Hike Tranquility Cracks via the Pipe Tracks

Kasteelpoort, Cape Town, South Africa

  • Activities:

    Hiking, Fitness, Rock Climbing

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    5.6 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1837.3 Feet

Easy Parking
Forest
River
Scenic
Wildflowers

Table Mountain is home to countless trails and points of interest, but none will leave you in awe like the the deep, narrow cracks, passages and sculptures of Tranquility Cracks. The Cracks are one of the city's best-kept secrets and you have to go there to see the magic.

Tranquility Cracks is one of Cape Town's best-kept secrets, despite it being near a main trail and done in under 4 hours. Essentially the Cracks are a series of passageways and narrow slits and fractures in the sandstone, most of which are wide enough to wriggle through. From atop, the Cracks are almost invisible but for those less inclined to squeezing around the maze, the views above are magnificent and there are stunning natural rock sculptures looking over the Western Table.

The Cracks lie just off the Kasteelpoort-Llandudno Ravine path but finding them has remained a mystery to most hikers due to the lack of a clear path to the actual Cracks.

The Cracks can be accessed from virtually any point on the Main Table (Upper Cable Way Station, Platteklip, Skeleton Gorge etc) however for a quick beautiful round-trip a suggested starting point is the Theresa Avenue trailhead in upper Bakoven. From here you park your car and follow the jeep track as it zigzags for a few hundred metres gaining good altitude at the same time. After a short while the track meets the main Pipe Track gravel road. Turn right (south) here and follow the Pipe Track, which eventually narrows out into a footpath. You may pass a number of people here including their dogs, who are allowed on this part of the trail.

Follow the Pipe Tracks the whole way, past a number of ravines on the western side of Table Mountain (separating what is known as the Twelve Apostles). You will encounter streams, patches of indigenous and exotic forests and sandstone overhangs - a great place to catch your breath and have a drink, while soaking up the views of Lions Head and Camps Bay. The mind also boggles at the effort required to the lay the actual pipe which gives the path its name. You'll see this at various points on the trail. Eventually the track curves left, turning up the mountain ('Three Fire' on Google Maps). You will climb quite a substantial amount but before you know it you are at a rock cairn on the 'top' of Table Mountain. From here it gets a little tricky.

Turn left (north) towards the Cable Station, but be aware of a tiny rock cairn next to the path after about 150 m after making the turn. Although it is not well-worn, you should see a path veering to the left (no signage!). Follow this path (again, it is onGoogle Maps but it is still tricky to pinpoint especially if your GPS/Cellphone signal is great). After a bit of rock-hopping and scrambling you will be at the Cracks. Explore to your heart's content and get lost in the magic that is Tranquility. Be as careful as you would normally in the mountains, but be sure with your footing and don't squeeze into any passage you aren't sure you can exit easily. The views from above, of the Atlantic Ocean and Lions Head are breathtaking!

Once you feel you can peel yourself away, retrace your steps to the main path. You may have to do a bit of bashing through the Fynbos shrubbery. Back at the main path, turn left (north) and continue along the undulating path through exquisite Fynbos. You can take a number of routes down, but Woody Ravine is one of the more spectacular ones. Kasteelpoort is another, slightly longer option. Corridor Ravine is dangerous and is usually closed to hikers. The steep trek down will take you back the Pipe Track where you follow the path in the opposite direction as before back to your starting point, in time for brunch!

Use of Drones over National Park airspace is strictly prohibited

Total Time: 3-5 HoursDistance: ~ 9 km

If you're looking for for more Table Mountain adventures, check out Hike Up Table Mountain, Cape Town.

Pack List

  • Water (at least 2 litres per person)
  • Comfortable hiking shoes
  • Hat and Sunscreen
  • Map - you can use Google Maps but can become tricky with low GPS signal or limited network. Slingsby Maps are highly detailed and well worth having if you're going to do a lot of adventuring on the Cape Peninsula [http://www.slingsbymaps.com/tablemountain.aspx]
  • Emergency Contact - +27861106417
  • Wet weather gear + light jersey
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A very fun adventure! I was completely in awe at the deep, narrow cracks, passages, and sculptures of the Tranquility Cracks. Going there is unlike seeing photos of it. That being said, it is a great place to take photos with the city and Lion's Head in the background (on a clear day).

6 months ago
6 months ago

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