While Table Montain hiking offers more than views, it’s a pretty important component to a happy hike, at least if it’s your first and only time you’ll be climbing the mountain. Different routes offer different views. It’s generally accepted among local hikers, and I agree, the Platteklip Gorge, despite its allure of being the quickest and easiest route to the summit, offers the least views. If you want the best views, you have to be prepared for a more strenuous route or a route that involves scrambling and cliff edges along the way.
Hiking Table Mountain from different sides offers different views. The lush eastern side offers jungle setting and inland views on the ascent; the Atlantic side offers sea views. A route like India Venster wraps around the mountain, offering city and sea views. Views are not only outward, but also back onto the mountain. Some routes give unique angles onto the famous tabletop summit, or of imposing topography.
Table Mountain hikes vary greatly in the views they offer. Whle we all enjoy good views, some views are more dramatic to certain people than others. Asking’what Table Mountain hiking route offers the best views is like asking what are the best pizza toppings. It’s quite subjective. Some people respond more to their immediate surroundings – the lie of the land and the genrral landscape and vegetation – whole others scan the horizon for visual stimilation.
As a rough guideline, Skeleton Gorge offers jungle setting and inland views, the 12 Apostle routes offer sea views, Platteklip Gorge offer city views, India Venster city and sea views. If you appreciate dramtic landcapes, India Venster will impress. If you’re a seeker of silence and solitude, like to enjoy your views in the company of peace and quiet, head for the 12 Apostles.
Whatever route you choose, try not to judge the experience of hiking Table Mountain solely on the quality and amount of views you got. The mountain is often covered in cloud for days at a time, and some of the best experiences are those to be had in the absence of distracting views.