Photo of the week – October week #3: Table Mountain hikes along the 12 Apostles

Slangolie Buttress, Corridor Buttress and Grootkop draws the eye when ever viewed from anywhere along the coastal road between Camps Bay and Hout Bay. These prominent three Apostles offers some superb hiking packed with interesting topographical features, not to mention jaw-dropping views. One could spend a long summer’s day just circumventing these peaks, savouring their striking rock-formations. Several Table Mountain hiking routes can be used to access these three buttresses, while variations exist on exploring them. To get the most out of the landscape, it’s best to structure a circular route so that you don’t double-up on any stretch of trail. There are enough Table Mountain hikes to achieve this, if you know about them. For a grand tour of these three august peaks, I suggest approaching along the Pipe Track and ascending Oudekraal Ravine, then flowing the Atlantic Traverse around to the south side of Grootkop before latching on to the main Apostle summit trail and following this to a point where a faint trail leads off left to the prow0like summit of Corridor Buttress. Back on the main Apostle trail, follow this onto Slangolie Buttress, where a smallish trail leads off left to the Cracks of Tranquillity, a natural labyrinth of sculpted rock. Woody Ravine a bit further north along the Apostle summit trail makes for an interesting descend, lending diversity to the hike through its forested lower sections. While this route combo might not take you to the famous tabletop summit of Table Mountain, it provides spectacular views of it and of the rest of the Table Mountain massif, while showcasing a wild and pristine part of the mountain, some dramatic topography and unrivalled views. Hiking Table Mountain is much more than merely gaining the summit plateau (the “Table”): it’s about immersing yourself in nature, exploring, learning, discovering and savouring the unique environment in which Table Mountain is set. (c)