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Chapman's Peak Hiking Trail

Thursday, 01 September 2016 10:55

September in the Southern Hemisphere heralds spring time.  It is a gorgeous time of year in Cape Town and with the spring blossoms and warmer days, it's a great time to get fit for summer and enjoy the natural spectacle that is Cape Town.

We recommend taking a hike, and getting out there and what better place to hike, than Chapman's Peak itself. It is a moderate hike that should take an easy 3 hours including a picnic and photo stop at the summit. Obviously timings depend on your fitness levels and the number and duration of your rest stops or photo stops on the way up or down! This hike is suitable for children.

About Chapman's Peak

This is the mountain peak around which the famous scenic road, Chapman's Peak Drive is built. It was named after a certain John Chapman, a British sailor sent ashore to check for fresh water in what is now Hout Bay.

Getting there from the Hout Bay Side

Drive through Hout Bay and onto Chapman's Peak Drive  Park your car at the last checkpoint before the main viewpoint. (Note: Day Pass is applicable from the Hout Bay Side See Fixed Hours For Chappies Day Pass)

It is a large parking area, and the path to the peak is in the lower end of the parking area. You will see a green SANParks signpost at the start.

Chapman's Peak Hike

The path leads steeply uphill for about half an hour- following the left side of the stream bed before crossing to the right-hand bank to climb the ravine via a series of rock steps. It's a well maintained path and leads you to a plateau and cross roads with the route to Noordhoek.  

Turn right at this junction and follow the path as it winds itself around the lower peak.  It's a gorgeous section filled with proteas and a gentler gradient than the start of the hike, providing some welcome respite from the ascent.  There are stunning views of Hout Bay from here.  This section should also take about 30 minutes, and then you reach the saddle that separates the lower and main Chapman Peak. 

The final scramble to the top, should take another 20 -30 minutes. It's fairly steep with a short rock scramble near the top.  (Note that it is easier to go left just before the top and approach the beacon from the SE side). 

At the top there are plenty of large flat areas to rest and enjoy the views - through to Fish Hoek and across the entire Noordhoek Valley in addition to the Hout Bay views. The downhill route is generally faster, descending by the same route.


This is one of the most rewarding hikes in the Cape Peninsula with outstanding views, beautiful fynbos and the sound of the adjacent surf and horizons to hang your dreams onto.  The summit has magnificent 360° views to experience the Peninsula in all its glory!  Look out for the proteas and ericas and indigenous trees. There are usually lizards and if you are lucky you may spot a black eagle or a fish eagle.

Note  Since the great fire of March 2015, there is a regeneration of plant species

Height  593 metres but elevation gain is about 450m

Distance Just over 5km for the return journey.

Cost Free (with a Day Pass or R42 for a light motor vehicle on Chapman's Peak toll road)

Best time to go

All year round,  but we particularly like spring! We also prefer the afternoon hike, it's not too hot and the shadows and sunset are spectacular in the late afternoon light.  There is plenty of time to get down before dark. Please note the day pass hours if you are using the Day Pass from the Hout Bay side.

What to take

  • Sunglasses & hat & sunscreen
  • Good walking shoes
  • A warm top, in the event of sudden weather change
  • Refreshments and water or a picnic. (please take your litter with you)
  • Camera
  • Binoculars

Our conclusion   A maximum reward hike.

10 Rules of Mountain Safety:  (Rules & information supplied courtesy of Table Mountain National Park)

  • Don’t hike alone; four is the ideal number.
  • Choose your route carefully and stick to it. Allow yourself enough time - start early. Inform someone of your route and what time you’re expected back.
  • Choose a hike leader and walk at the pace of the slowest member.
  • If lost - don’t split up. Rather try to retrace your steps. Remember that climbing down is more difficult than climbing up.
  • Always take waterproof clothing, even in mid-summer, and wear walking shoes or hiking boots. Wear a hat or cap and sun block in summer. Weather changes rapidly.
  • If lost or forced to stop because of bad weather, stay together and remain in one place. Find the closest shelter from wind and rain.
  • In case of injury, take time to assess the situation. Then send two people for help and let the third remain with the injured person. If possible, mark the position on a map and send it with those going for help.
  • Stick to well-used paths, which will be indicated on the Park's hiking map and read the warnings on this map. Don’t take shortcuts and especially don’t wander into ravines.
  • Always take enough water, especially in summer, and food in case of a delay. Watch the weather and time, and turn back before you start running late or if bad weather threatens.
  • Take a fully-charged cellphone. Some parts of the Park do not have cell phone reception, but you will always be able to reach a place where you can use a cell phone more quickly than you’ll get to a landline.

Three Rules for Personal Security

  • As Table Mountain is an urban park, please exercise the same common sense and security precautions that you would anywhere else in the world.
  • Do not attract unwanted attention by openly displaying cash, cameras or other valuables.
  • If you are confronted by a criminal, don't resist. Handover your goods as resistance might incite a mugger to violence.
  • Program emergency numbers in your cellphone before your hike.

Emergency Numbers

  • Main emergency number: 086 110 6417
  • Emergency SAPS (South African Police Service): 10111 (02110111 on cell)
  • Emergency CT Emergency Services: (021) 480 7700
  • Emergency CT Central OPS Centre: (021) 467 8002

All of these call centres are primed to respond to incidents on TMNP and investigate suspicious activities.

Chapman’s Peak Drive Toll Plaza Office Hours:

The Toll Plaza is open Monday - Friday from 08h00 - 16h30 for registration as a Frequent User.
Address: Toll Plaza, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Hout Bay, Cape Town
Plaza Tel: 021 791 8220