Photo of the week – July week #1: Hiking Table Mountain in the mist

Table Mountain hiking in the mist

Hiking Table Mountain in the mist can be an unforgettable experience. Sure, views are nice, but not all is lost if the mountain is capped with cloud, as is often the case. Mist creates surreal and otherworldly landscapes in which the lack of views accentuates the impressions of your immediate surroundings. A bit of sunlight slanting in from one side can create magical atmospheric phenomena like Brocken Spectres (small circular rainbows enclosing the viewer’s shadow) and mistbows (colorless rainbows). Table Mountain’s landscape offers enough to engage and stimulate the mind so that when cloud blots out the views, there is no need to despair. The best thing about views is that it forces you to focus on the mountain itself rather than the distant horizon and all that is away from the mountain. Plants and rock-formations take on greater significance, and sounds are strangely amplified. If the mountain is covered in cloud from the outset, heading up a route that offers sculpted rock-formations along the way will ensure that you get the most out of your Table Mountain hike. Needless to say, mist complicates route-finding, so be sure to go with someone who knows the mountain well or make use of an experienced Table Mountain guide.

Don’t curse the mist and don’t lament the lack of views, but rather look afresh at the terrain and its constituent elements, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the silence and / or the sounds of nature. Table Mountain is far more than the views from the summit.