The Twelve Apostles is a chain of peaks extending behind the famous tabletop summit of Table Mountain. It’s considered part of Table Mountain and offers superb hiking off the beaten track. Many routes lead up the Apostles, the easiest Kasteelspoort, the hardest involving much scrambling, heights and rugged terrain (bush / loose rock). Formerly known as the Kasteelberge (Castle Mountains), the range comprises around 17 peaks, of which 12 are meant to be Apostles.
So why consider hiking Table Mountain up the Apostles as opposed to the famous front face or from the Botanical Gardens (via the evergreen Skeleton Gorge route)? First and foremost, you get more nature and solitude on the Apostles than anywhere else on the mountain. If you’re a nature-lover or you love to get off-the-beaten track, then this part of the Table Mountain will delight. Table Mountain hikes offer a variety of views and topography as well as vegetation on the ascent. If you prefer sea views, then that’s another reason for choosing the Apostles. The variety of routes allows you to choose one that exactly matches your experience, skill and preferences.
While all Apostle routes theoretically terminate on the Apostle skyline, we almost always follow through to eventually top out on the famous tabletop summit of Table Mountain, in the vicinity of the upper cable station. So Table Mountain hiking via the Apostles does not mean that you will miss out on the iconic “Table”.
Apostle routes are quite long and strenuous, involving considerable elevation gain and distance, so it’s not for the unfit. You need to be in fairly decent shape to enjoy even the easiest route. All the routes offer superb views with much nature, and takes in multiple viewpoints while traversing interesting and varied terrain. The routes get morning shade, so an early start in summer (5.30am) allows you to gain 60 to 70% of Table Mountain’s height in the shade – a huge bonus.
For those looking for a wilderness experience combined with adventure, hiking Table Mountain up the Apostles offers the best routes. Most of these Table Mountain hikes rarely see people, so you get to spend 4 to 6 hours in pristine nature with hardly any sign of civilization.