It can be argued that Table Mountain ranks as the most-climbed mountain in the world. Located next to a bustling city makes it about as accessible as your local pub. And featuring a fancy cableway obviates the dreaded hike-down. Small surprise then that thousands take up the challenge and leg it to the summit. But easy descent and easy access aside, Table Mountain deserves to be hiked for many other compelling reasons, and not merely “because it’s there.”
Let’s start with the views. Hiking Table Mountain (as opposed to taking the cable car) provides you with better views. Different angles, different settings, different light and different heights. Hiking allows you to cover more ground, so it follows that you will get more views. Also, you will enjoy the views without the detraction of jostling crowds. And you will have earned your views, which wll make you appreciate them far more.
Table Mountain hikes cover diverse landscapes, so hiking Table Mountain brings you in contact with the terrain: the rocks, plants, streams, birds and other wildlife you might encounter. These things constitute the soul of the mountain. The flora alone is world-famous: Table Mountain contains about as many plant species as the entire UK, many of them endemic. The sculpted rock-formations offer a sense of surrealism to the surroundings. The dramatic topography emanates grandeur. Hiking grounds you to the mountain. Smells, bird calls, the trickle of a stream, clicking frogs, atmospheric cloud – all combine to beguile the senses.
Adventure! Table Mountain offers lots of challenging hikes that involves scrambling and exposure to heights (narrow ledges). No experience required, only a good head for heights, a sense of adventure and a reasonable fitness level. Wild routes exist up Table Mountain, leading up lush ravines and craggy buttresses far off-the-beaten track, some traversing afreas of the mountain very few people ever set foot. Table Mountain packs a lot of wilderness, and a lot of rough terrain, offering legion opportunities for adventures and exploration.
But for many, it’s simply the prospect of connecting with nature that induces them to hike Table Mountain. Large tracts of the mountain remains pristine, offering ample opportunity to commune with Mother Nature and to soak up the peace and quiet. Despite the proximity of a city, Table Mountain offers much solitude. Hiking takes you to places where you feel a thousand miles from civilization. Hiking Table Mountain provides respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.
What better way to get some exercise than climb a mountain. What better workout than scrambling up the imposing sides of Table Mountain. And then to enjoy the sense of achievement gained from your efforts and in some cases, courage.
Having said all that, hiking Table Mountain is not for all. Some (most) are better off taking the cable car to the summit, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you love nature, or you have an inquisitive mind, or you’re adventurous, or you’re keen to experience more of Table Mountain (and in the company of our guides, learn more), or you prefer a more authentic experience of the mountain and enjoy getting off the tourist trail, or you crave a solid workout, then a hike up Table Mountain is not to be missed. To enjoy the better routes, you need at least a moderate fitness level. However, routes exist for the short of breath and determined or enthusiastic.