Posted on July 3rd, 2020
Devil’s Peak is this week’s feature hike in my current series on adventurous hikes in and around Cape Town. Devil’s Peak is an iconic part of the City skyline and so definitely needs to be on your Cape Town hiking bucket list. It’s a truly beautiful part of Table Mountain National Park and its slopes boast an abundance of beautiful fynbos. There are two route options for getting to the top of Devil’s Peak. The first is from Tafelberg Road which is the shorter, easier option. The second is up Newland’s Ravine which is much longer and more intense. Both take you to the top of Devil’s Peak, so your decision will be based on your fitness levels, how much time you can afford to spend in the mountains and whether you’d prefer your scenery on the way up to be more about Table Mountain and cityscapes or mystical forests and lush greenery.
Devil’s Peak: Tafelberg Road Ascent
Start Location: The last parking along Tafelberg Road. Drive for about 2.4km from the Cable station. The trail is on the right hand side of the road.
Duration: +/- 3.5 hrs
Difficulty: Moderate. The hike up to the Saddle is easy enough for anyone with a moderate level of fitness. The final stretch up to Devil’s Peak is steep and can be slippery if wet. The path is well marked and it’s easy to know where to go.
Conservation fee: None
At the start of the trail from Tafelberg Road you will follow a zigzag path that snakes up to the Saddle between Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain. There are a few steeper sections but nothing too tough. The path is lined with beautiful bushes and you’ll be treated to views of the city, Lion’s Head and Table Mountain the whole way up. There are a few intersecting paths along the way but just keep following the signs to Devil’s Peak.
Once you’ve reached the plateau of the Saddle you’ll reach an intersection of paths, turn right up a path that follows a running stream. You can refill your water bottles with fresh mountain water here. The Saddle is filled with beautiful ericas, sugar bushes and restios. You’ll then reach another intersection with a sign indicating that the Devil’s Peak summit is to the left. Follow this to begin the steep ascent to Oppelskop Ridge. The path is sandy and so may become slippery when wet. Your glutes will definitely be burning on this climb up but the views from Oppelskop Ridge are so worth it!
After a steep climb you’ll reach a flat section with a rocky outcrop to your left, Oppelskop Ridge. This is not the true summit of Devil’s Peak but a perfect place to stop, catch your breath and admire the view.
The view of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head is just spectacular from here. You’ll be sitting on rocks surrounded by bright pink ‘Sissies’ flowers as you take in the beautiful views.
The final climb to the summit of Devil’s Peak is short and not too difficult. There’s a short 10 minute steep hike before it flattens out and you’ll be walking along a gradual slope to the Devil’s Peak trig beacon. On my first time up to the top of Devil’s Peak I followed this route and had beautiful views on the way up but entered a rainy cloud at the top of Devil’s Peak so didn’t see too much. You’ll go back down the mountain the same way you came up.
In my opinion this ascent is a tangible length and is accessible for people with varying levels of fitness. It’s a great option if you’re keen for some beautiful views without spending the whole day in the mountains.
If, however, you’re looking for a full day of adventuring, you are on the fitter side of things and don’t mind a tough climb then the Newland’s Ravine ascent is the one for you.
Devil’s Peak: Newland’s Ravine Ascent
Start Location: Newland’s Forest parking (the one off the M3, next to the fire station).
Distance: +/- 17km (we got a bit lost so these distances and times are not 100% accurate)
Duration: +/- 7 hrs
Difficulty: Difficult . The hike up Newland’s Ravine is long and steep. The final stretch up to Devil’s Peak is also steep and can be slippery if wet. Finding the start of Newland’s Ravine from Newland’s forest is tricky (we got lost even with a map) but from the start of Newland’s Ravine onwards the path is well marked and it’s easy to know where to go. You will need to be fairly fit to attempt this hike.
Conservation fee: None
Once you’ve parked your car at Newland’s Forest parking you can walk up the tarred road and turn left. Walk along this road for a few minutes until you cross the first bridge. Just after the bridge turn right and follow the path as it goes up and then turn right at the top. You’ll arrive at a waterfall area with a concrete bridge and benches. Turn left up the path going up from here. Follow this path that hugs the river and keep right along the obvious path. This is where things got a bit hazy for us but you’ll need to turn left at some point to head towards the start of Newland’s Ravine. I think it is the second path to the left- but to be sure maybe pop onto Google Maps and type in Newland’s Ravine. Google Maps should tell you where to turn left.
The walk to the start of Newland’s Ravine is beautiful filled with lush greenery, ferns, mosses and toadstools. There are plenty of streams and waterfalls. It’s a truly magical place to breathe in the fresh air.
Once you’re on this path up the mountain you’re good to go and should pop out at the upper contour path. This is characterised by a wooden boardwalk and there’s a round picnic deck. At this point there is a very clear sign to the left indicating the start of Newland’s Ravine. Prepare yourself for a steep and winding climb.
You’ll steadily climb up and out of the forest leaving behind the lush greenery and entering the fynbos of the lower slopes. As you reach the top of Newland’s Ravine you’ll be treated to King Proteas and orange-breasted sunbirds. Looking back Newland’s Ravine perfectly frames the Southern Suburbs.
After reaching the top of Newland’s Ravine you’ll begin your descent into the Saddle. You’ll follow a narrow, muddy path lined with ericas and sugarbushes filled with singing Cape Sugarbirds. You’ll soon reach a stream where you’ll turn left following a sign pointing to Devil’s Peak. Then turn right following the signs. Here you will begin the steep ascent to Oppelskop Ridge.
From here the directions are the same as the Tafelberg ascent. Make the steep trek up to Oppelskop Ridge. Have a rest here before the final summit of Devil’s Peak. On my second summit of Devil’s Peak there was no mist and so I could enjoy the beautiful view of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head.
After enjoying a well-deserved break at the top you’ll go back down the mountain the same way you came up. Make sure you keep an eye on your footing, especially if it’s been raining.
The route via Newland’s Ravine is very long and tough and should only be attempted be experienced hikers with a good level of fitness.
Devil’s Peak offers some spectacular views, a wonderful array of fynbos and a varied hiking experience. This makes it a great adventurous hike to do in Cape Town. If you enjoyed this hike then why not give Judas Peak, or the Jonkershoek Panorama hike a go? Alternatively, check out my blog on the Top 10 Hikes in Cape Town for some easier hikes around the City.