Turn right again onto the lower contour path, which will immediately take you past a freshly burnt grove of cork oaks.

I am glad to report that they are sprouting green leaves everywhere, and that they have survived the recent horrifying fires which took place on 18 March 2009.

In the picture below:
Here you can clearly see the severity of this fire as the flames are covering the entire left face of Devils Peak. The Saddle is the middle section between Devils Peak and Table Mountain on the right. Cape Town CBD at the bottom.

(Fire pics courtessy of Craig Kolesky)

After you have passed the burnt Oaks, you will come out at the Block House. Follow the narrow path down right next to the cannons (not the road), and once you reach the jeep track, turn right. This path will take you directly through the turn style.

The path forks at the turn style, take the left fork town and retrace your steps back to your car at the Rhodes Memorial parking lot.

Best time of year to go: Winter is always good, but know what the weather is going to do. Wind, rain and a thick low cloud can easily change your pleasant walk into something you wish you did want.

What costs did you incur to do this hike: none

How safe is it: its Table Mountain. Loads of 'bergies' live here. These people live and survive off the mountain. They often prefer to take what is yours. Keep yourself protected with mace or a stun-gun at all times.

Fresh Water: There are many streams that you cross, but they are seasonal and mostly only flow during the winter months (May - Sept)

Difficulty: Its a hard climb in the beginning, then it eases off on the contour path. Steep climbing again for about half an hour, and then when you have reached the top, its and easy stroll around the mountain and back down to your car.

Pets: Not for your fat, lazy dog. Its also a rather long walk, so take care if you do decide to take your pooch along with you on this walk.

In the picture below is the following seen from the road:
The right peak is Devils Peak, in the middle is the Newlands Ravine and in the far left you can see the table of Table Mountain.

How will I rate this hike? I enjoyed it for the fact that it was done without any book or guidance. But most of my confidence came from my experience of past walks along this way, and a bit of advice from a fellow walker on the mountain. It was hard climbing, but interesting to see a new ravine. I especially liked the part that went around the front of Devils Peak from the Saddle and Table Mountain's side. It was breathtakingly beautiful - a very unexpected beauty unfolded in front of me, when I least expected it to. I was exhausted by the time I got back to my car, especially because I joined a group of trail runners as they were running past me. At first I thought they were a fit bunch of extremists, but once I joined them, it seemed very do-able and great fun. Even those with a new state of the art 4x4 walking frame will easily manage over the flat pieces at the top.


Anonymous said...

Great hike, i would recommend it to any one looking for a good amount of exercise. I managed it in just under 3 hours.

Thanks for the detailed explanation you gave, it helped a lot. I have walked past the round table a number of times and never know the way up to Newlands ravine.

Will be doing this one again sometime soon.

Klemmetvold said...

Did this today. Excellent hike. Not so easy to find my way after Newlands Ravine, but i asked people and found where to go. I went down to the Taffelberg Road and had some friends pick me up there. I must say you guys are fast, as I used three hours just to the top, and additionally one hour down to Taffelberg Road.

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