Closest Town: Cape Town
Grading: Moderate riding, although the climbs are difficult and will test you | Duration: 2 - 4 Hours
Location (Area/Province): Peninsula and Winelands and Western Cape
Configuration: Various circular or return options; 16-34km
Start Point: Chelmsford Road, Vredehoek
Access: Get yourself an annual My Activity Permit Level 3
Beware of: Loose rocks and resulting broken collar bones. Muggings have been reported in the area, so it is preferable to ride in a group and during daylight hours.
Facilities: None, but you're on the edge of the city
Premium and Curated Trails Only
A network of gnarly gravel roads traverse the steep slopes of Table Mountain, connecting to the Tafelberg Contour Road at various points. Surface is reasonable hard-pack, but loose gravel, ruts and rocks are bound to rear their ugly heads every so often. Deer Park and Tafelberg Road are the most obvious trailheads.
On Your Bike:
Chelmsford Road is a central start to the route though and allows you to crank into the uphill first. From Chelmsford Road in Vredehoek, turn left to follow a contour road running above Philip Kgosana Drive. Keep left at 1.9 km and again at 2.8 km to climb along rocky gravel roads towards King’s Blockhouse overlooking Cape Town (4 km).
Below the Kings Blockhouse, a road bears right towards Tafelberg Road, ascending steeply towards two metal gates just before you reach the tarmac (6 km). Instead of going right at this split towards Tafelberg Road, you can carry straight up towards the Kings Blockhouse. Ascending toward the King’s Blockhouse, about 150m after the Tafelberg Road split, there is a wooden bridge on the left that leads onto a steep and pretty technical downhill section used on the 2015 Cape Epic prologue. This bottoms out at the top of Plum Pudding Hill. You can either take the descent right, which has jeep track and some contoured single track that will lead you down to the entrance to Rhodes Memorial. Or go left and the jeep track descent takes you to a split where left is a climb that takes you back to the Queen’s Blockhouse or bear right and climb up toward Rhodes Memorial.
If you had taken the Tafelberg Road split and gone through the metal gates and onto the tarred road, you’re into an easy cruise past the cable car station (11 km) before turning right onto the gravel tracks through a metal boom (11.8 km). Drop sharply and then keep right where the gravel track splits into three (12.9 km) onto a steep climb towards the cable station. Then it’s all the way downhill to Platteklip stream, where you cross a concrete causeway (15.1 km) before looping around to Deer Park. Keep right, climbing through a pine forest to a T-junction where you turn left (17.2 km) onto a level section and into the home stretch. A very loose downhill bangs you across a second stream (dry in summer) to the quarries (18.6 km), now on your right, just above Chelmsford Road.
A single track goes up on the left of the steep tarred road from the entrance to Rhodes Memorial. Enter it at the cattle-grid gate and you can follow it all the way to the top of Plum Pudding Hill (last third is jeep track and pretty steep.
You could also add some distance to your crank by heading to Rhodes Memorial from Queen’s Blockhouse. Drop down and keep to your right until you’re above the game fence area, and then climb sharply towards the contour road above the Memorial. You can bomb this up to just before Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens to bump up your distance by a good dozen kilometres or so. Strict access rules apply to Kirstenbosch, so do not try to sneak onto the trails into the gardens themselves.
Off your bike
You’re in the heart of Cape Town, ranked tops among the World’s Best Cities. Stunning shops, restaurants, beaches, museums and historical monuments abound.
Best Time of Year:
Table Mountain’s slopes are an excellent riding destination throughout the year, but if you don’t like the heat you should avoid midday rides during sommer months.
Telephone: +27 21 712 7471
GPS: start S 33º56’24.03” / E 18º25’56.51”