Photo of the week – January week #3: Southern Apostles

Table Mountain hikes

View north from the summit of Separation Buttress, Table Mountain in the distance.

Table Mountain hiking encompasses much more than gaining the world-renowned tabletop summit of Table Mountain. The ‘Table’ might be the famous part of the mountain, but it only constitutes about 5% of the Table Mountain massif’s total surface area. And just like standing on the Eiffel Tower would give you a sense of achievement but not necessarily the best views of the tower, so it is with the tabletop.

Extending south (behind) Table Mountain’s tabletop is a chain of peaks known as the 12 Apostles, all of it part of Table Mountain, but partially detached from the summit mass. These peaks average around three-quarters the height of the ‘Table’ and offer unique views of the mountain. The Apostles are less frequented by hikers, so they offer an ideal environment for the true nature lover and those looking for peace, quiet and solitude – more so along the southern Apostles, the least frequented part of the mountain. Several Table Mountain hikes lead to the area, all of them involving a fair amount of distance. The views from the summits of some of the Apostles rank as the best viewpoints on the mountain: Grootkop, Kleinkop, Frastration Cracks, Judas Peak, Separation Buttress, Llandudno Peak and Corridor Buttress all offer stunning views and fresh angles onto the surroundings. One of the highlights is seeing Table Mountain’s tabletop stretched out in the distance, corner to corner.

In my opinion, the southern Apostles offer the best Table Mountain hikes, but only if you’re a nature-lover as opposed to a peak-bagger. For the adventurer and explorer, several challenging routes lead into the area, offering the mind-bending experience of adventure in dramatic surroundings in pristine nature and off the beaten track.

Best to make use of a competent and experienced Table Mountain guide to get the most out of the area. Few hikers ever venture out there, so you can’t bargain on meeting others for help and directions.