Trail to East Fort

I recommend doing this one as a one way: leave a car at the East Fort at the foot of Chapman’s Peak — or even better: at The Chapman’s Peak Hotel or Dunes in Hout Bay. After the initial slog up Vlakkenberg, the going is pretty easy. This is part of the Hoerikwaggo Trail.

Getting there: park at Constantia Nek. Walk down the road toward Hout Bay for about 100m — the sign-posted gate is on the left hand side of the road. If you reach the gate to Silvermist Estate, you have gone too far.
Distance: 10km
Difficulty: easy hike on superb trail

The trail heads away from the road with Silvermist Estate on your right, before it turns to the left, where it reaches the fence bordering the vineyards. The path takes you up a long set of steps that lead straight up the hill along the border of the vineyards before heading over Vlakkenberg, up and away to the right. Be sure to admire the views over the Southern Suburbs, False Bay and the Cape Flats, as well as Constantia Corner behind you. Once the steps are finished, the trail leads up to the right as you skirt the Silvermist Estate and head up to the top of Vlakkenberg.

Trail to East Fort
Trail to East Fort

Keep on this trail as it reaches the top and heads down into a valley rich in proteas, and up the hill on the other side before hitting a tarred road. Keep your eyes open for Protea coronata (tight, green proteas with a white, fluffy looking center) along the path. The Constantiaberg mast is in the distance up ahead of you. Turn right up the hill on this tarred road until you find a trail leading off to the right about 80 meters on (well sign-posted; see picture to the right). You now follow the contour path until you reach the manganese mines above the Hout Bay end of Chapman’s Peak Drive. This part of the walk is relaxed and easy, and you have an opportunity to take in the views over the Hout Bay Valley.

You may well come across groups of hikers completing the Hoerikwaggo Trail.

Manganese Ore
Manganese Ore

The trail comes out above the East Fort at the foot of Chapman’s Peak in Hout Bay. You will see piles of rocks that have a dark, metallic hue: these are dumps of ore from the old Manganese Mines. The mines date back to 1909. Look down to the rocky shoreline below where you can see the two pillar-like structures standing in the water which are the only remains of the jetty used to load the ore onto waiting ships.

Once you reach Chapman’s Peak Drive, it is worth taking a look around the ruins of the East Fort. Sadly, vandals have destroyed all the information plates. I am sure in any other country, there would be a museum of some sorts here, and maybe even a daily firing of the canons.

From here simply follow the road back down to your car.

The trail is about 11km long, and will take 3 hours at an easy pace.

Slingsbys Silvermine & Hout Bay map

By David

Outdoor adventure enthusiast living on the Garden Route.

One thought on “Vlakkenberg to Chapman’s Peak”
  1. I really enjoyed this hike. Not to difficult and had some spectacular views! Also saw some beautiful protea’s. Not sure about that photo though!

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