Cecilia Waterfall

Finding ourselves with some afternoon commitments, our group decided that a short hike was in order. None of the group hiking that morning had even been to see the Cecilia Waterfall, so it was the obvious route. Since we only found vague directions on how to reach the waterfall from Cecilia forest itself we resigned ourselves to the fact that we would probably get lost a few times on the way there. With that in mind we set out.

Upon entering the forest area from the main parking lot we took the path upward immediately to our right. This path of stony steps brought us to a small stream. Looking back at the maps now it turns out that this stream actually originates from the waterfall we were trying to find. Unfortunately we didn’t have those maps with us, otherwise the direct route to the waterfall would have been a bit more obvious.

After about 100m from the stream the path forks. Stick to the right here and you should see the sign showing that the Kirstenbosch Garden is up ahead. This path is one of my personal favourites, it is lined with beautiful Silver leaf trees. These endangered trees are almost exclusively found on the slopes of Table Mountain and give off a lovely smell.

On your way down the path to the Garden keep and eye out for the irrigation dam. Make your way to the area under the dam and find the steps to your left as you are facing the Garden. Climb these steps up and follow the footpath around the dam to the left. When we got to the dam fence I noticed how empty it was compared to the last time I saw the dam from up close. The rains really can’t come soon enough this year.

At the intersection at the top of the hill looking down at the dam stick to the left path and then to the right path following the signs to Cecilia Ravine. Here you need to prepare for a strenuous ascent. The path climbs from 250m to 420m altitude over a fairly short distance.

Along the way there is a path to the right – ignore it. This leads up to the Cecilia Ridge which takes you all the way up to De Villiers dam (read about that in the Constantia Corner Circuit post). Eventually the path starts to descend and offers some great views of the southern suburbs with Muizenberg off in the distance.

Not long after the path starts descending we started hearing the unmistakable sound of running water. Knowing that we were getting close to the waterfall we picked up the pace a bit and finally reached a lovely shaded spot at the base of the waterfall.

 Success! Success!

Sitting in the shade looking at this waterfall is the perfect way to relax and reflect a bit. We spent around 30 minutes just enjoying the sound of water steadily streaming down.

With those afternoon commitments calling, we reluctantly pulled ourselves away from this perfect spot. The memory of the strenuous stairs still fresh in our minds we decided to try a different route back to the car. Instead of turning around and walking back the way we came from, we continued on along the path past the waterfall. Eventually this path branches with the right branch heading in the direction of Constantia Nek. Take the left path to head downward back into the Cecilia Forest and eventually you should be in familiar territory. Once you’re back down into the forest keep heading toward the left and you should eventually find the stone steps that you started the hike on.

The path we took was around 6km long and took us just over two and a half hours (including the stop at the waterfall). It is not a tough route, but the stairs are not easy. Provided you can manage those and are looking for some peace and quiet, this is the perfect trail to take if you don’t have too much time to spend on the mountain.

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