Mention Table Mountain hiking and Platteklip Gorge invariably crops up in the conversation. As the most popular r0ute up Table Mountain, it has become synonymous to hiking Table Mountain. Because of its inclusion in all articles and literature relating to Table Mountain hikes, many people are under the impression that it’s the best route to the summit. Here are the basic facts about the route:
– It’s the easiest and quickest route to the summit of Table Mountain: no scrambling or exposure to heights, and the least amount of elevation gain of all Table Mountain hiking routes as well as covering the shortest distance.
– It’s the oldest route up Table Mountain. The first Europeans to climb the mountain gained the summit via this route.
– It’s the least scenic and exciting route. The hiking is tedious and the views limited. It’s better than taking the cable car to the summit (if you’re active-minded), but as afar as hiking goes, it doesn’t do Table Mountain justice.
– It’s usually used a the descent route when the cable car is closed due to strong wind.
– There are about 25 other Table Mountain hiking routes to choose from, all of them more scenic and exciting, but also more strenuous and / or challenging.
If you want to hike up Table Mountain without complication, challenge, adventure, scenery or discovery, or if you are in bad physical condition, or if you are short on time, or if you don’t care much about nature and mountains, then Platteklip Gorge is the route to do. For everyone else, best avoid it. Because of its monotony, it’s actually tougher mentally for some than more technical and adventurous routes. It serves the other Table Mountain hikes well as a descent route, when you’re usually tired from the ascent and you want to get down without challenge.
Platteklip Gorge should not be taken as being representative of Table Mountain hiking. It scratches the surface of what hiking on Table Mountain is all about. Even so, it is for some the most suitable route to the summit.