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Mountain Biking up Constantiaberg in Cape Town

At 927m high, Constantiaberg is the 3rd highest peak in the Table Mountain range; after Maclear's Beacon at 1086m and Devil's Peak at 1000m. However, the radio/TV mast on top reaches up to 1120m, making it the highest point on the Table Mountain range. If you are standing on the top of Table Mountain and looking southwards, the Constantiaberg is the highest peak you can see.

On Women's Day (9 August 2017) we decided to see what the mountain bike trails in Tokai were like. On arriving, the first things we found out were that the trails only open at 08h00 (only weekends during winter, closes at 5pm), and that it costs R75 per person - so much for the early bird catching the worm! The forest has recovered well from the devastating burns in April 2015 with juvenile plants sprouting up everywhere (Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos), however there are no longer any tall shade-giving trees (except the pine trees at the braai area at the bottom), and I suspect that in the summer the heat on the trail will be unbearable. However, some will be pleased to see the dissapearance of the gum and pine trees, as they are not indigenous; the pine trees are remnants from pine tree planations from the early 20th centuary, which were planted on the slopes, and even on the top of Table Mountain. Speaking of indigenous, we didn't spot any of the local baboon troops.

Constantiaberg in Cape Town
Note the "Tokai Mast" at the top of Constantiaberg (it's an optical illusion that the peak to the left of it is higher) - that's where we were cycling to. The black dot below to the left of the fake peak is the Elephant's Eye cave. Some say one is not a true Capetonian until one has hiked to the Elephant's Eye cave.

The road starts off as gravel, changes into two concrete single tracks and then is a tar road to the top.

About half-way up there's a stunning view of Hout Bay, better than the view from the top of Constantiaberg, and it's ever so hard to be humble when you're so much above Hout Bay. To the left is the sentinel, guarding the entrance to Hout Bay.

Bicycle lying on ground, with view of Hout Bay in the background

Here's the same picture on the way down - weather has changed completely! God hiding his (forgive the anthropomorphism) treasures.

View of Hout Bay from the Constantiaberg, with clouds rolling in over it

And before we say goodbye to that view, here's a panoramic:

Panoramic photo from the Constantiaberg, with Hout Bay in the distance, and a cyclist on the left

Here's the summit - Tokai Mast.

Mountain biker at Tokai Mast with 2 bikes

The view from the top is well worth the pain in climbing up there. Here's the view looking out over the south peninsula - the water feature is at Silvermine nature reserve (which is the most popular beginning to hike to the Elephant's Eye Cave).

View of the south peninsula from Tokai Summit

The uphill will have burnt away the calories and worked your granny gear, but on the way down expect to be flying. Pro tip: check your brakes before leaving for this trip. There are a number of options for a more radical downhill - snake trails (cobra, mamba, boomslang, snake eyes and rinkhals), downhill trails, switchback trail (bridal path), boulders trail and vasbyt trail. Some of the routes remain closed, subject to SANPARKS approval to reopen.

Mountain biking downhill on a gravel road above Tokai

And then some relaxation at the bottom of the route, with the Constantiaberg in the background; sitting on a log from one of the old pine trees.

Mountain biker sitting on wooden log at the base of the Constantiaberg


Try Dongola Guest House in Constantia, you can see the Constantiaberg from their pool deck.

Try the Trail and Tar shop in Tokai for bicycle repairs.

Table Mountain Road

If you're bored of Tokai's mountain trails, then try the cycle up to Table Mountain road and along to the King's Blockhouse. Here's the view from the blockhouse:

View of Cape Town harbour and Table Bay, with Robben Island in the distance

Here's the King's Blockhouse, lying on the upper slopes of Devils Peak. The plaque below the blockhouse says: "In memory of Forester Frank Jarman, who, from 1893 to 1902 had charge of the forest work which covered this wind-swept mountain with trees. He left here for similar work at Elgin on the mountains opposite, and died as the result of an accident. On the wall of this house which he built, and in which he lived, this tablet is placed by his brother officials of the forest department and by friends, as a record of his sterling qualities and his remarkable success as a forester. He found these barren stony slopes tree-less: he left them covered with forest."

Kings Blockhouse on the upper slopes of Devils Peak

Deer Park

Deer Park is situated in Vredehoek, and offers a 23km track with plenty of elevation.

Deer Park in Vredehoek

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