I’ve found that there are mainly 5 motivations to hiking Table Mountain: views, nature, exercise, adventure and achievement – in no particular order of importance. Rarely is it only a single motivation that impels a person to leg it up the mountain, but rather combinations of motivations. An interesting exercise is to rate (out of 10) how important each motivation is to you. For the majority, views rank high up on the list, closely followed by nature and sense of achievement. Let’s take a closer look at what I consider the two major motivations for hiking Table Mountain: views and nature.
I’ve often contemplated the anatomy of a great view. Different people respond to different views. That’s why it’s impossible to pinpoint “the best” viewpoint on Table Mountain. I could easily draw up a top-10 list – and with some thought, come up with a top-3 list – but these would not be definitive. For me, views are more about the surroundings, the landscape, the topography and even the mood or atmosphere of a place. The view into the shadowed and mysterious recesses of the indigenous forest on Table Mountain’s eastern and southern slopes can be as intriguing and engaging as views to the horizon from a lofty peak. There are many types of views you get when hiking Table Mountain: onto the surrounding landscape and back onto the mountain itself. In the presence of cloud, views become dynamic: they change all the time and tends to accentuate your immediate surroundings by blotting out what’s around the mountain and the horizon. While Table Mountain hikes offer a range of superb views, there’s more to the experience than seeing – and that’s experiencing. And that’s where nature comes into the picture.
Table Mountain packs a lot of nature. Despite its proximity to a bustling city, large parts of the mountain remain virtually pristine, where nature still reigns supreme, and where you can hear the hiss of perfect silence. Table Mountain hiking is without doubt the best way to connect with the wilder side of the mountain. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and get off-the-beaten track, then there are many Table Mountain hikes that will exhilarate you. Dramatic rock-formations, diverse indigenous vegetation, dramatic topography, with streams and waterfalls in winter, pristine mountainscapes, lots of solitude, peace and quiet forms the essence of what Table Mountain hiking is all about. Lots of opportunity exist to get into a wilderness environment, far off-the-beaten track, in ravines and jungles and onto peaks where few people ever set foot.
Views and nature combine when hiking Table Mountain to create a multi-dimensional experience of the mountain you will remember for many years. And then there’s the other components – adventure, sense of achievement and exercise – that further enhances the experience.