The Cape Camino Route – Overview

Cape Camino currently offers a circular route which is a nearly all-passable route around the peninsula, apart from the Chapman’s Peak stretch where you have to take transport over to Hout Bay. The route crosses over at Constantia Nek and sweeps south and north from there, turning at Cape Point in the south and at the city in the north, then makes its way back to Constantia Nek. The terrain is peri-urban rather than a rural hike, as this is a pilgrimage route, not a hike or a tour, and an opportunity to explore the beautiful Cape Town on foot, while spending quality time by yourself. Despite being peri-urban, the route is mostly off main roads so you really get to experience beautiful nature, while walking just outside the busy city.

You can start your journey anywhere along the route of the Cape Camino, but for simplicity sake, we have divided the route into 7 legs (and some extensions in between)

Colours and Culture: 16km

Green Point to Rhodes Memorial (Guide recommended)

Beach front and into the city. Walk along the coast and then onto the Sea Point promenade. Head round past the famous V&A Waterfront and then into the city. We suggest heading up Bree street to the top of Kloof Nek and onto the next leg. Bree street is filled with small, unique, upcoming businesses.Keep walking along the contour path towards the University of Cape Town or do yourself a favour and go and explore the rich history of the Bokaap, the city center and district 6. There are abundant tours, cooking classes, historical sites, accommodation, food……. and enough to keep you busy for weeks. But if you are sticking to the route follow the contour path south until you come to UCT or Rhodes memorial. The terrain is a forest path above the city.

 

What to see along the route

District 6 museum

The famous area of District 6 was once a booming hub for local South African communities and families. Discover the history behind District 6 and the effects of the Apartheid regime by visiting the District 6 Museum which is also a National Heritage site. Follow this link for more information: http://www.districtsix.co.za

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district six museum cape town

Cape_Town_Bo-Kaap_Mosque_Chiappini_St

Kramats & Mosques

Bo-kaap is filled with 100-year old Kramats and Mosques. The Kramats, in particular, have been positioned as part of a great circle which surrounds and protects Cape Town.

By appointment only contact Paul Searle on info@tipofafricatravel.co.za for wonderful and insightful Bo-kaap tours.

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List of Service Providers (Colours and Culture)

Mountain Shade: 18km

Rhodes Memorial to Constantia

From the cable car at the foot of table mountain walk along the contour path towards the University of Cape Town or Rhodes memorial. The terrain is a forest path above the city heading south and passes over the very beautiful Kirstenbosch Gardens where you can pop in for something to eat and drink or simply rest in the peaceful, natural environment.  For the mountain climbing enthusiast, there are routes up into the gorges that take you on top of Table mountain or alternatively stick with the gentle contour path all the way back to Constantia Nek. For basic navigation – use google maps above.

 

What to see along the route

  1. No matter what time of year you walk, the Mountain Shade leg is always at its best. The beginning of this route shares is path with popular walking trails on the slopes of Table Mountain, which are often the exercise grounds for local Captonians.
  2. The path from Rhodes Memorial takes you up for about an 800m direct incline until you reach the Table Mountain Contour Path. Take as many stops as you like and have your breath taken away each time you turn to face the Southern Suburbs and beyond. The panoramic views are inspiring!
  3. The Contour Path holds wondrous magic and life, all kept in by a canopy of forested trees. It is also quite difficult to navigate if you are not from Cape Town and don’t know your bearings, so we recommend a guide on this leg to show you the way.
  4. You will walk above Newlands Forest, which lies at a natural transition zone between endangered Granite Fynbos and Peninsula Shale Fynbos in an area that also originally supported large indigenous Fynbos.
  5. Look out (and down) for the beautiful, well-kept Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, which was the first botanical garden in the world to be devoted to a country’s indigenous flora. It is also a Nature Reserve and home to many indigenous plants and animals like the Steenbok and Cape Sugarbird.
  6. Waterfalls are abundant on this route and the mountain water is sweet and fresh to taste. Drink as much water from these waterfalls as you can!
  7. Remember Constantia Road is a Main Road so walking single file is imperative. Pop into the different wine farms while making your way down to Schoenstatt, a sacred site which hosts a Catholic Shrine and also marks the beginning of the Wine to Water leg.

List of Service Providers (Mountain Shade)

Wine to Water: 18km

Constantia to Muizenberg

Constantia wines are world class and this leg offers a large number of estates to explore and visit. The route guides you through the wine-lands and pops you out on the north side of the Tokai forest.  The road makes its way past Pollsmoor prison to Westlake and then takes you up onto the magnificent Muizenberg mountains via Boyes Drive. Pilgrims can either continue along Boyes drive into Kalk Bay or cut down via steps into Muizenberg. This coastal suburb is abundant with innovative, small businesses of every nature.

