“How long to get upstairs?”
Question by a German hiker wanting to know the duration of our proposed route up Table Mountain.
Hiking up Table Mountain can take anything from 25 minutes (time achieved by some trail-runners up the easiest route) to 34 days (time taken by an eighteenth-century expedition to survey the mountain and botanize along the way). The average times taken to the upper cable station along the two most popular routes – Platteklip Gorge and Skeleton Gorge (or ‘Skeletal George’, as our German hiker referred to it) – are 2 hours and 4 and a half hours respectively. The former route is the quickest and easiest way up Table Mountain, but also the least scenic and exciting; although better than taking the cable car to the summit, it doesn’t do Table Mountain justice as far as hiking goes. Skeleton Gorge is a much better route, but still not everyone’s cup of tea. There are longer routes both in time and distance that take in more of the mountain and offers more in the way of adventure. Hiking Table Mountain is not about getting to the top in a hurry, but rather to soak up the experience of being on a big mountain and to appreciate the unique flora and geology of Table Mountain; and to admire the views. If you’re in good shape, best to let your preferences and interests dictate route choice rather than time.