The Skeleton Gorge hike might be probably the most stunning and the greenest path to the highest of Desk Mountain. In contrast to different trails, it begins on the “inexperienced facet” of the mountain within the Kirstenbosch Botanical Backyard. It’s one of the best path to stroll on a scorching summer time day.
From the begin to the tip the path goes via a lush evergreen forest with many small creeks and streams, huge boulders, and thick tree trunks coated in moss. As soon as out of the forest you get superb views of Cape City and its environment. On a pleasant day, you’ll be able to see False Bay and the mountain vary alongside the coast.
After mountaineering Skeleton Gorge you’ll be able to calm down with a glass of wine or get pleasure from lunch with a surprising view at one of many Constantia wine farms, The realm is only a quick 15-minute drive from Kirstenbosch.
Skeleton Gorge route overview
- Distance – 3,5 km a technique, 7 km return
- Required time – 3-Four hours on common return
- Whole ascent – 600 m
- Whole descent – 600 m
- Place to begin – Kirstenbosch Botanical Backyard
- Ending level – Hely Hutchinson Reservoir on the highest of Desk Mountain
- Issue – Four out of 5
- Terrain – rocky footpath, boulders, picket ladders
- Min elevation – 103 m
- Max elevation – 712 m
Prompt excursions and actions
How lengthy is the Skeleton Gorge hike?
Skeleton Gorge is a linear hike to the highest of Desk Mountain. The full size of the route is 3,5 km from the place to begin within the Kirstenbosch Botanical Backyard to the Hely Hutchinson Reservoir on the highest or 7 km return.
Should you don’t need to descend the identical manner you’ll be able to proceed the hike on the highest of Desk Mountain heading in direction of the Higher Cable Automobile station. From there you’ll be able to go down with the cable automobile or climb down following a distinct route.
The place does Skeleton Gorge begin?
The path begins contained in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Backyard on the foot of the mountain vary. From the doorway head proper you’ll see a signpost indicating the route to Skeleton Gorge.
The place does the hike finish?
The Skeleton Gorge hike ends at Hely Hutchinson Reservoir on the highest of Desk Mountain. To get down you’ll be able to stroll the identical route or stroll to the opposite facet of the mountain and take the cable automobile down.
To get to the Higher Cable Automobile station you’ll must stroll one other 5 km on the highest of Desk Mountain. The full distance of the hike is 8,5 km: 3,5 km from Kirstenbosch to the highest and 5 km from Hely Hutchinson Reservoir to the Higher Cable Automobile station. The full elevation achieve of this route is 1000 m. The stroll on the highest just isn’t flat and simple you go up and down so much. It takes round Four hours to stroll from Kirstenbosch to the Higher Cable Automobile station.
The right way to get to the trailhead?
Driving is the best manner of getting from Cape City to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Backyard the place the Skeleton Gorge hike begins. There’s a massive free car parking zone on the entrance to the backyard the place you’ll be able to safely park your automobile. You possibly can lease a automobile on the airport on arrival and drop it off whenever you fly out.
Hop-On Hop-Off Bus stops on the entrance to the backyard. It’s the easiest way to discover town and go to Cape City’s high sights for those who don’t need to lease a automobile.
Skeleton Gorge hike problem
All routes to the highest of Desk Mountain are fairly difficult as a result of steep and lengthy ascent. The Skeleton Gorge is a reasonable hike with a steep ascent from the begin to the tip and a few difficult climbs (on the way in which down) over rocks and boulders. It’s appropriate for individuals with older youngsters. Total hikes on Desk Mountain are harder than the Lion’s Head hike. Should you’re an inexperienced hiker it is likely to be higher to stroll the Skeleton Gorge with a information or in a gaggle.
Skeleton Gorge mountaineering path map
What’s the price of the hike?
Should you hike independently then the doorway price to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Backyard is the one value concerned. The price is ZAR210/US$11 for adults and ZAR30/US$1,5 for kids between 6-18 yo. Costs of a guided Skeleton Gorge hike begin from US$60 per individual.
Is the route marked?
Sure. The Skeleton Gorge path is marked with inexperienced signposts indicating the route of the path. It’s a single path that’s fairly self-explanatory you go progressively up on a footpath, picket stairs, ladders, and over boulders.
