Overview- Cape Highlights Walk
Experience the best of Cape Town and the Western Cape on foot. It is a combination of four of our 4/5 day routes- Cape Town, Cape Winelands, Franschhoek and Hermanus. The Cape Highlights Walk is flexible but normally about 160/170 km over 15 days. It is ideal for first time visitors to South Africa.
It includes some of the most popular tourist attractions in South Africa such as Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront, the Atlantic coast line, historic Stellenbosch, the winelands, whale watching in Hermanus and the unique Cape floral kingdom (Fynbos) The region is the only hotspot that encompasses an entire floral kingdom, and holds five of South Africa’s 12 endemic plant families and 160 endemic genera. Covering 78,555 km², Cape Floristic Region hotspot is located entirely within the borders of South Africa. It is one of the five temperate Mediterranean-type systems on the hotspots list, and is one of only two hotspots that encompass an entire floral kingdom.
Day 1: Arrival in Cape Town and relax at Guesthouse . Visit attractions in the area- options
Day 2: Visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden ,which is world renowned for the beauty and diversity of the Cape flora and for the magnificence of its setting against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Several route options.
Distance 8 km (4.8 miles) – 4 hours. (Easy / Relaxing) (Several options available)
Day 3: Walk from Kirstenbosch via Nursery Ravine or Skeleton Gorge via Maclear`s Beacon, to the upper cable station of Table Mountain. You will have spectacular views of the Cape Peninsula. Visit various viewing points and take Cable car down from the Mountain.
Distance 10 km (6 miles) – Whole Day. Moderate plus
Day 4: Full day guided tour. Road trip via Hout Bay, Chapman's Peak, Cape Point, Simonstown and Kalk bay. Short walk to Cape of Good Hope- the most South-Western point of the African continent and visit to the Boulders penguin colony.
Walking distance 4 km (Drive about 150 km) – Whole Day
Day 5: Explore the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in the historic heart of Cape Town's working harbour - South Africa's most-visited destination. Take a ferry to Robben Island -World Heritage Site and museum (Optional). Walk along the Sea Point promenade to Camps Bay.
Distance 11 km (6,7 miles) – Whole Day (Easy or Relaxing, depending on your preference)
For details about Day 1-5 refer to Cape Town Walk
Arrival in Somerset West for overnight.
Day 6: The walking trip starts in the remarkable fynbos-rich Helderberg Nature Reserve - abundant with a dazzling variety of birdlife - on the outskirts of the town of Somerset West. This includes a lecture on what nature has to offer over the next 3 days. From there we will follow our route through the vineyards of the stately Lourensford Wine Estate, to end our day’s adventure on the magnificent Vergelegen Wine Estate - which started out as VOC Governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel’s folly, more than 300 years ago.
Distance 10 km – Whole Day. (Easy)
Day 7: You start the day at Lourensford Wine Estate and head into a vaguely north westerly direction, towards Dornier Wine Estate and the Blaauwklippen Valley. A vigorous walk through vineyards and pristine fynbos countryside, with breathtaking views of the Hottentots Holland range, False Bay - and further into the distance Table Mountain and Cape Point.
Distance 19 km - Whole Day; approx 7 – 8 hours. (Moderate/Challenging)
Day 8: Waterford Estate Porcupine Trail (5 km- 3 hours). The property is situated on the slopes of the beautiful Helderberg Mountain in the Stellenbosch region – the undisputed wine capital of South Africa. The Estate has chosen to use only half of the total land for the planting of vines, in order to preserve and maintain the natural flora and fauna of the beautiful Blaauwklippen (blue stone) valley. The Cape is home to the largest and most spectacular concentration of flowers and plants found anywhere on earth.
From Waterford Estate to Dornier Estate, Mont Marie Wine Estate and Vriesenhof in the Blaauwklippen valley.
Distance 12 km – Whole Day. (Easy)
Day 9: After Cape Town, Stellenbosch is South Africa’s oldest settlement, and steeped in a fascinating and convoluted history. Because of that our day-long walk through the proud old university town with its countless splendidly preserved buildings. This promises to be a walk though history.
Distance 10 km - Whole day – Departure. (Easy/Relaxing)
For details about Day 6-9 refer to Cape Winelands Walk (4 day option)
Arrival in Franschhoek Valley for overnight.
Day 10: The Franschhoek section of the walking trip starts in the remarkable fynbos-rich Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve - abundant with a dazzling variety of birdlife – at the top of the Franschhoek Pass. This includes a guide in the Nature Reserve to give background on what nature has to offer over the next 3 days. From the peaks you will have breathtaking views of the valley- as far as Table Mountain on a clear day. From the Nature Reserve we follow the Cats Path down to the centre of the town of Franschhoek. The path is of historic value and was built during the period 1819 – 1825 for the wagons to cross the mountain to the Overberg. After lunch and a wine tasting in the middle of the day a visit to the historic Huguenot Museum.
