Beginners Guide To Mountain Biking On Table Mountain 2021
Join our adventure today as we are mountain biking Table Mountain from the Lower Cable Station to the Kings Blockhouse on the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak. This mountain bike trail just above the city of Cape Town is perfect for beginners. The ride is around 7KM or 4.3 Miles one way and is a great introduction to mountain biking Table Mountain. The ride is easy and requires medium fitness to complete and is a nice mix of tar and a little gravel to give you an introduction to riding your mountain bike off road.
The first part of the mountain bike ride is relatively flat and on tar and you will see plenty of other Table Mountain bikers, hikers and runners. You will want to stop along the road numerous times to take in the spectacular views of Cape Town and the South African west coast. Further down the road as you get closer to Devil’s Peak you get stunning views of Lion’s Head and Table Mountain. This area has suffered fire damage as of April 2021 and some mountain biking trails may be closed for maintenance due to the fires in this area. The fire damage is clearly visible as Tafelberg road nears the slopes of Devil’s Peak.
Once you reach the Devil’s Peak sign the road becomes dirt track. If you only want a light easy ride then this is the point that you could turn around and enjoy an easy cycle back to the lower cable station. The dirt track to the King’s Blockhouse has some relatively steep sections and you may need to get off and walk if you are not that fit. Caution and care needs to be taken on this part of the mountain bike trail as there are sections of loose gravel and stones and is a mixed use trail with other people using the trail for hiking, running and dog walking. Watch mountain biking Table Mountain on YouTube.
What To Take Mountain Biking
A network of gravel mountain bike trails traverse the steep slopes of Table Mountain, connecting to the Tafelberg Contour Road that we have been cycling on at various points along the route. The surface of these mountain bike trails is reasonable, but you will find loose gravel, ruts and rocks to make things a bit more fun and challenging. Many of these mountain bike trails require better bike handling skills and higher degrees of fitness. The route to the King’s Blockhouse that we took is better suited to those with moderate fitness and beginner level bike skills.
Arriving at the King’s Blockhouse you are greeted with breath taking views over the Cape Flats. Below you is Rhodes Memorial and Newlands cricket and rugby grounds. In the distance to your right, you can see the False Bay coastline on the East coast of South Africa stretching as far as the eye can see. Once you have taken in the panoramic views and caught your breathe you have two options. You can return along the same route home or cycle down towards Rhodes Memorial. If you choose this latter option you will need further logistical planning if you need to return to the lower cable station to fetch cars.
Our entire mountain biking ride took our group just under 2 hours to complete as we returned along the same route. This included many photo stops and time to just take in the spectacular views.
Mountain biking Table Mountain can be done throughout the year but it is worth checking the weather before you plan this trip. In summer it is better to leave as early as possible in the morning.Temperatures can rise to 35 Celsius or beyond during the summer months in Cape Town. The strong South Easterly wind that is prevalent in summer can blow up to gale force and it’s especially strong around the Devils Peak area. The South Easterly wind picks up during the day during summer and can easily blow you over and make cycling this trail quite hard work.
Mountain Biking Code Of Conduct
- Limit your speed 15km/h is fun for you and safe for others
- Respect all users
- Stay on the trail
- Control your bike and ride within your limits
- Avoid erosion by braking early and don’t drag your back wheel
- Communicate and let others know that you are there
- Anticipate slow down in corners and pass others safely
- Don’t scare animals
Table Mountain offers many adventures for the active person who wants to explore the beauty of Cape Town. My hiking guide to Table Mountain gives you the insider tips on getting to the top of Table Mountain or why not hike Lion’s Head and watch the sunset over Cape Town.
A Brief History Of The King’s Blockhouse
Following the first British occupation of the Cape in 1795, the existing Dutch line of defence, known as the French line, was extended by the addition of three blockhouses up the slopes of Devil’s Peak. These included the Queen’s Blockhouse, on the Zonnebloem Estate, the Prince of Wales, above present-day De Waal Drive, and the King’s Blockhouse. The first two have since fallen into a state of disrepair.
The King’s Blockhouse, a massive stone structure 7m square, located on a prominent point on the Devil’s Peak, was retained in use as a signal station for communication between Table Bay and False Bay. The line was further strengthened in 1814 when several additional redoubts were built, and at one stage served as the official boundary between Cape Town and the country districts beyond. The King’s Blockhouse was declared a National Monument on 4 February 1938. Today it is home to a variety of communications equipment.