People’s reasons for hiking Table Mountain are many and diverse, from photographing a rare orchid to detoxing from the previous night’s binging. I once hiked with a guy, totally out of shape, who did it to win a bet with his wife. Other than exercise and views, flora and fauna, peace and quiet, an exciting objective to hiking Table Mountain is adventure.
There is no shortage of Table Mountain routes that offer adventure. These typically involve a combination of scrambling (elementary climbing) and / or exposure to heights, some necessitating the use of a rope. Some involve more scrambling than heights, others more heights than scrambling, while some offer these elements in equal measure. No experience or strong arms are required, just a sense of adventure and at least a moderate fitness level as well as head for heights.
Table Mountain hiking routes offer all levels of adventure, from straightforward hiking along well-defined trails with a few bits of light scrambling and minimal narrow ledges to challenging ascents packed with tricky scrambling, lots of narrow ledges and exposure to heights and across rugged terrain. A rope comes into play on all exposed scrambles, so it is perfectly safe. You get the thrill, but without the danger.
Adventure routes are typically off the beaten track, so apart from having an adventure, you also get a dose of wilderness. Scaling rack faces in a wild, pristine setting, working out the moves far off the ground, is not only exhilarating, but also provides an intimate experience of the mountain. Feeling the rock under your fingers, composing yourself and reading the rock for hand- and footholds, treading where few ever do, surrounded by dramatic landscape – all combine and work synergistically to create a singular experience of the mountain. The views end up being the icing on the cake.
Based on average abilities, and above-average sense of adventure, India Venster is a fantastic entry level route. For a bit more spice, consider the likes of Left Face B, Blind Gully or Woody Buttress. If you are in great shape and have a good head for heights, then be sure to tackle Hiddingh- Ascension (via Ferny Dell), the Grotto-Cairn Traverse, Kloof Corner or Spring Traverse. Each route is unique and offer a different experience, the only constant being adventure and nature.
If you are adventurous and you like to be challenged, especially in nature, Table Mountain hiking presents a vast playground. Hike Table Mountain is the only mountain-guiding outfit that offers guided hikes up all Table Mountain hiking and scramble routes, so we have a reservoir of routes to choose from. This allows us to finetune the route to the type of views you prefer, the setting, the amount and difficulty of scrambling and the amount and severity of exposure to heights.
Adventure is highly subjective, and we understand that even the easiest Table Mountain route constitutes an adventure to some, so the takeaway here is not that harder routes are better, but that Table Mountain hiking caters for all experience levels, fitness levels, adventure levels and preferences; that the mountain meets each of us in a different way and that we can equally meet it in different ways. That’s why there cannot ever be the best Table Mountain hiking route, only the best route for you. Sure, some routes offer better views or more nature or adventure, but the idea of ‘The Best Route’ is illusory.
Whatever your level of adventure, from cautiously daring to compulsive adrenalin junkie, there’s a route for you. Table Mountain hiking offers more than just views, more than communion with nature, more than an opportunity to explore hidden gems – it’s also an adventurer’s playground.