Hiking Table Mountain in the rain – 27 May 2013

Yes, hiking Table Mountain in the rain is possible, but not very pleasant. Depends on the type of rain; depends on the quality, and quantity, of your rain gear; depends on your hiking experience and your expectations and the climate you live in. For example, for a Londoner (used to atrocious weather!) with some hiking experience, dressed in a waterproof rain-jacket (most rain-jackets are NOT waterproof), hiking up Table Mountain in a windless rain will be more enjoyable than for an Australian (used to hot, dry weather) with no outdoor experience, dressed in leaking waterproofs hiking up Table Mountain in the driving rain – driven sideways by a cutting wind.

If it’s your last day in Cape Town – or your only available day to hike Table Mountain – and the cable car is closed due to strong wind and you’re determined to see the summit and get the sense of achievement from hiking up Table Mountain, then don your waterproofs, square your shoulders and follow me. We won’t be doing a challenging route, as the weather conditions would render even the easier routes challenging, and we’re not going to expect distant views and serene lunch spots atop sun-drenched outcrops, but we’ll be looking forward to seeing Table Mountain’s wild side; see it throw a temper tantrum and witness streams spring up from nowhere, cascading down sheer cliffs and converge to thunder down ravines lower down. We will see the mountainside streaked with waterfalls; and we will experience all this to the clicking and chirping of a multitude of frogs and without encountering anyone along the way.

Hiking Table Mountain in the rain without a mountain guide or expert knowledge of the mountain is not recommended, and you stand a good chance of paying dearly for your folly. The terrain offers challenge enough; add rain, wind and mist, and you’re in a pretty hostile environment – so a competent Table Mountain guide comes in handy. Also, he knows the whereabouts of all the cozy, dry rock-shelters to brew tea…

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