Table Mountain’s diverse settings – 3 June 2014

Imagine starting your hike in a lush valley, pristine but for a dirt road contouring the base, then entering a jungle – indigenous Afro-montane forest – and picking your way across moss-covered boulders and past crystalline cascades, the outside world shut out by a canopy of branches. At some point, the jungle fizzles out, leaving you at the upper reaches of a deep ravine with views across the valley. Before long, you emerge onto a plateau carpeted with fragrant indigenous shrub and expansive views across the Table Mountain massif. Perfect silence broken only my frogs and the trickle of water. A short walk to the escarpment and the boom of surf drift up from far below and you find yourself staring out across the Atlantic, seaboard peaks to the left and right. These are the sight and sounds I experienced the other day when hiking up Table Mountain, and it once again left me in awe as to the diversity of terrain and settings found on Table Mountain. Each setting exudes a distinct mood or atmosphere, accentuating the differences in setting. For me, this diversity ranks as one of the best things about Table Mountain hiking. The mystery and gloom of the jungle. the vastness of the summit plateau, the grandeur of cliffs, the ever-changing views – all this combines to create a rounded hiking experience. No two Table Mountain hikes are quite the same due to the diversity in terrain that makes up the mountain. Taking the time to absorb the changes in vegetation, topography and perspectives will enhance your Table Mountain hiking experience.