Chapman’s Peak is situated south west of Cape Town, overlooking the Fishing Town of Hout Bay and has arguably one of the most beautiful Cliffside drives in the world.
The drive links Hout Bay and Noordhoek Farming Village, the gateway to the “deep south” of the Cape Peninsula. From Houtbay, wind your way up past the Old Dutch fort built for defence against British invaders at the end of the 1700’s. The bay below glistens in the sunshine with the steep cliffs of Sentinel Peak, in the distance, guarding quietly.
The road itself has been closed a number of times due to rock falls off the brittle sedimentary stone cliffs. In more recent years the cliffs have been reinforced with concrete and steel netting to catch falling rocks. It took a team of engineers from Europe to fortify the cliffs for our safety and sightseeing pleasure.
The hike to Chapmans Peak starts only a kilometre from the toll gate in Hout Bay. You do not have to pay toll fare if you are going to do the hike and return. Otherwise, you can pay around R45 and enjoy the rest of the drive to Noordhoek, once you have completed the hike. The checkpoint for the cars driving the full length is at the Car Park where the trail starts.
A lot of hikers will venture to other trails once they have completed Table Mountain and Lions Head. This is one of those trails and is relatively easy for semi-fit adventurers. If you want to take in the beauty of these cliffs and their views above the road itself, then “Chappies” is definitely a hike for you.
Quieter than the most popular hikes around Table Mountain and Lions Head, this route lets you get in touch with nature. Enjoy the fauna and flora. This part of the Cape Floral Kingdom is rich in diversity. Proteas, Restios and Ericas are the most common but you can see irises and daisies among many other rare and endemic species.
Catch a glimpse of a southern rock agama bobbing up and down on warm rocks. The Orange-breasted Sunbird showing off his bright colours in the sunshine. This is a special place for those who want a short break from the hustle and bustle of city touring.
Once at the summit, there are many rocky outcrops to rest on. The views from the summit beacon extend from Hout Bay to the pearly white sands of Noordhoek Beach and around to the green Vineyards of Cape Point. Your guide will help get that memorable Instagram shot of you and the turquoise cliff shores below.
A half day adventure is as refreshing as a morning cup of coffee and this is definitely an underrated hike in close proximity to Cape Town centre.