Distance 10 km (6 miles) – Whole Day. (Moderate)
Day 11: The morning will be spent at leisure in the beautiful historic town of Franschhoek with its interesting café’s and small shops of a big variety. Lunch and a wine tasting will be on one of the nearby wine estates in the Valley. Your route goes through beautiful vineyards and will include another wine estate visit. Distance 10 km (6 miles) – Whole Day (Easy/Relaxing)
Day 12: Today includes a walk through the beautiful vineyards of the Franschhoek Valley as well as a visit to the La Motte Wine Estate with its own private mountain walking trail with its beautiful fynbos. After this great experience where you had a wonderful view over the Franschhoek Valley it is a perfect time for a wine tasting in this wonderful environment where after you can enjoy lunch at the highly rated restaurant on the estate. A visit to the art gallery and museum is also highly recommended.
Distance 11 km (6,7 miles) – Whole Day (Easy / Moderate)
Day 13: Drive scenic coastal Clarence Drive via Betty's bay to Hermanus. Car hire/self-drive recommended (Transfer also possible). Spend time in Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, which showcases a variety of indigenous coastal flora. Walk the Leopard’s Gorge waterfall trail and then to Stony Point, home to one of only two mainland African Penguin Colonies, alongside the ruins of the old whaling station.
Distance 10 km – Whole Day.
For details about Day 13 refer to Kogelberg Walk
Day 14: Enjoy stunning views of Hermanus, the Fernkloof Mountains and Walker Bay from Hoy’s koppie and the Elephant path. Guided walk in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, which covers 1800 ha in the Kleinrivier Mountains above Hermanus. It protects coastal fynbos and a small patch of evergreen forest. In Fernkloof 1474 plant species have thus far been collected and identified. It falls in the Cape Floristic region home to the greatest non-tropical concentration of higher plant species in the world. You will have magnificent and unequalled views of Walker Bay and Maanskynbaai
Distance 10 -25 km (4 -7 hours) (Moderate) (Different options available in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve)
Day 15: One of Hermanus’s main attractions is its beautiful coastline. During the day you will have beautiful views of the coastline from the mountain and will end the day near the sea, in the Voëlklip area of Hermanus.
Distance 13 km (4-6 hours) (Easy / Moderate)
Day 16: Walk along the Cliffpath in a Westerly direction towards town. The Cliff Path is one of the unique attractions of Hermanus. There are benches at strategic points which provide a place to sit and rest and watch the whales, in season, or enjoy the sea views. In summer you will be able to enjoy safe swimming at four different beaches. Your walk ends in town where you can explore a wide variety of attractions
Distance 9 km (3-4 hours) (Easy/Relaxing)
For details about Day 14-16 refer to Hermanus Walk
End of Cape Highlights Walk
Self-drive/transfer to Cape Town, or Overnight in Hermanus (recommended)
Day 17: Recommended Self-drive to Cape Town- scenic coastal road via Betty's Bay- can explore attractions not covered on Day 13
Choice of Standard or Superior accommodation is available. View the standard of accommodation -
The rate for the holiday is available on request. Choice of standard or superior accommodation.
The whole route is rated Moderate/Easy- 7 days Moderate, 6 days Easy and 2 days Moderate/Challenging. Refer to Walking Grades
When to Go
Any time of the year, but the weather is more predictable during “High season” (Oct-Apr). Reserve early to obtain the best rooms. “Low season” is a good option for local guests who are either prepared to accept weather risks or to change their plans at short notice. During low season accommodation is normally more freely available.
Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate with mild, moderately wet winters and dry, warm summers. Rainfall measures up to 1 000 mm (40 inches per year)
For international visitors: Fly to Cape Town International Airport
What to take
Comfortable, well aerated clothes in keeping with the season. Always bring a pullover / windbreaker, good walking boots (already worn-in) and several pairs of cotton or wool socks. For your daily needs, you are advised to have a day-bag, a plastic bag to line your day-pack (to protect the contents from rain), rainwear, a sun-hat, sunglasses, sun block, a water bottle, plastic picnic boxes (for transporting your lunches), first-aid kit, camera, torch/flashlight and an extra plastic bag for litter.
We recommend that you take out appropriate holiday insurance covering you against illness, injury, and loss or damage to luggage. This insurance should also cover the possibility of your having to cancel your holiday for any reason.
Our detailed route notes and -description allow you to walk self-guided and at your own pace amid splendid scenery while we transport your luggage. As soon as we have finalised your booking and hotel schedule we will forward your Hotel guide per email. This will specify your hotel schedule and directions. (We are using different hotels/guest houses from time to time) The second component of your route description is your Route guide. This specially prepared guide include route notes, maps and GPS references. Going self-guided is simple and convenient with our Route-and Hotel guide. It allows you to set out when you like, stop where you want and visit sites en route that are of interest to you. The Route guide will be given to you on the date of your arrival.
Availability and Booking
To enquire or reserve a date, go to: Availability request
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Booking process and -conditions - Go to How to book
Comments by guests who have experienced a self-guided walking/hiking holiday offered by Trails and Travel in South Africa- "Overall, the holiday was invigorating- You certainly went out of your way to make the whole time memorable- We are recommending it to our walking community in the States- Fantastic walks, wines and accommodation" For details go to Reviews
Cape Area info
The Cape Highlights Walk is an opportunity to experience breathtaking Cape Town and Cape Winelands scenery, world class cuisine and accommodation. To read more about the area, go to: Cape Town, Cape Winelands (Somerset West and Stellenbosch) Franschhoek and Hermanus