Hiking Table Mountain the other day via an obscure route in Orange Kloof, I fell in love with the mountain all over again. Just when I thought I had experienced all the moods and facets of the mountain, I discover yet another aspect to its topography. You’d think that thousands of Table Mountain hikes up practically all the routes in and in all weather conditions would leave my sensibilities rather dulled when it comes to the mountain. Not so. Picking my way up the lush Frustration Gorge, and scrambling up the delightful crest of Frustration Buttress, I found myself enraptured by the views, the atmosphere of the place, the pristine environment and the primordial solitude.
The hike started out up a ravine choked with indigenous forest. Lush, gloomy, mysterious – the greenness intense, the silence broken only by the trickle of a stream. Near the head of the ravine, views opened up across a verdant valley bounded by craggy mountain slopes. Reaching the top of the ravine provided expansive views across the Table Mountain massif, with the iconic tabletop summit in the middle distance, framing the picture. A 20-minute walk across pristine and fragrant shrubland punctuated with sculpted outcrops of rock and the land fell away in front of us to the Atlantic Ocean, the dull boom of surf drifting up from far below. A more diverse range of topography and views is hardly possible within such a short hike (about 3 hours). And not a soul to be seen or heard; no sounds other than birds and the burble of streams and the sough of wind through reeds and tall grass.
The diversity of Table Mountain hikes means that you won’t get blasé about hiking Table Mountain – not even after years of hiking. Add changeable weather to the mix and you have a lifetime of fun and discovery on your doorstep.