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Platteklip Gorge Hike Guide (Everything You Need to Know)

Flynn Webber
Nov 24, 2023
A view down Platteklip Gorge from 3/4 of the way up. Sunny day.
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Platteklip Gorge is the most popular hiking route up the face of Table Mountain, and probably the second most popular hiking route in Cape Town. 

Here are some stats you might want to know:

Difficulty: 4.5/5

Length: 1.9km to the top

Gradient: 35%

Meters of Ascent: 675m from Tafelberg Road

Time Estimate: +-1hr for a fit trail runner. +-2hrs for an intermediate hiker. Times from bottom (Tafelberg Road) to the top.

Starting Point:

Getting Down: Cable Car, or hike back down.

The Platteklip Gorge Route

The Platteklip Gorge hike route starts from Tafelberg Road, which is a tarred road, and ascends the front face of Table Mountain up a gorge. At the top of Platteklip Gorge, you'll be on the top of Table Mountain.

The Platteklip Gorge route from Tafelberg to the top of Table Mountain.

The hike is made up of two sections. The first section goes from Tafelberg road up until the Contour Path. The second section goes from the Contour path to the top of the Mountain.

The first section is about 1/5 of the way up the mountain.

A view of the Platteklip Gorge hike from Tafelberg Road.
This is the view up the Platteklip "gorge". You can't see the top which is covered in cloud. Photo taken from Tafelberg road, having driven passed the start of the hike.

The first section is mostly straight up the mountain, and less steep than the second section. You will cross over the stream that comes down the mountain.

Once you hit the contour path (which tracks across the face of Table Mountain, perpendicular to the Platteklip Gorge trail), you will start going up some steeper sections. After that, the switchbacks start, and you zig-zag your way up.

If you're hiking in Summer, you will likely start getting a bit of a breeze coming down the Gorge when you get nearer the top. If you're in Autumn, Spring or Winter, you might start getting into the cloud.

Remember to pack warm clothes. Conditions on the top of Table Mountain can switch on a dime, and the wind can pick up. Just because it is sunny at the bottom, it doesn't mean it will be warm at the top.

At this stage, you're about 3/4 of the way up Platteklip Gorge. Here, I am looking back down the mountain towards Tafelberg Road which you can see snaking off into the distance.

Once you make it to the top, you have a few options.

The most popular is to take a right and walk up onto the famous "table top". You will head on cemented paths towards the Cable Car building. This will be a busy area in Summer. You can then take the cable car back down.

Another beautiful route is to turn left at the top, and head on the "front route" which traverses the flat table top towards Maclear's Beacon. The path in some places is right on the edge of the cliff. Again, not for you if you are afraid of heights. If you go this way, you can complete a loop of Maclear's Beacon and end up back at the top of the Gorge and then head down via there, or via the cable car.

A view of the Cape Town city bowl from the top of the Front Face of Table Mountain
The view from the front face of Table Mountain. If you get to the top of Platteklip, turn left and follow the front-face route you will be spoiled for views of the city bowl.


Warning: This is not a hike for beginners. There are slippery rocks and steep sections. If you are not confident of making it to the top, rather choose a easier route. You can see the "type" of trail you will be on in the picture below.

I have personally seen the rescue helicopter rescuing at least 5 people who underestimate this hike.

Unfortunately, Cape Town is not a perfectly safe place to visit. The sad reality is that there are security risks associated with using the mountain. Most incidents happen during the very early or very late hours of the day when the trails are quiet. It's always recommended that you hike with friends, and during daylight hours when they trails are more popular.

I've personally never heard of any incidents on Platteklip Gorge itself, but it is always best to remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions.

Emergencies on Platteklip Gorge

If you happen to have an emergency, SAN Parks has an emergency hotline which you can contact and arrange an emergency. There are emergency rescue services available both on foot and by helicopter who can assist injured hikers with making their way down the mountain as safely as possible.

Platteklip Gorge Tips

  • The weather at the top of the mountain can be completely different from the bottom, and it changes very quickly. You should absolutely take extra layers of clothing and if possible a water-proof jacket. You can never be too careful.
  • You can catch the cable car back down to the bottom. You will have to pay for a ticket though.
  • There are many different ways down from the mountain when you get to the top of Platteklip. It is "the gateway" to the Table Mountain mountain range.
  • Depending on the time of year you go, there might be water available to drink from on the top of the mountain (from streams - at your own risk). Don't count on that though. Take enough water for 3+ hours in case you get caught at the top.
  • If you hear a siren sounding, it means that the Cable Car is doing its last lifts for the day. You will have a bit of time (usually about 15-20 minutes) to get there before the last lift down. Usually this happens if it starts to get too windy to operate the Cable Car safely, or if it gets late in the evening.
  • In summer, Cape Town has a wind called the South Easter which blows strongly most afternoons. For best hiking conditions, go in the morning.
  • If you plan to drive there, there is parking available, but be sure to not leave any valuables visible in your car, especially if you arrive or leave in the dark.

Questions about the Platteklip Gorge Hike

How long is the Platteklip Gorge Hike?

The Platteklip Gorge Hike is 1.9km in distance, with 651 meters of vertical ascent, with an average gradient of 35%. It will take the average person roughly 2 hours to hike from top to bottom.

How long does it take to walk up Platteklip Gorge?

It will take the average person roughly 2 hours to hike from top to bottom of Platteklip Gorge.

How do you get to Platteklip Gorge?

The start of the Platteklip Gorge hike is accessible by Tafelberg Road, which runs past the Cable Car. Here is a link to the start of the hike. There is parking available.

Where does the name "Platteklip" come from?

"Platteklip" means "Flat Rock" in Afrikaans, a local South African language. The direct translation is therefore Flat Rock Gorge, eluding to Table Mountan as the Flat Rock.