A delightful route up the southernmost extremity of the Table Mountain range, topping out at some of the best viewpoints on the mountain. Lots of solitude, so ample opportunity to connect with nature. Does not gain the famous tabletop summit of Table Mountain, but offers distant views of the tabletop as well as superb angles onto the whole mountain.
Grade: A+ (with B and C variations)
Time: 4.5 hours (round trip; no cable car option)
Cost: R1500 per person
Llandudno Ravine leads up the 12 Apostles (a chain of peaks extending behind the famous tabletop summit) at the furthest point from the tabletop. It does not gain the “Table”. However, it offers some of the best views and vantage points on the entire Table Mountain range, as well as much nature and solitude, as few people hike this part of the mountain. You get unusual and sensational views of Table Mountain itself as well as the Cape Peninsula and Atlantic coast. The hiking is varied and exciting, involving some scrambling and a few bits of light exposure to heights. The route is ideal for avid hikers who’s already done a route to the “Table” and want a second hike to explore more of the mountain, get further off-the-beaten track and see different views.
Llandudno Ravine can be varied at two points along the way to include more challenging and adventurous hiking. The first is via Hout Bay Corner about midway up; and the second a bit further on via Llandudno Buttress. These options involve more scrambling, trickier scrambling, more exposure to heights and rugged terrain (bush / loose rock). Hout Bay Corner is the more challenging of the two and some sections necessitates the use of a rope: no experience required, just a decent head for heights and a sense of adventure.
Once on top, there are two vantage points that offer brilliant panoramic views: Llandudno Peak and Judas Peak. Views from these locations really put the Table Mountain range in perspective; they’re great places from which to complete your perception of the lie of the land. If you’re fit and up for a long day, then it’s possible to hike along the spine of the Apostles to eventually (after 4 to 6 hours) gain the upper cable station located on the famous tabletop summit, where you will be overjoyed with the prospect of a cable car down.
Llandudno Ravine (or one of its variations, if you’re adventurous) will delight those who enjoy pristine wilderness, communion with nature and exploring off-the-beaten track. The views and adventure options only further enhance this. Rarely have I encountered other hikers on Llandudno Ravine (and never on the variations), so you usually have the mountain all to yourself.