Mowbray Ridge is an exciting approach to Devil's Peak from the east. The route is steep hiking most of the way with great views. At 800 meters you will cross the "knife edge", a short and narrow traverse that ends at Minor Peak (856m). After Minor Peak the route winds gently around the back side of Devil's Peak for an easy finish.
The trail most commonly starts at Rhodes Memorial near the University of Cape Town (UCT). The trail can also be accessed from the "Contour Path" just below the King's Blockhouse.
Whether you start form Rhodes Memorial or you are already on the Contour Path make your way to King's
Blockhouse, which is easily seen form Rhodes Memorial. There are a few different paths from Rhodes Memorial to King's Blockhouse, just follow the most established. You'll cross three jeep roads before reaching the Blockhouse, one of which is also the "Contour Path".
From King's Blockhouse look up and you'll see a small stone building atop the ridge in front of you. This is the Mowbray Ridge and building is an old fire lookout. The trail is slightly hidden behind the Blockhouse, just go straight at the ridge and around a small round cement structure. The trail to the fire lookout is fairly steep. There are two places that may require the use of your hands to climb up. The steepest section is only about 5-6 meters tall.
After you have reached the fire lookout. Continue straight up the ridge on a slope which is far less steep.
"knife edge" & Minor Peak
Once you reach the top of this slope (800 meters) you will see the "knife edge" just in front of Minor Peak. Cross the "knife edge" to a cliff at the base of Minor Peak. This cliff is the most challenging part of the route. It is approximately 6 meters tall and requires a little climbing to reach the summit of Minor Peak. The 6 meter climb is fairly easy but a fall could result in serious injury.
From the top of Minor Peak descend west toward table mountain and just west of the small saddle between Minor Peak and Devil's Peak. After descending 100 meters, follow the path that contours around the cliffs of Devil's Peak straight towards a small cliff in front of Table Mountain
. Then hike up the shallow gully south bound between these two cliffs to reach the west face of Devil's Peak. Once on the west face it is an easy hike up the gentle slope to the summit.
There are several ways to descend. You may chose to return the same way, down Newlands Ravine
, or continue west to Tafelberg Road. There is parking available on Tafelberg Road and there are always taxis at the Lower Cable Station on Tafelberg Road if you chose this finish.
Good hiking boots are a plus. The trail can be very slick when wet. Bring a small pack with water, hat, sun block, long-sleeve shirt, and a rain jacket. Conditions can change rapidly and you should be ready to be hot, sweaty, and cold on this hike. I have found it is nice to bring a dry t-shirt to change into once you reach the summit. Even in the winter it is easy to soak your shirt with sweat and the wind on the ridge and on the summit will make a wet shirt quite uncomfortable.