Hiking up the Twelve Apostles to Table Mountain, Cape Town

Hiking up the Twelve Apostles to Table Mountain

After the incredible India Venster hike a few weeks ago, I signed up for another Table Mountain hike – this one called the “Twelve Apostles Hike“.

This hike originates in Camp Bay and follows the Kasteelspoort trail up and through a gorge to the Twelve Apostles. From there it follows the ‘spine’ of the Twelve Apostles, through some gorges and valleys, to the top of Table Mountain.

This points highlights some of the things and views you’ll see along the way.

I booked the hike through the same company that I booked last time: Hike Table Mountain. They’re great. But unlike the India Venster hike, you don’t need a guide on this one – follow the instructions in this post and you can easily do it on your own.

sunrise views over camps bay.

Who and Why you should do this hike:  This is an easy hike. Technically you don’t have to worry about rungs or chains (you have a couple of easy ladders to climb). You also don’t have to be super fit, it’s in no way as strenuous a hike as some of the other hikes up Table Mountain. You should do this hike because it is a very different perspective then hikes starting on the city bowl side.

The starting point is the Camps Bay Pipe Track (sign below). Tell your taxi driver to bring you there. Once there it’s easy…just follow the trail up. You’ll soon be looking back at beautiful views of Camps Bay with Lion’s Head on the right.

Pipe track Trail, camps bay, Cape Town


If you start out early, one of the advantages of this hike is that you’ll spend the most strenuous parts of it hiking in the shadows, the sun blocked out by the Twelve Apostles.

views over camps bay and lions head


Within the first 20 minutes of starting out, you’ll arrive at a juncture of trails. Continue straight up along “Kasteelspoort”.

kasteelspoort trail, twelve apostles, cape town


Below: Our guide was wonderful Hendre. Always telling stories and laughing, she seems to love what she does. By the craziest of coincidences, she is also our neighbor in Cape Town, with only one house between hers and ours.

kastelspoort trail, cape town

sunrise views over 12 apostles, cape town


Below: The flora in the Cape Area is the most colourful I’ve seen anywhere. Have a look at some of the flowers in this post. 

flowers, kasteelspoort, cape town

kasteelspoort trail, twelve apostles, cape town, SA

views of sunrise, twelve apostles, cape town


It will take about 45 minutes to get to this ledge, called the “Breakfast Table”.

breakfast table, kasteelspoort trail, Cape Town.

The next part brings you, through a gorge, up to the ‘backend’ of Table Mountain. There are some water reservoirs here that even to this day feed water by pipe down to the city below. You’ll also see ruins of Cape Town’s first cable car (built on this side of the mountain) as well as remnants of an old railway  – both were built in the 1890’s to bring up material supplies for the construction of the reservoirs.

hiking table mountain, kasteelspoort trail

kasteelsport trail, table mountain national park, cape town.

From here the hike continues through the valleys and ridges along the spine of the Twelve Apostles. You’ll have great views the whole way: down the peninsula, across towards Muizenberg, at some points staring right down at Camps Bay. You’ll also see lots of colourful plant life.

hiking spine of twelve apostles, cape town

views, kasteelsport trail, cape town

flowers, table mountain national park, cape town

sign, table mountain national park

flowers, table mountain national park

Below: there are a couple of easy ladders on this route. That’s as hard as it gets.

ladder, hiking table mountain

water reservoir, table mountain, cape town

Below: In the last quarter of the hike you literally walk along the edge of the cliffs, looking down below at the views of the Atlantic.

twelve apostles trail, table mountain national park

views of camps bay, cape town

twelve apostles trail, table mountain national park, cape town


It took us 3 ½ hours to complete the hike up to the Cable Car station on Table Mountain. From there we walked around the top, enjoying the fantastic views, before taking the Cable Car down.

views of the peninsula from table mountain, cape town

views of city bowl from table mountain, cape town

views of cable car, table mountain, cape town

cable car lines, cape town, south africa

views of cape town, looking down from cable car table mountain


Would I recommend this hike? Yes, the same great views as other hikes – but easy for those who don’t like the ‘extreme’ in their adventure.

