Table Mountain hiking: connecting with nature – 20 October 2015

A common misconception about Table Mountain is its perceived lack of wildness due to the proximity of a city and a cableway to the summit. In reality, Table Mountain still contains a lot of wilderness despite the concrete jungle at its foot. The mountain is an island of nature, and the upper cable station an island of civilization within an island of nature. Much of the mountain remain pristine wilderness, where you can still enjoy deep solitude. Perfect peace and quiet can be found along many Table Mountain hiking routes. Parts of the mountain never sees hikers and remain virtually undisturbed. It’s so easy to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Nature is never far away.

The best way to experience Table Mountain’s wildness is on foot. Only by hiking Table Mountain do you get off-the-beaten track and experience the essence of the mountain. While the views are great, the mountain offers so much more. If you love nature, enjoy the great outdoors or if you’re in need of escape from the daily grind, or need a meditative space to recharge, then there are numerous Table Mountain hikes that will charm you and meet your expectations – more likely, exceed them. Hiking Table Mountain not only brings you to the best viewpoints, but also allows communion with nature. You don’t need to be a nature fanatic to appreciate this facet of the mountain: the dramatic landscape combined with the silence and the sounds of nature has a way of beguiling all sorts. If you’re adventurous, there are Table Mountain hikes to meet you on any level. If you prefer a leisurely stroll without breaking much of a sweat, summit and contour walks abound, allowing you to get away from the crowds and into tranquil spaces.

The tabletop summit of Table Mountain, the most visited part of the mountain, and only constituting about 7% of the entire Table Mountain massif, offers intriguing locations few people ever visit. While the western tip usually heaves with tourists, the eastern edge remains peaceful and unfrequented. Along the 12 Apostles, there are ravines where you could sit around for years without encountering another human. Some Table Mountain hiking routes haven’t seen traffic in decades: opened in the early 1900s, now overgrown and forgotten, brief entries in old Mountain Club journals the only vestiges of their existence. Spending time in these parts of the mountain, you can sense the sprit of the mountain. Complete silence, broken only by the clicking of frogs or the trickle of water, or the wind soughing through the vegetation. A far cry from the traffic congestion in the city, the bustle of shopping malls, people thronging around the upper cable station with its café and souvenir shop.

Table Mountain hiking encompasses many things, different for almost every person. For those who appreciate nature, who desire refuge from the madding crowd, who wish to experience the essence of the mountain, tackling the mountain on foot will be a rewarding and unforgettable experience.

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