What is the average group size?
The average group size is 4 people. Maximum group size per guide for combined groups is 7 people and for single groups, 9 people. We do our best to ensure compatibility between different groups with regards fitness and experience. We allocate two guides for single group bookings more than 9 people. Private hikes (no one else joins your group) are available on request and involve an additional cost. Please enquire for details.
What’s with the weather?
Perfect hiking days on Table Mountain are not as common as you might think. It’s often windy, very hot, bitterly cold, wet or cloudy (cloud on the mountain means limited or no views). These conditions do not mean we can’t hike. Some of the most spectacular hiking occurs in the howling Southeaster wind, when the famous Tablecloth cloud-formation engulfs the mountain. Cloud or mist lends an air of mystery to the mountain and creates surreal surroundings. We operate in most weather conditions, so it is up to you to inform us if you have spare days available in the event of less-than-perfect weather. Naturally, we won’t hike in the driving rain (although we’ve had masochists) or if adverse conditions make a route unsafe. If conditions are dubious, we level with you at the outset of the hike as to the chances of getting views.
What must I bring / wear?
You don’t need fancy hiking boots, trekking poles or hydration gadgets. The kit list below includes the essentials:
- Water (at least 1,5 liters)
- A warm layer
- Comfortable sport shoes (running shoes / sneakers are fine)
- A daypack
- Sunscreen and hat
Please avoid wearing the following:
- Jeans or dresses / skirts
- Excessive or expensive jewellery
Depending on the route and weather, we might advise you to bring additional water, lunch, rain-jacket, etc. On top-end scrambling routes, we supply ropes and safety gear. We have spare hats, daypacks and waterproofs, so let us know if you need anything.
We are flexible in this regard, but do recommend a starting time based on the weather and time of year. A late start on a hot day ruins the experience. In summer, an early start is imperative for getting the most out of the hike. There’s more shade at that time, the air is cooler, and the light is better for taking pictures. It’s hard to enjoy your surroundings and appreciate the view when you’re sweltering under the blazing African sun, struggling to breathe and streaming with sweat. But we realize that you’re on holiday and that you might not be an early bird; as long as you understand and accept the implications of hitting the trail too late on a hot day.
Must I book in advance?
If considering a private hike between October and April, then yes. For standard hikes there is little need to book weeks in advance, but feel free to do so. Booking well ahead of time ensures availability on your route choice. Of course, we do accommodate last-minute bookings, but cannot guarantee space on your preferred route. Over peak times like Easter and New Year, we are often fully booked, so best plan ahead if visiting Cape Town during these periods.
When / how do I pay?
Payment in cash or with credit card on the day of the hike. We take no deposits, and there is no charge if we have to cancel due to bad weather. A 75% cancellation charge applies if you cancel less than 24 hours of the meeting / pick-up time for reasons other than bad weather.
How do I get to the starting point?
If you don’t have a rental car, we offer free pick-up and drop-off in the city area. Our cars take up to 4 people. Since it’s a courtesy service, spaces are allotted on a first-come-first-served basis (first 4 people to book for any given day). Those who miss out on our courtesy pick-up: we’re happy to sponsor your taxi fare (city area) to the start of the hike. Return to your hotel for your account.
What is the elevation gain on a hike up Table Mountain?
700 meters to 1000 meters (2300 feet to 3300 feet), depending on the route.
What is the security situation on the mountain?
It changes all the time. A lot is being done to stamp out crime on the mountain and things have improved as a result. Rest assured that we keep an eagle-eye on the situation and remain abreast of any changes, positive or negative. We are happy to report that in all the years we’ve been hiking the mountain, both in the line of guiding and leisure, we have not once been accosted by muggers.
How fit must I be to hike up Table Mountain?
For optimal enjoyment, you need at least a moderate (average) fitness level. If unfit, you need determination, motivation and enthusiasm to compensate for the lack of fitness. If you rarely exercise, you will take strain, possibly a lot – even on the easiest route. But if determined and prepared to push physically, you will very likely complete the route and stand victorious on the summit.
What about snakes?
Snakes shouldn’t be a concern. They’re out there, but rarely show themselves. We spend a lot of time on the mountain and seldom come across venomous species.
Do I really need a guide?
Depends. If you want to get the most out of the mountain – if you want to optimize enjoyment and safety – then the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. If you’re happy with a second-rate experience and willing to shoulder the inherent risks, then ‘no’. A competent and experienced mountain guide not only ensures your safety, but also brings the mountain to life through discussions around mountain-related topics. A guide also ensures that you see the best views and experience the most beautiful scenery within your abilities.
Will we see animals?
Although leopards and lions once roamed the mountain, the only sizeable mammals that remain are porcupine, genet, mongoose, klipspringer (antelope), caracal and an alien mountain goat (Himalayan tahr) – all rarely seen. Almost four centuries of settlement at the Cape has decimated the wildlife. We are likely to see rock hyraxes, kestrels, agamas (lizard) and sunbirds, but nothing that could trample or eat you.
What are the most popular hikes?
Most people prefer to keep the hike under 5 hours and opt for a cable car descent. As for routes, Kasteelspoort, Platteklip Gorge and India Venster are the most popular, for various reasons.
I suffer from fear of heights. Will I be okay?
Yes. There are routes with little or no exposure to heights.
Are there routes suitable for children?
Can we take the cable car up and hike down?
Yes, but it is not recommended. Firstly, hiking down doesn’t give you a sense of achievement. And secondly, having seen the views from the summit makes the descent feel like a pointless plod. Also, hiking down might be easier on the lungs, but can be tough on the knees and often requires more balance.