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  1. Looks like a beautiful hike! The views are gorgeous!
    Travel with Kevin and Ruth recently posted…Great views from the highest freestanding piece of rock in the world!My Profile

  2. Beautiful pics as always and this hike looks amazing!
    Elizabeth Hampton recently posted…San Pedro de Atacama, ChileMy Profile

  3. Wow! Wow! Wow! Those views are incredible. 3 1/2 hours isn’t too bad. Did you consider riding up the cable car and hiking down? When we were walking/hiking the Camino de Santiago, it was my daily quandary – which was the lessor of two evils? The uphills or the downhills? 😉
    Patti recently posted…The Biltmore House ~My Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      I actually prefer uphill to downhill, I find when going downhill you always have to keep an eye on the ground to keep yourself from falling. Also, the challenge is usually climbing UP a mountain, not DOWN it 🙂

  4. I would totally cheat and go on one of those helicopter rides :-). Views..schmiews!!! As lovely as the views are, l would take the cable car up and take it back down..haha!!! You are one crazy dude 🙂 ;-).
    Kemkem recently posted…Los Angeles – 5 must visits places in the city of Angels.My Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      I don’t get it…you’re just like Lissette, no interest in views. And I just can’t understand that because I love climbing and looking down on a city…just as I love views from a plane.
      But still, you’d go on a helicopter ride? So that’s not a lack of interest in views, it’s just laziness, right? 🙂

  5. Great views. Damn your life looks good!

  6. what a stunning location! That gondola looks terrifying. we have a natural attraction called ‘The Twelve Apostles’ here in Victoria, although i think we are now down to 9 or 10…
    Andrew recently posted…Wednesday Review – Emirates A380My Profile

  7. What a wonderful hike! It would probably take me a lot longer than 3.5 hours, stopping to admire the views and take too many pictures all along the way. I like that you don’t have to think about hiking back down…
    Rebecca recently posted…Hiking in Sedona in NovemberMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      No hiking down – UNLESS the winds are high (which happens frequently). Then you have to hike down, usually by Platteklip gorge which is the easiest route (about 2 hrs) 🙁

  8. Dee (Dee's Butterfly Garden) says:

    Wow, the photos are so beautiful! This would be a hike I would do, the hooks and ladders aren’t for me, but I like something easier with terrific views like this. Great post!!

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      You’d love it Dee, especially as a lover of gardens and butterflies. I heard that there are more varieties of plants in this part of the Western Cape than anywhere else in the world. So many beautiful, colourful flowers that the photos don’t give justice to.

  9. Such a lovely hike, stunning vistas and your narrative and photos made me feel like I was doing the hike with you. It does sound a lot easier than the other hike you did, but equally beautiful. The ladders did not look too daunting. You must be feeling quite fit now with all these hiking up mountains? I have such a sedentary life that although I love hiking I do find myself huffing and puffing all the way.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks Gilda, I hope this post would convince some people that it is totally manageable and worth doing. And if you love hiking as you do you’d find this easy. Views are fantastic and I don’t even think the photos give it enough credit.

  10. This looks like a fabulous hike! The hubby and I are headed to Cape Town in September and are looking to hike a couple different Table Mountain routes while we are there. We are planning to do India Venster with HikeTableMountain, but are considering doing the 12 Apostles route on our own. Do you think this route would be safe for two people to do? Were there others hiking on the trail or is it fairly remote? We’ve heard from some that it is not wise to hike without a guide or in a group smaller than 4. Would be interested to hear your thoughts on this. Also from looking at google maps it appears that the start is at the junction of Tafelberg Road and Kloof Nek. Is this correct?

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Hi Marissa,
      You’ll have a great time, I wish I was back there.
      No problem doing the 12 Apostles hike on your own, it’s very easy.
      To get to the starting point, google “Kasteelspoort”. It’s actually further south of Camps Bay and the starting point of the trail starts off Theresa Avenue. You can also tell him “Camps Bay Pipe Track” and he should know what you are talking about. But using both these things you can find the exact location of the starting point of the trail with a google map search.
      Glad you’re also doing India Venster, please tell Riian I said hi. It’s a SPECTACULAR hike but has a few scary moments.
      Frank (bbqboy) recently posted…The Friendly Faces of Japan (and some pets)My Profile

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