 

 

What to see along the route

  1. So far this has been the most walked route.
  2. It is rich with diverse sacred sites.
  3. The first sacred site is at Schoenstatt shrine, and if you have walked the day before, you are able to spend the night at the Schoenstatt Retreat. The shrine is a peaceful space where pilgrims are invited to light a candle and say a prayer. We often recognise the Camino de Santiago and the catholic church that hosts their route in Spain.
  4. Walking on through the beautiful wine lands, the Kramat of Shaykh Abdurahman Matebe Shah awaits on the Klein Constantia Farm, hidden amongst trees and streams. This is the second sacred site on this leg and Nabeel is the care-taker. He is eager to share his ancient and modern philosophy on Islam and the world. If you have an extra sandwich, do give it to him. He often rejects money, but loves a bite to eat.
  5. The third sacred site is Levis’s garden, which is the ancient living grounds of the Khoisan people. Levi grows a wonderful medicinal and edible garden, which he and his two girls live off. Levi is a practicing Rastafari and works part time as a car guard at the Tokai forest. He is also involved with different nature projects, like the rehabilitation of the endemic Fynbos of Tokai. An appropriate greeting would be a fist pump with the left hand, and to say, “Jah Bless, Brother”
  6. Pollsmoor Prison – take a walk inside the prison and dine at the very reasonable canteen. It’s about R10 for a chicken mayo sarmi and the prisoners will serve you themselves.
  7. Westlake Community – an area that holds many gems. Look out for people wearing Cape Camino t-shirts. These are Cape Camino Friends and will assist you through the community. Also, please support any local project going on inside the community.
  8. The last sacred site is a hidden Karamat at the bottom of Camp Stairs. You will see a piece of the beautiful Muizenberg beach from here. The Wine to Water leg ends here.

 

List of Service Providers (Wine to Water)

Whale’s Tale: 17km

Muizenberg to Simon’s Town

Either make your way back up to Boyes Drive to get expansive views of False Bay, shark spotting and almost pristine fynbos, or stick to the seaside pavement. History abounds in the architecture and local tours.  www.awhaleofaheritageroute.co.za  Kalk Bay harbour still hosts a daily catch which can be enjoyed on the pier. Whales breach and birth in whale season, and dolphins and surfers enjoy the waves. Simonstown has an enormous amount to offer any interested historian or penguin spotter.

 

What to see along the route

There are two options for the Whales Tale route.

  1. Whales Tale 1: Muizenberg to Simon’s Town. A 17km coastal walk, passing through Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Glen Cairn and ending in the navy town of Simon’s Town. This was the original Whales Tale route and offers great opportunity for self exploration, as the terrain remains similar throughout. Navigation is easy and safety is not a problem. Recommended for individual pilgrims, using their Infinity Passport to go about their journey.
  2. Whales Tale 2: Via Peers Cave and end in Sunny Cove / Fish Hoek.
  3. Kalk Bay is alive with interesting, local small businesses, as well as tourists, with many places to eat and drink. This route takes you up, onto Trappieskop pathway through typical Cape Fynbos. Be sure to stock up on water and snacks in Kalk Bay because, apart from the golf course cafe, there are no shops until the end of the route, in Fish Hoek.
  4. Peers Cave is a Khoisan sacred site and usually pilgrims will be accompanied by Khoisan guide, Ishsaqua, who performs a ceremony in the cave. His knowledge is ripe with history of our original people.
  5. Look out for the Cape sugarbird, tortoises, and snakes.

 

List of Service Providers (Whale’s Tale)

Cape Buchu: 25km

Simon’s Town to Scarborough.

Route 1: Simon’s Town to Scarborough.

From Simon’s Town the route becomes peri-urban, sweeping past Cape Point, rich with indigenous flora and fauna. You need to be cautious of the baboon troop who make these mountain reaches their home, but there are usually baboon guards around who will advise that the baboons will only be interested in you if you are eating something. Even food in your bag should be safe, they say. But, its always a good idea to keep a watchful eye.

The roadside is narrow so single file when walking is mandatory. As you round the corner the Atlantic Ocean is visible and on either sides of the road are kilometers of fynbos. And the road widens and there is a safe walking passage.

Route 2: Simon’s Town over Red Hill to Scarborough

You back track on yourself and walk towards Fish Hoek. After 1km turn left up Red Hill road. Follow the road for 10km until you reach Red Hill Community. The route goes through the community, but we insist on getting in touch with the community members before entering.

There are 3 lovely, young people who act as pilgrims friends and will show you the way. They can be reached via Amamda: +27 73 181 9532. Just tell them you are from Cape Camino. We suggest giving a small donation for their efforts.

If you can’t get hold of them, then continue on the tar road until you reach a fork in the road. Take the right fork to Scarborough. Or, take the left and walk for 1km until you reach Shamballah Buddhist Tea Garden. They might not be open, but if they are, pop inside and have a look.

To reach the end of Cape Buchu you would have had to take the left fork at Cape Farmhouse, which will lead you for 4km until you reach the town of Scarborough.

