Views are not a given: Hiking Table Mountain in the cloud – 26 August 2018

Table Mountain gets a lot of cloud. Mountains generate cloud, and Cape Town’s iconic landmark is no exception. A lot of people visit Cape Town in the warmer months (October to April) expecting the mountain to be cloud-free everyday, all day. The reality is, a fair amount of people leave Cape Town after to 3-day stay without having seen Table Mountain. It follows that the chances of not having sweeping views while hiking Table Mountain is a real possibility.

While views greatly enhances a hike, they shouldn’t be the sole reason why you hike Table Mountain. Even in conditions of zero visibility, the mountain offers rewards: unique rock-formations, fascinating flora, peace and quiet, and of course the sense of achievement gained from hiking Table Mountain. Semi-cloud usually offers the most dramatic, surreal and atmospheric conditions, as the movement of cloud over the mountain combines with partial views to accentuate the mountain’s grandeur.

To optimize your chances of getting views when hiking Table Mountain, book your hike for early in your stay to allow for spare days in the event of cloudy conditions. If the forecast looks bad, we will contact you the day before the hike for an opportunity to postpone. Bear in mind that weather forecasts are not set in stone: they’re often wrong, for the better or the worse; so it could happen that we suggest postponement and then the weather turns out better than forecast, or we go ahead with the hike and then cloud rolls in earlier or thicker than forecast. Needless to say, we want you to have the best possible views, so we do our best matching your avaialble time slots with the best possible weather, drawing on several weather sites and combining those predictions with our own experience and knowledge of Table Mountain weather. We will always level with you at the outset of the hike if we suspect that cloud might cover the mountain in the course of the hike. But Table Mountian’s weather is notoriously unpredictable and capricious, so we sometimes get it wrong (though not often).

Table Mountain generates micro-climates. The summit gets about 4 times more rain than the famous front face of the mountain, so the chances of getting cloud on the summit are naturally much higher than at the base, or even midway up the mountain. It’s often the case that you set out in glorious conditions, only to summit in thick, moisture-laden cloud driven by gale-force wind. The weather often changes over the course of a hike, sometimes for the better, sometimes the worse. That’s part of the excitement of hiking Table Mountain. Accept clouds to be an integral part of mountains – and remind yourself that Table Mountain offers far more than just views, and that partial cloud often provides the most beautiful views – and you’ve taken a major step in getting the most out of your Table Mountain hike.

(c) www.hiketablemountain.co.za