Kasteelspoort (more accurately, Kasteel’s Poort) leads up the Twelve Apostles, a chain of seaboard peaks extending behind the famous tabular summit of Table Mountain.
Of late popularized by a photogenic viewpoint known as the Diving Board, Kasteelspoort means Castle’s Portal in Afrikaans for being the easiest route (the portal) up what used to be known as the Castle Mountains. A Table Mountain classic, the route takes in a lot of the mountain and offers views at every turn. We extend the route up the ravine (Kasteelspoort) to the summit of Table Mountain.
Kasteelspoort involves a few minor rock scrambles with minimal exposure to heights. Not suitable for those with a severe fear of heights or impaired balance. The route is strenuous, so requires a good fitness level for optimal enjoyment. It is the easiest route up the Twelve Apostles range; many other routes lead up the Apostles, some more technical or strenuous (or both).
Follows a well-defined trail involving rock steps and several bits of light scrambling. The section leading up from Echo Valley features a series of steel ladders (some exposure to heights). A variation further down Echo Valley involves no exposure. The route dries off quickly after rain.
Information & Prices
- Grade: A+
- Duration: 4 to 4.5 hours
- Distance: 6 kilometres / 3.7 miles
- Elevation Gain: 900 metres / 2950 feet
- Cost: R1400 per person
The route undulates through secluded valleys and past wind-sculpted rocks, offering a fascinating diversity of fynbos (endemic shrub) throughout. Sea views on the first 1.5 hours. Further up, you get views onto the rest of the Table Mountain range and also down the length of the Cape Peninsula.
- Wide-ranging views for much of the time
- Nature (peace and quiet)
- Morning shade in summer
- Dries off quickly in winter
- Variations on the top section
- Diversity (views and vegetation)
- Covers a big chunk of the mountain
- No indigenous forest
- Scores low on the adventure scale
- Diving Board: a sensational rock projection over a drop
- Short detours to caves and historic dams
- Pristine nature
- Blinkwater Peak: a 15-minute detour from the main trail. One of the top viewpoints on Table Mountain
Who should consider Kasteelspoort?
- Possess good fitness
- Keen for a more in-depth experience of the mountain
- Up for a strenuous hike
- Interested in nature and flora
- Nervous to afraid of heights, but eager to explore more of the mountain
- Want sea views more than city views or jungle setting
Who should avoid Kasteelspoort?
- Possess below average fitness
- Not interested in nature
- Possess a high sense of adventure
- Desperate to experience Table Mountain’s indigenous forest
How fit should I be to enjoy the route?
Average to above average. As with all routes, the less fitness you bring to the hike, the more determination, motivation and grit you need.
Compared to Platteklip Gorge, Kasteelspoort …
- Is about 30% more strenuous
- Involves more scrambling and rugged terrain
- Involves a bit more exposure to heights
- Offers no city views on the ascent
- Offers more nature (peace and quiet)
- Offers more diversity (views and vegetation)
Compared to India Venster, Kasteelspoort …
- Is about 25% more strenuous
- Is less adventurous (less scrambling and exposure to heights)
- Offers no city views on the ascent
- Offers less dramatic topography
- Covers more of the mountain
Compared to Skeleton Gorge, Kasteelspoort …
- Allows for a sunrise start, so cooler in summer (greatly optimizes the experience)
- Is less slippery in winter
- Offers sea views on the ascent as opposed to jungle setting / inland views
- Involves same technical difficulty (when dry)
- A sunrise start beats the ‘crowds’ on weekends and holidays