Devils Peak Area Information

Devil's Peak is part of the mountainous backdrop to Cape Town, South Africa. When looking at Table Mountain from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, or when looking at the standard picture postcard view of the mountain, the skyline is from left to right: the spire of Devil's Peak, the flat mesa of Table Mountain, the dome of Lion's Head and Signal Hill

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Devil’s Peak


The city grew out of a settlement founded on the shore below the mountains in 1652 by Jan van Riebeeck, for the Dutch East India Company. Some of the first farms in the Cape were established on the slopes of Devils Peak, along the Liesbeek River.

Devil's Peak stands 1,000 metres (3,281 ft) high, less than Table Mountain's 1,087 metres (3,566 ft). One can walk to the top (western slopes provide the easiest approach) but the ascent is more pleasant and safer outside of the cold, wet, winter months of May to August.

OnThe central districts of Cape Town are nestled within this natural amphitheatre.  the Eastern slopes of Devil's Peak you will find the Rhodes Memorial, to Cecil Rhodes, and the University of Cape Town. From these vantages one can gaze down upon the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town and over the sandy Cape Flats towards Stellenbosch, Somerset West and the distant Boland mountains. Other landmarks on the Eastern slopes are Mostert's Mill, Groote Schuur Hospital and the Groote Schuur estate, including a number of presidential and ministerial residences.

A number of historic military blockhouses are situated on Devil's Peak, and a number of cannons. These were intended to defend the city from attack from the South. There is an abandoned fire lookout high up on Mowbray Ridge.


There are a lot of easy walks on the lower slopes of the mountain. A popular short hike is from Rhodes Memorial to the King's blockhouse. The only safe ascent of the peak is from the Saddle, between the peak and Table Mountain. There are three routes to reach the Saddle: from Tafelberg Road on the city side, up Newlands Ravine from Newlands Forest, or the upper contour path from Mowbray Ridge and Minor Peak. Once on the Saddle, a straightforward path climbs directly to the summit. The 360° view from the summit is well worth the slog.


The northern slopes overlooking the city centre are covered in typical Cape Peninsula Shale Fynbos. These slopes are hotter and prone to frequent fires, and as a result the vegetation is low. Here can also be found a small stretch of critically endangered Peninsula Shale Renosterveld vegetation, an endemic vegetation type that used to dominate the Cape Town City Bowl but is now mostly lost due to urban development.


Near Rhodes Memorial, some of the lower slopes of Devil's Peak are artificially maintained as savanna, and some herds of eland, wildebeest and zebra are kept there.


The upper, rocky parts of Devil's Peak, Table Mountain and Lion's Head consist of a hard, uniform and resistant sandstone commonly known as the Table Mountain sandstone or TMS. (This is, however, no longer used as a formal geological name). The tough sandstone rests conformably upon a basal shale that in turn lies unconformably upon a basement of older (Late Precambrian) rocks (Malmesbury shale/slate and the Cape Granite). The basal shale and the older rocks below it weather much faster than the TMS and for this reason the lower slopes are everywhere smoother, with few outcrops and deeper soil. Millions of years of erosion have stripped all of the TMS from Signal Hill and that is why it looks very rounded compared to its sister peaks. There is a road that runs almost on the contour from the lower cable station on Table Mountain along the mountain to Devil's Peak. As it turns east around the bulk of Devil's Peak the road cuttings expose a few famous geological unconformities, which illustrate very clearly that the Malmesbury rocks were folded, baked, intruded by granite and planed down by millions of years of erosion before the area sank below the ocean and a new sequence of sediments, including the TMS, began to accumulate.