Table Mountain hikes: what views do you want? – 20 May 2016

Different Table Mountain hikes offer different views. There are basically three views, on the ascent, and with hundreds of variations on these: sea views, city views and inland views / jungle setting. Let’s briefly look at each.

Routes leading up the 12 Apostles (a chain of peals extending behind the famous table top summit of Table Mountain, and considered part of Table Mountain) offer sea views on the way up. This side of the mountain is quieter and remoter, allowing you to experience more nature and solitude, peace and quiet. India Venster, one of the best half-day routes to the summit, offers city views along the first two-thirds and sea views along the latter third, so a great option if you can’t make up your mind about what views you prefer.

Routes leading up the famous front face of Table Mountain offer city views on the ascent. Platteklip Gorge and the first two-thirds of India Venster are examples. Views face north, encompassing Table Bay and the first stretch of the west coast of Africa along with the city center and Lion’s Head. Hiking Table Mountain with the city at your feet is for some the ultimate way to experience the mountain.

Skeleton Gorge serves as an example of a route that offers jungle setting / inland views on the ascent. Forest reminiscent of equatorial jungle cover the lower eastern slopes of Table Mountain, extending up the ravines, so routes leading up this side start out under a canopy and offer inland views above the tree line, about midway up the mountain. If you’re not into jungles, then don’t bother with this side of the mountain. The advantage of hiking up this side is that by the time you reach the upper cable station you will have had views in all directions, the sea views only obtained at the upper station, where it is typically crowded.

Different views and vegetation, topography and moods, endow Table Mountain hiking with diversity and broader appeal. Table Mountain hikes differ greatly in character, and views are to a large extent what determines a person’s enjoyment of a route. Making use of a Table Mountain guide assists with route selection, which optimizes your experience of the mountain.