Hiking Table Mountain in winter: Waterfalls – 11 June 2013

One of the many delights of hiking Table Mountain in winter is the occurrence of waterfalls. Ravines and dry watercourses spring, especially after heavy downpours, when white ribbons of water streak the mountainside. The best time to hike in winter is directly after a cold front, when there is lots of rainwater runoff and the air is crisp and flush. The mountain seems alive as streams course and cascade down the mountain, gurgling through the vegetation, splattering on rocks, thundering down defiles. The sound of trickling water finds your ears round every corner. An inducement for hiking Table Mountain in winter is the prospect of finding an imposing waterfall – and they are out there if you know where to look and your timing is right. Because Table Mountain’s slopes are so steep, rainwater runoff is short and intense, so waterfalls flow in full spate directly after heavy and prolonged rain. Below follows the locations of a few accessible waterfalls: Silverstream Ravine where it crosses the Contour Path; Platteklip Gorge just below the Contour Path; bottom of Blinkwater Ravine; Hell’s Gates in Disa Gorge; Skeleton Gorge where it crosses the Contour Path.

Several Table Mountain hikes can be adjusted to include waterfalls en route to the summit. Rain is no reason to stay off the mountain: you just need to be properly equipped and prepared as well as be more sensible about the route you choose to do. If you don’t know the mountain well, go with someone who does, or make use of a Table Mountain guide.

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