Length: 5.1km
Elevation gain: 641m
Required time: 3-4 Hours
Route type: Loop
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Price: $90

Skeleton Gorge is a lovely route that goes up to the top of the eastern side of Table Mountain. You can either start at Kirstenbosch Gardens and pay an entrance fee, or start at Cecilia Forest and walk across on the contour, which is what we do on our guided hikes up Table Mountain.

forest in skeleton gorge
Source: Adam Sivakoff


We start at the Cecilia Forest trailhead. Once on the contour path we walk in the direction of Kirstenbosch Gardens until we reach the Skeleton Gorge trail.

From there we begin our ascent up the gorge which involves some moderate rock scrambling and climbing up a series of ladders.

At least 80% of the route is under the forest canopy making it good choice on a hot summers day. Near the top one emerges from the tree canopy to gain some spectacular views of the southern suburbs.

Upon reaching the top you’ll find a beautiful white sand beach at the foot of the Hely-Hutchinson reservoir. After taking a break and having a swim (on the warmer days), we then make our way back down the mountain via Nursery Ravine.

skeleton gorge reservoir
Source: Sediqa Khatieb


In and amongst the forest canopy of Skeleton Gorge one will find the unique flora and fauna that Table Mountain has to offer. Table Mountain forms part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest of the six floral kingdoms around the world.

Hikers may encounter a variety of plant species, including proteas, ericas, and restios, showcasing the biodiversity of this UNESCO-protected site. You may also be lucky enough to see the emblem of the western cape, the Cape Disa. This wild orchard only flowers between December and March.

start of skeleton gorge