A network of gnarly gravel roads traverses the steep slopes of Table Mountain, connecting to the Tafelberg Contour Road at various points
The surface is reasonably hard-packed, but loose gravel, ruts and rocks are bound to rear their ugly heads every so often.
Deer Park and Tafelberg Road are the most obvious trail heads. However, Chelmsford Road in Vredehoek is a central start to the route, and allows you to get into the uphill first. From Chelmsford Road, turn left to follow a contour road running above De Waal Drive. Keep left at 1.9km and again at 2.8km to climb along rocky gravel roads towards Queen’s Blockhouse overlooking Cape Town (4km). Below the blockhouse, a road bears right towards Tafelberg Road, ascending steeply towards two metal gates just before you reach the tarmac (6km).
Now you’re into an easy cruise past the cable station (11km) before you turn right onto the gravel tracks through a metal boom (11.8km). Drop sharply and then keep right where the gravel track splits into three (12.9km), continuing on a steep climb towards the cable station. Then it’s all the way downhill to Platteklip stream, where you cross a concrete causeway (15.1km) before looping around to Deer Park. Keep right, climbing through a pine forest to a T-junction where you turn left (17.2km) onto a level section and into the home stretch. A very loose downhill bangs you across a second stream (dry in summer) to the quarries (18.6km), now on your right, just above Chelmsford Road.
You could also add some distance to your ride by heading to Rhodes Memorial from Queen’s Blockhouse. Drop down and keep to your right until you’re above the game fence area, then climb sharply towards the contour road above the memorial. You can bomb this up to just before Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens to bump up your distance by a good dozen kilometres or so. Strict access rules apply to Kirstenbosch, so do not try to sneak onto the trails into the gardens themselves
GRADING: Moderate riding, although the climbs are difficult and will test you
CONFIGURATION : A circular-cum-return ride with various route options
START POINT: Various drop-ins along Tafelberg Road; also from Deer Park boom entrance
TERRAIN: Mostly gravel, but occasional concrete dual track section; rutted in places
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Riders must be in possession of a Go Wild / Go Green Card
FACILITIES: Reasonably safe parking along Tafelberg Road; café and ablutions at lower Cable Car station
BEWARE OF: Dog walkers; tourist busses on Tafelberg Road
HOW TO GET THERE
Head up Buitenkant Street to the top, turn right into Deer Park Drive and continue to the parking area. Alternatively, head along the M3 towards De Waal Drive and turn into Vredehoek along Clive Street. Follow Derry Street to the mountain, keeping
right where it forks, before turning left into Chelmsford – park at the end of the road.
BEST TIME OF YEAR
Table Mountain’s slopes are an excellent riding destination throughout the year, but midday rides during the summer should be avoided. Muggings have been reported in the area, so it is preferable to ride in a group and during daylight hours.
- Phone: +27 21 701 8773
- Website: www.mtbroutes.co.za