WATCH | Secret South Africa: Exploring the hidden gems on one of Table Mountain's oldest trails

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • The Washerwoman trail is a decades-old pathway which runs along a stream that slopes off Table Mountain in Cape Town.
  • In the third episode of Secret South Africa, Matt Weisse, a Cape Town-based tour guide, gives us an exclusive look at the treasures hidden along the route.
  • Special hideouts, an abandoned mansion and "haunted" ruins are some of the sights.

Cape Town has a plethora of hidden gems and nestled among the greenery surrounding Table Mountain is the Washerwoman Trail. 

"We are here in a very magic spot surrounded with much history," Cape Town tour guide Matt Weisse told News24.

Washerwoman Trail
In the third episode of Secret South Africa, we venture along the Washerwoman Trail, a pathway along a stream that runs off Table Mountain and down to Deer Park in Cape Town.
Washerwoman Trail
A sand filter basin, which removed any bacteria from the water before it was used.
News24 Aljoscha Kohlstock

In the third instalment of the Secret South Africa series, we venture along the Washerwoman Trail, a camouflaged route weaving along a stream that runs off Table Mountain.

The trail is named after a group of women who washed the laundry of the city's servicemen in the 1800s. They would clean the clothes at a bricked washhouse that is still visible along the trail.

Washerwoman Trail
The Washerwoman Trail stream running down the slopes of Table Mountain.
The ruin of an old mansion

"Sometimes up to 400 ladies used to gather in town early in the morning before walking in their wooden sandals up a cobble pathway – bringing the washing up to these washhouses, to do the dirty laundry for the sailors, the soldiers."

These houses were built in 1888 and still have the original drying line, wash basins and the shelves where dry laundry was stored.

Washerwoman Trail
The inside of a washhouse, where the washerwomen would clean the clothes of sailors and soldiers.
News24 Aljoscha Kohlstock

Further up the trail there is more to discover. There are "haunted ruins", a spot where a magic ring was supposedly lost and the tomb of a prince.

Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
A Section 89 panel headed by former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo found President Cyril Ramaphosa has an impeachable case to answer on the Phala Phala scandal.
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Ramaphosa should do the honourable thing and immediately resign.
22% - 2437 votes
Ramaphosa should follow due process and submit himself to an impeachment hearing.
30% - 3310 votes
Ramaphosa should fight the findings in court and keep his job at all costs
48% - 5283 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.18
-0.2%
Rand - Pound
20.95
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
18.05
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.55
-0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.1%
Gold
1,783.92
-0.1%
Silver
22.64
-0.4%
Palladium
1,857.00
+0.2%
Platinum
1,009.09
+0.3%
Brent Crude
77.17
-2.8%
Top 40
67,863
0.0%
All Share
74,011
0.0%
Resource 10
73,204
0.0%
Industrial 25
90,783
0.0%
Financial 15
15,619
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE