Hiking Cape Town’s Twelve Apostles Mountain Chain

Approaching Cape Town by cruise ship past Robben Island, the first sight is a massive, flat-topped mountain that bestrides Table Bay like a giant colossus.

Twelve Apostles
Cape Town Harbour: Photo Ian Barbour / CC 2.0

Hiking the 12 Apostles Cape Town

Few visitors accept the challenge to climb it. If they do, they discover they are standing on a mere 7% of a 70 kilometre-long mountainous peninsula called the 12 Apostles stretching out beyond it into the distance.

The flat top mountain descends behind it to a wonderland of open reservoirs built as the city expanded. This is a paradise few residents of Cape Town know, and the preserve of those who come to commune in nature. This part of the Cape Fynbos wilderness belongs to dassies, small buck, a myriad of birds and small mammals, and giant eagles wheeling overhead on thermals.

Twelve Apostles
Silvermine Reservoir: Photo FlowComm / CC 2.0

Reservoir on the Back Table

On the far side of a small mountain pass, the landscape becomes a mountainous chain of twelve small peaks before it descends to Cape Point Reserve seventy kilometres away where some say the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. On the shoreline on either side of the narrow peninsula are golden sands and rocky shores. Alone above these on one of the 12 Apostles Cape Town, nothing seems to matter except for birdcalls singing on a gentle breeze.

12 Apostles Cape Town
View Towards Cape Point: Brian Ralphs / CC 2.0

View Towards Cape Point from 12 Apostles

The seaside village of Scarborough with misty cliffs makes a convenient stopover for the night, in a variety of accommodation choices to suit all tastes. It is also an opportunity to leave boots and packs behind, and hobnob with locals over beer in authentic South African pubs. The Galjoen fish they catch on lines offshore from tiny wooden boats are perfect for an ocean barbeque.

12 Apostles Cape Town: Lady Monique
Lady Monique: Photo Damien du Toit / CC 2.0

Cape Point Nature Reserve

A few hours south of Scarborough the next morning, the mountainside descends to Cape Point Nature Reserve. Here, rusting shipwrecks compete for attention with a lighthouse perched impossibly above crashing waves. Your hike is over, you have come home to nature. You have hiked the 12 Apostles Cape Town mountain chain.

Twelve Apostles
Lighthouse at Cape Point: Meraj Chhaya / CC 2.0

About Richard Farrell

Richard FarrellI tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time.My base is Umtentweni in South Africa on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast (30.7167° S, 30.4667° E). I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned.

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One Response

  1. Cape Town Secret Hidden Beaches You May Never See | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] the sun and sliding down again. Its only near neighbours are beach shacks. Look up, and you see the Twelve Apostles mountain chain standing sentinel. There are great hikes up there I must tell you […]


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