Do I want a information for mountaineering?
No. Skeleton Gorge might be walked independently. No guides or particular permits are required. For security causes, I’d advocate doing a guided Skeleton Gorge hike for those who’re a solo traveler and/or not an skilled hiker.
Are you able to go down Desk Mountain via Skeleton Gorge?
Sure. You possibly can climb up and down Desk Mountain following the Skeleton Gorge. In reality, for those who drive you’ll must go down the identical solution to get again to your automobile. Should you descend the mountain following a distinct path e.g. Platteklip Gorge or take the cable automobile you’ll must get a taxi or an Uber to get again to your automobile. The Skeleton Gorge is the one route on the Kirstenbosch facet of Desk Mountain.
When is the path open?
In contrast to different Desk Mountain mountaineering trails (which you could stroll at any time) the Skeleton Gorge route might be accessed solely through the working hours of the Kirstenbosch Botanical Backyard. The backyard is open each day; from September to March from 8am to 7pm and from April to August from 8am to 6pm.
When is one of the best time for mountaineering?
Spring-summer months from October to April are one of the best time for mountaineering the Skeleton Gorge. When there may be not a lot rain, days are longer, and there are extra individuals on the path. Beginning within the morning is extremely really helpful to have sufficient time to finish the hike and descend earlier than it will get darkish. It’s particularly vital for those who’re planning to spend a while mountaineering on the highest of Desk Mountain.
Warmth just isn’t an enormous drawback right here like on the opposite trails. The numerous a part of the hike is thru the luxurious forest which suggests you get loads of shade. On the highest, it’ll be scorching within the afternoon however on the way in which up and down you’re protected against the direct solar.
Mountaineering the Skeleton Gorge throughout winter months at all times be sure you gained’t get rain. The path will get slippery when moist. Total it’s disagreeable to hike within the pouring rain. Apart from, you’ll possible get no views as the highest of Desk Mountain can be coated in mist.
What’s the surroundings like?
Surroundings clever the Skeleton Gorge is our favourite path to the highest of Desk Mountain and one of many favourite mountaineering trails in Cape City. The hike begins within the spectacular lush inexperienced forest, a ravine with boulders, small creeks, and falls. The path finally ends up about 5 km at Hely Hutchinson Reservoir, a water physique with a pleasant white-sand seaside. You possibly can go for a refreshing swim or have a picnic on the seaside earlier than beginning the descent.
Town views from the path usually are not as spectacular as on the India Venster hike however are nonetheless fairly spectacular. From the highest, you’ll be able to see Cape Flats, False Bay, Muizenberg, Strand, Gordons Bay, Rooi Els, Hout Bay (for those who stroll in direction of Maclear’s Beacon), and so on. Many of those locations you’ll be able to go to as a day journey from Cape City.
Skeleton Gorge route description
The primary 700 m via the Kirstenbosch Botanical Backyard are fairly flat and simple. When you get to the forest you begin the ascent. First, you go up following many picket stairs for about 1 km. Then you definately begin climbing the gorge over rocks and boulders. The final 900 m are on a slope of the mountain out of the forest on a footpath with a gentle ascent.
For strolling down you’ll be able to observe precisely the identical route or take another route across the Kirstenbosch Botanical Backyard. At about 5,5 km on the break up, you’ll be able to observe the Contour Path that can lead you to the Irrigation Dam. From there you’ll be able to stroll via the backyard to the exit.
What to pack for the hike?
- Carrying sufficient water is crucial. I’d advocate 2l of water per individual.
- Snug footwear.
- Small day pack.
- A cap.
- Snug sports activities garments.
- Be sure your cellphone works and it is possible for you to to make a name in an emergency case. Shopping for an eSIM card for South Africa is likely to be a good suggestion for those who’re planning to spend a while within the nation.
Please observe and like us:
The beautiful half of Stingy Nomads, answerable for all our land adventures (mountaineering, climbing, strolling the Camino) and following them write-ups. Alya loves strolling since she was a toddler, she prefers to stroll 1000 km with a backpack relatively than to do a 10 000 km highway journey (really any highway journey). Alya is an enormous fan of Latin America, the Spanish language, and dancing. Each time we go away she desperately misses our canine Chile.