Ferny Dell

Ferny Dell Hike Table Mountain

Ferny Dell ranks as one of the most challenging and adventurous routes up Table Mountain.

It ascends a wild and dramatic part of the mountain, providing an unrivalled wilderness experience replete with adventure. Think Indiana Jones set loose in Conan Doyle’s Lost World. Tops out near Maclear’s Beacon (highest point on Table Mountain), from where you traverse the length of the famous tabletop summit to the upper cable station. Vintage Table Mountain off the beaten track. 

Difficulty

Difficulty in a hike stems from physicality, technicality, rugged terrain or exposure to heights. Ferny Dell serves up all four. At least two scrambles necessitate the use of a rope. The going is characterized by rugged terrain: bush, loose rock and scrambling. Bypassing the Dell proper via a composite route called Hiddingh-Ascension significantly reduces the difficulty.

Terrain

Ferny Dells follows a vague trail for much of the way, and involves rugged terrain: bush, loose rock and scrambling. 

Information & Prices

  • Grade: B+
  • Duration: 5 to 6 hours to the summit (add one hour to the upper cable station)
  • Distance: 6 km / 3.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1000 meters / 3300 feet
  • Cost: R2300 per person

Scenery

The route tackles the lush and forbidding eastern flank of Table Mountain. Most of the ascent leads through indigenous forest reminiscent of tropical jungle. The hike is marked by grandeur in a primeval setting. Views are inland and across False Bay.

Pros

  • Vintage Table Mountain for the expert hiker
  • Far off the beaten track
  • Adventure at every turn
  • Pristine nature
  • Beauty and grandeur

Cons

  • Limited views due to forest canopy
  • Inland views: not the best side of the mountain
  • Difficult terrain; no groomed trail
  • No sea views

Main attractions

  • Primordial indigenous forest
  • Adventure
  • Visiting a part of the mountain few ever set foot
  • Carrel’s Ledge: a sensational and ingenious traverse along a narrow ledge. Not for the faint-hearted…
  • Topping out at Maclear’s Beacon, highest point on Table Mountain

Who should consider Ferny Dell?

Experienced and adventurous hikers who appreciate wilderness and enjoy exploring off the beaten track.

Who should avoid Ferny Dell?

  • Unfit hikers
  • Hikers afraid of heights
  • Bucket-list hikers
  • Hikers with low sense of adventure
  • Hikers who prefer sea views on the ascent

How fit should I be to enjoy the route?

Above average. As with all Table Mountain routes, the less fitness you bring to the hike, the more determination, motivation and grit you need.

Compared to Kasteelspoort, India Venster and Skeleton Gorge, Ferny Dell …

Is much more challenging and adventurous. While the views and setting are beautiful, the focus is adventuring in a wilderness environment.

We also offer other hikes on Table Mountain such as India Venster, Platteklip Gorge and Skeleton Gorge, to name a few. Take a look at the other routes we offer here.

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