The Twelve Apostles is a chain of peaks extending behind the famous tabletop summit of Table Mountain. It’s considered part of Table Mountain despite being separated by a deep ravine. Each of the peaks represents an Apostle, though there are anything from 15 to 19 peaks, depending on what you count as a peak; most people agree on 17 peaks.
Many Table Mountain hikes lead up the Apostles, each different in character to the others. The easiest, Kasteelspoort, follows a well-defined path consisting of rock steps and the odd bit of scrambling with very mild exposure to heights. The hardest, Slangolie Crag, involves much as well as tricky scrambling that necessitates the use of a rope, and also involves exposure to heights along with rugged terrain (bush / loose rock). The diversity of terrain, flora and views for which Table Mountain hiking is known, is well represented on the Apostles. Different routes offer different angles onto the mountain, all featuring sea views on the ascent.
The Apostles’ average height is about two-thirds that of Table Mountain, and the distance you top out depends on which Apostle you climb, so there is some height to gain when you get to the summit of the Apostles and also some distance, ranging from 1 hour to 4 hours’ hiking. This portion of the hike leads through charming surroundings sprinkled with topographical gems and superb views.
Table Mountain hiking offers far more than what reviews and write-ups of the evergreen Platteklip Gorge route (quickest and easiest route up the mountain) lead you to believe. With so many Table Mountain hikes to choose from, why would you consider tackling the mountain via the Apostles? First and foremost, for more nature: peace, quiet, solitude. You see and hear less of the city, you encounter fewer people and you are treated to glorious views, sea and mountain, along the way. Routes are more strenuous than other options, so not suitable if you’re not in at least reasonable shape. For those looking for wilderness and adventure, the Apostles are unrivalled.
Once known as the Castle Mountains, and before that the Gable Mountains, this dissected bastion of Table Mountain offers some of the best views and sights that Table Mountain hiking offers.