Posts by Riaan

Hiking Table Mountain from different sides – 18 August 2017

An aerial view of Table Montain reveals it to resemble a molar tooth in shape, the famous flat-topped summit making up the crown, the 12 Apostles the left-hand root and the Suburban or Eastern buttresses (for lack of a better name) the right-hand root. Different sides offer different views, different topography and different moods. Skeleton Gorge is the most popular route up the eastern or right-hand root.
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Skeleton Gorge vs 12 Apostles: Which is best? – 10 August 2017

Table Mountain hiking routes offer much diversity in terms of views, landscape, vegetation and challenge. Two of the best and most popular routes, Kasteelspoort (on the 12 Apostles) and Skeleton Gorge score equally on the challenge scale, but offer very different views and vegetation. Let’s look at some distinguishing features that would help you decide which route is best for you. Kasteelspoort is one of
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Why hiking Table Mountain with a guide optimizes the experience – 1 August 2017

It’s easy to underestimate Table Mountain. Rising sheer from a city, and with a cableway to the summit, many regard it as tame. Accessibility adds to the illusion: it’s a mere 10-minute drive from the bustling city center to the foot of the mountain and many of the trail heads. No wonder so many people fall victim to it. The terrain is unforgiving and the
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Hiking Table Mountain via the Twelve Apostles – 25 July 2017

I find myself writing about the 12 Apostles again and again, as well as hike and climb there with an abiding compulsion and attraction. This unspoilt chain of seaboard peaks offer diverse delights, from superb views to dramatic topography with hidden gems scattered in between. Last month, I discovered a spring: crystalline water pouring from the bowels of the mountain. Last week, I uncovered a built-up cave inhabited in bygone
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Hiking Table Mountain via India Venster – 17 July 2017

Few Table Mountain hikes meet hikers’ expectations as consistently as India Venster. It’s arguably the best half-day route to the famous tabletop summit and involves scrambling (easy climbing) and exposure to heights (narrow ledges) about 15% of the way – nothing extreme, but you need a fairly good head for heights. If you have a mild aversion to heights and you’re up for an adventure,
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Table Mountain hiking traverses – 11 July 2017

Some Table Mountain hiking routes involve traverses – sections of trail leading sideways (as opposed to up) to circumvent cliffs – ensuring the easiest possible line (line of least resistance), and also serve to link routes or to leapfrog to another section of mountain without undue detouring. Traverses vary in difficulty: some lead across an open slope with minimal exposure to heights, while others follow narrow, intimidating ledges that
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Types of Table Mountain hiking routes – 20 June 2017

There are more than a hundred hiking routes up Table Mountain. These can be grouped into 4 types. The first type is represented by a single route, Platteklip Gorge: the quickest and easiest route to the summit, but not the nicest. Most people complete it in around 2.5 hours with varying degrees of exertion. As far as Table Mountain hiking goes, it doesn’t quite do
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Table Mountain hiking routes: Which is best? – 8 June 2017

About 65 hiking routes lead up Table Mountain, each unique in terms of views, difficulty, terrain, vegetation or atmosphere. Differences might be restricted to only one of the aforementioned aspects, but often include more than one, and in some cases, all. For most, views dictate route choice rather than difficulty, to their consternation. Others blindly defer to the recommendations or reviews of others. In my opinion, the
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Table Mountain hiking routes: Frustration Gorge – 4 June 2017

Frustration Gorge is a delightful route off-the-beaten track that leads up from Orange Kloof, a lush, secluded valley with restricted entrance located at the back of Table Mountain. The route follows a ravine choked with Afro-montane forest, a type of forest reminiscent of tropical jungle, and involves some B-grade scrambling with only one bit mildly exposed to heights. As far as Table Mountain hikes go, Frustration
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Table Mountain hiking routes: Level of difficulty – 26 May 2017

All Table Mountain hikes are graded A, A+, B, B+, C or C+. Grading denotes technicality, not physicality. Put differently, the grading gives you an indication of the hardest move required to complete the route, NOT how strenuous the route is. An A-grade route involves no technical difficulty, while a C+ route involves some elementary rock-climbing. Proper climbing (with ropes, gear and harness) are generally
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