Photo of the week – November week #1: Table Mountain hikes in the Blinkwater area

Just behind the western segment of the famous tabletop summit of Table Mountain, a deep ravine cuts into the side of the mountain, forming an amphitheatre of buttresses and ravines. Know as Blinkwater Ravine, it forms the division between the tabletop summit and the 12 Apostles, a chain of peaks extending behind Table Mountain and considered part of it. Several Table Mountain hiking routes lead up this portion of the mountain: Cairn Ravine, Grotto Ravine, Blinkwater Ravine, Blinkwater Gully, Blind Gully and Porcupine North Face. As Table Mountain hikes, they are seldom done, but offer some of the most attractive and exciting hiking on Table Mountain. The area is marked by geological drama: the views onto the featured landscape rival those out across the Atlantic. Peace, quiet and solitude can be found along these routes, with a strong sense prevailing of being in a remote wilderness. Civilization falls away already on the approach, and before long you find yourself immersed in pristine nature. This is what I call ‘Table Mountain hiking unplugged’: Table Mountain hikes that allow you to experience the essence of the mountain, undefiled by the presence of the city. While the city side of the mountain offers its own charms associated with Cape Town and while the mountain remains steeped in history, hiking Table Mountain up the Blinkwater area showcases the wild side of the mountain. (c)