Posted on August 6th, 2020
The Tranquility Cracks is one of Cape Town’s most elusive hiking spots. It’s one of those trails that many have heard about, many have tried to find and many have missed the turnoff for. At this stage my list of hikes done in Cape Town is starting to exceed those still to try. So this more secret spot has crept to the top of my list.
Last weekend, Luke and I had the privilege of being shown the route by our friends Olivia and Matt. We thoroughly enjoyed it and I feel I managed to take in the trail sufficiently to compose a guide for everyone else who wants to explore this fantastic trail.
The route takes you to the end of the pipe track, along the foothills of most of the 12 Apostles, up Corridor Ravine, through the maze of caves that is the Tranquility Cracks, and then down Kasteelspoort. The Tranquility Cracks are a maze of hidden caves and a mossy yellow wood forest concealed within secret cracks. Concealed from the outside world, you really feel like you’re stepping into serenity and tranquility when you enter the Tranquility Cracks.
Tranquility Cracks Hike
Start Location: Parking at the top of Theresa Avenue, Camps Bay.
Duration: +/- 4.5 hrs
Difficulty: Moderate- Difficult. Path is easy to follow with some trickier steep sections. Hikers should have a good level of fitness before attempting this hike as it is fairly long.
Conservation fee: None
Park at the top of Theresa Avenue. You will see a boom which leads onto a gravel jeep track. Hike along the wide jeep track following this all the way along. The path will take you around the bulges of many of the 12 Apostles. Don’t turn off this main track. Once you get to this stone building you’ll know you are still on the right track.
Then the path gets narrower and you’ll walk along a stone clad path that follows a black pipe. You’ll go up a few steps and do some zigzagging before passing a sign to Woody Ravine and then a sign that indicates a dangerous ascent. Keep walking past both these signs, staying on the narrow path.
You’ll then enter a forest area where the path becomes more sandy. Keep going up here sticking towards the left side when the path becomes less clear.
You’ll eventually pop out at a big overhanging cave rock and then walk into a clearing where you’ll come out of the forest and have a lovely view of Camps Bay and Lion’s Head.
You’ll then circumnavigate the final Apostle base before beginning the ascent up Corridor Ravine. This section is fairly steep but doesn’t last long and nothing you won’t be able to do without a few panting breaks.
Once you have reached the top you’ll see a cairn directly in front of you. Take the immediate left onto the Apostles path and follow this path which will take you in the direction of the Tranquility Cracks.
After walking for about 5-10 minutes you’ll see a path to your left. It is not super obvious so keep an eye out for it. This is what it looks like:
If you start seeing the top of Lion’s Head then you’ve gone too far and you need to turn back.
Turn left onto this path and from here you’re basically walking to the rocky hill in front of you. There are so many different ways to get inside the cracks and you can go plenty of times and still not enter the same way. So my directions here aren’t going to be too specific. But basically just follow this path taking a right just before you get to the rocky hill. There should be a crack that you can walk through. If, like us, you don’t see the right path you’ll end up on top of the rocky hill. Then just back track a little a try find a way into the cracks.
Instead the Tranquility Cracks there is a maze of caves and a peaceful yellow wood forest. We did our hike in winter so didn’t need to escape from the heat of the sun, but I can imagine that during summer the cool of the rocks and trees would be a welcome relief from the blazing sun!
After exploring the Tranquility Cracks you can pop out on the other side for a spot of sunshine, views of all the 12 Apostles and Lion’s Head, and a mid morning snack or cuppa tea.
When you’re ready to head on you can make your way back through the cracks, walk back along the same path until you get back to the Apostles path. You’ll turn left here onto the Apostles path and continue along this path back in the direction of Camps Bay. You’ll walk all the way along the undulating Apostles path until you get to Kasteelspoort.
You’ll pass gorgeous views of the dramatic gorges between the 12 Apostles.
After walking for about 30 mins you’ll get to a stone pillar with a map of the mountain on it. Take the left turn here to the old cable station to go check out the iconic diving board rock.
The location of the old cable station makes for the most incredible view of a dramatic rock jutting out from the mountain against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. It looks like a natural diving board into the sea below. While I definitely don’t recommend trying to make the dive, you are perfectly safe going to stand on it to pose for a picture. If you’ve brave (or crazy) like Luke then you can go right to the edge and sit in the hollowed out spot right at the end that is perfect as a chair. I personally wouldn’t venture that close to the edge but if living on the edge is your thing, go for it.
After you’ve done it for the ‘gram, you can make your way back along this path back to the stone pillar map and take the left turn to go down Kasteelspoort. Kasteelspoort is a pretty steep descent with some big steps down, so be mindful as you walk down.
The hike down won’t take you very long but you will probably have the wobbles when you reach the bottom. You’ll arrive at the bottom of Kasteelspoort which is a 4 way intersection with the Pipe Track. Keep straight here down a short narrow path until you reach the jeep track again. Here you’ll just carry on all the way down the jeep track to the start at Theresa Avenue.
Tranquility Cracks is an exciting new adventure on Table Mountain and an awesome option if you’re looking for something a little different and new. You’ll be treated to incredible views, beautiful fynbos and a good workout.
For more exciting and adventurous hikes in and around Cape Town why not check out my recent posts on Cecilia Waterfall, Kloof Corner, Devil’s Peak, Judas Peak, Panorama hike in Jonkershoek or my post on the Top 10 Hikes in Cape Town.