Where To Find the Best Waterfalls in Cape Town

Discover Cape Town as an outdoor paradise by visiting its breathtaking waterfall
Discover Cape Town as an outdoor paradise by visiting its breathtaking waterfall | © Africa Media Online / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Andrew Thompson
Freelance Writer - Instagram.com/andrewthompsonsa3 April 2020
View

Cape Town is an outdoor paradise, and with the city’s famous mountains and hikes comes a range of beautiful waterfalls to explore. Some may only appear after heavy rains, but others are present year-round. Most require some effort to reach – either a short walk or longer hike – but all are worth the effort.

Some of the best waterfalls in Cape Town are difficult to find, but if anyone knows how to track them down it’s mountain guide Tim Lundy. Lundy knows the Cape’s mountains better than most, and as a registered guide he specialises in showing the best locations to visitors. For those not as enthusiastic about roughing it, he also runs Glamtrails – walking trails through scenic parts of the Western Cape province that include comforts such as five-star meals.

To find the best waterfalls in Cape Town, or to add an interesting detour to any hike, Lundy’s recommendations are an ideal place to start.

Silvermine Waterfall, Table Mountain National Park

Natural Feature
© Paul Scott/Flickr
Silvermine Nature Reserve | © Paul Scott/Flickr
Silvermine Nature Reserve is a superb place to hike, or spend a day relaxing and picnicking around the popular dam. Lundy has a suggestion for waterfall fans in the area, too – the Silvermine Waterfall: “A short easy walk from the Eastern Silvermine entrance will get you to this waterfall,” he says. “It’s best seen in winter after heavy rains.”

Tierbos Waterfall, Hout Bay

Natural Feature
View over Hout Bay harbour
View over Hout Bay harbour | © Images of Africa Photobank / Alamy Stock Photo

Hout Bay, a small neighbourhood located at one end of the famous Chapman’s Peak Drive, offers a multitude of hiking opportunities, as well as a few small but noteworthy waterfalls. Lundy recommends taking a trip to Tierbos: “It’s a small waterfall,” he says, “but after heavy rains it makes a lot of noise for its size. It’s found in Hout Bay on a short family walk”.

Admirals Waterfall, Simon's Town

Natural Feature
Colony of spectacle penguins, Boulders Beach, Simon's Town
Colony of spectacle penguins, Boulders Beach, Simon's Town | © mauritius images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

The coastal town of Simon’s Town usually attracts visitors for its harbour and the nearby Boulder’s penguin colony, but there are also several short walks in the area that are well worth including on an itinerary. “Cascading above Simons Town after heavy rains is Admirals Waterfall – it’s worth the short simple walk to go view it in all its splendour,” says Lundy.

Union Buttress, Table Mountain

Natural Feature

The front face of Table Mountain becomes a waterfall playground after heavy rains – and most of them are within easy reach after a short hike to the mountain’s spectacular trail known by most as ‘the contour path’. “The only small waterfall I know of that you can stand behind in Cape Town, and not get wet, is Union Buttress waterfall,” says Lundy. It’s only present after a few days of heavy rains, and as Lundy points out, there is a family of smaller waterfalls and cascades along the contour path between Platteklip Gorge and Kloof Corner.

Hell's Gate, Orange Kloof Reserve

Natural Feature

Lundy counts Hell’s Gate, in the restricted Orange Kloof region of Table Mountain, as one of the best waterfalls to visit, but there are a few barriers to entry. “You can only go in summer to visit this waterfall,” he says. “Winter access is blocked as the water levels are too high to access it!” The area is protected due to its sensitive ecology, and in order to enter you’ll need a guide and a permit.

De Hel waterfall, Groot Winterhoek

Natural Feature

For those eager to include a waterfall on a multi-day hike, Lundy recommends De Hel Nature Area. “De Hel waterfall is found outside of Cape Town in the Groot Winterhoek mountain range,” says Lundy. “A two-day trail will get you to this picture perfect waterfall that flows all year round into a natural Olympic-sized rock pool.”

Krom River waterfall, Paarl

Natural Feature

Another waterfall that requires a lengthy hike to reach is that of the Krom River – but Lundy considers it worth the effort. “The Krom River waterfall is a long strenuous walk from a parking area on the other side of the Du Toitskloof tunnel, on the Worcester side,” says Lundy. It’s a summer waterfall that, like De Hel, requires permits in order to reach.

Crystal Pools waterfall, Gordon's Bay

Natural Feature

Crystal Pools is one of the most popular outdoor day trips from Cape Town, thanks to its popular rock pools, high-altitude jumps and cascading waterfalls. It’s an hour away by car, and requires a permit to access, which are only available in the summer months. “There are a number of waterfalls on this route,” says Lundy. “Swimming is the main attraction, with the waterfalls as a backdrop.”

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel – and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travellers and friends who want to explore the world together.

Epic Trips are deeply immersive 8 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and enough down time to really relax and soak it all in. Our Mini Trips are small and mighty - they squeeze all the excitement and authenticity of our longer Epic Trips into a manageable 3-5 day window. Our Sailing Trips invite you to spend a week experiencing the best of the sea and land in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm – and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"