Skeleton Gorge Hike in Cape Town

This route takes you from Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens up through a beautiful tree lined gorge to the top of the back table. We then follow the Eastern slopes of the mountain with views of False Bay and the Southern suburbs to Maclears Beacon!

Operated by: Ridgway Ramblers
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  • Duration: 6 Hours
  • Difficulty: Challenging
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  • Meet on location
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Skeleton Gorge leads up the lush eastern side of Table Mountain, offering jungle setting and inland views on the ascent, with eventual city views. It starts within the famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (no doubt contributing to its popularity) and covers a big chunk of the Table Mountain massif. The route involves some light, non-exposed scrambling, so you don’t need a head for heights. One section requires you to negotiate a series of wooden ladders lightly exposed to heights – not difficult, but fairly challenging if you suffer from fear of heights; more challenging during wet conditions. In winter (June to August), the route gets very wet and quite treacherous, especially directly after rain, but at the same time offers small waterfalls and cascades.


  • Kirstenbosch garden
  • Maclear’s beacon
  • Table Mountain plateau
  • Table edge path – city views


The first half of the route leads through indigenous Afro-montane forest (resembling tropical jungle), after which you emerge onto shrub-covered slope that leads up to Maclear’s Beacon, the highest point on Table Mountain (about 20 meters / 70 feet higher than the rest of the ‘Table’). From here, we traverse the length of the famous tabletop summit to eventually reach the upper cable station.

Difference between Kasteelspoort (12 Apostles) and Skeleton Gorge? The former offer sea views on the ascent, the latter jungle setting / inland views. Different views appeal to different people, so hard to say which is best. Both routes are more or less equally strenuous and both scores quite low on the adventure scale – though Skeleton Gorge is quite an adventure in winter after rain, sometimes downright impassable

Important information

Operated by: Ridgway Ramblers

What’s included

  • Spare water
  • Snacks
  • Light lunch on longer hikes 

What do I need to bring

  • Water
  • Hat & sunblock
  • Walking shoes (hiking boots are best but good sneakers/trainers will are also ok)
  • Comfortable light clothing
  • Warm & waterproof jacket

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