What to see along the route

Noorul Islam Heritage Museum

Rich Islam culture and history fills a sacred space in Amlay House (built in 1858) which is now a heritage museum in Simonstown. The residents of this space were forcefully removed in 1975 under the Apartheid Nationalist government and were the first family to move back in 1995. Spend time in this family-run museum exploring a fascinating, and mostly untold, history, shared by many South Africans. Pilgrims visiting the Noorul Museum must book beforehand by calling Patty on 021782302. Entrance is R10.

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Noorul Islam Heritage Museum

 

shamballah tea house and holistic

shamballah tea house and holistic

Shamballah Tea House and Holistic centre

A place of gathering for like-minded people, Shamballah is one of our favourite Cape Camino stops. Situated on Redhill road on the Indigenous Fynbos Route, the Shamballah sanctuary has an immediate sense of tranquillity as you enter. With clean, open spaces decorated with Buddhist symbols and artworks, this holistic centre offers a resting space for pilgrims; regular yoga retreats, and is available for venue hire of similar events/functions. Contact Ana on +27 83 447 6040 / ana@shamballah.co.za. Or check them out on facebook ‘Shamballah Tea House and Holistic centre’.

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List of Service Providers (Cape Buchu)

Lady Lighthouse: 18km

Scarborough to Noordhoek

Beach Walking

Scarborough to Noordhoek along the coast (18km walking) or take transport over Chapman’s Peak and sleep in Hout Bay.See what kind of terrain you will be walking through on this leg.

Named Lady Lighthouse after the Slangkop Point Lighthouse in Kommetjie, the lighthouse is part of the Marine Protected Area of Table Mountain National Park, and is a 34m-high giant of a lighthouse that has become the icon of Kommetjie.

Scarborough and Kommetjie both have a small-town feeling about them, where everybody knows everybody and people walk to work. You’ll most likely pick up lots of smiles and friendliness on this leg.

After Misty Cliffs (outside Scarborough) you’ll walk along Witsand beach and then through a car park on the other side of the beach, heading along a quiet tar road into Soetwater Resort, a campsite that is usually bustling on the weekends. You’re welcome to walk along the beautiful, calm shoreline.

Explore the rock pools or sit awhile on the campsite grass. Alternatively you can head through the resort making your way to the Lighthouse.

 

After Kommetjie there is only beach walking. Be prepared for possible soft sand and stiff calves on this coastal route. Take your time on the second half of this route, and remember to stock up on resources before you leave Kommetjie. The next town is Noordhoek and you’ll only find a public tap when you reach the car park.

You can decide to stay in Noordhoek or take transport over Chapman’s Peak into Hout Bay.

What to see along the route

TOUCH WOOD in Hout Bay

A living and changing art exhibition occupies the unusual home of ‘Touch Wood’ in Houtbay. The owner, Zan, loves her horses so much that she has made a home for them in her grassy, shaded back garden.

Beside her horses is Zane Muller, a massage therapist, who sets up his peaceful space under the trees where he intensely relieves aches and pains.

Zan regularly holds Buddhist talks and meditations and welcomes pilgrims to visit her interesting, inside-outside living space and family, but please by appointment only.

Likewise, massages can be booked by calling Zane on +27 731 997 382

Lady Lighthouse zan-horse

List of Service Providers (Lady Lighthouse)

Atlantic Heights: 16km

Chapman’s Peak Drive to Constantia New

Info coming soon

Karbonkelberg: 8km

Houtbay

Info coming soon

Atlantic Sunsets: 17km

Hout Bay to Kloof Nek

  1. Hout Bay, like Kalk Bay, is home to a fishing village.
  2. The road leading out of Hout Bay towards Llandudno has a good walking path and this remains true for most of the way.
  3. The sea is wild & exciting and crashing waves and smooth boulders pop up along the way until you arrive in the dense suburbs of Bakoven and Camps Bay.
  4. This is where the route rises up to Kloof Nek, a good steep climb.
  5. Once on the other side you can choose between continuing on the contour road running past Table Mountain cable car or into the city bowl.

What to see along the route

Kramat Of Sheikh Noorul Mubeen

About 2 km before hitting busy Bakoven, follow the stairs on your right and wind up the mountain until you meet a neatly built and nestled away Karamat. The care-taker, Mannie, is friendly and knowledgeable and will show you around this 350+ year old sacred space which holds the resting place for a political activist, Sheikh Noorul Mobein, in the 1700’s. Be sure to cover your shoulders and knees to show respect for the holy space.

karamat sheikh noorul mobein

 

The Glen Nature Reserve

The Glen Nature Reserve

The Glen forest and nature reserve is an optional walking route up from Campsbay to Kloof Nek. The busy beach front subsides as you follow the foot path under canopies of enormous, age-old trees. Enjoy the smell of the forest, the echoes of the birds and the burn of your thighs before you pop out onto Kloof Nek and make your way down to the city.

List of Service Providers (Atlantic Sunsets)