Few hikers bother with Cleft Peak. Located a short distance beyond the heads of Skeleton Gorge and Nursery Ravine on the Back Table, it does not beg exploration or ascent, yet it offers unusual and panoramic views to the inquisitive souls who opt to trudge up to its rocky summit. Here’s yet another example why Table Mountain hiking constitutes far more than gaining the “Table”. The 360-degrees views from thew summit of humble Cleft Peak amply compensates for the bushy slog up from the main trail running linking Skeleton Gorge and Nursery Ravine. The summit cone is a dissected rock mass consisting of intriguing fissures, nooks and crannies – the type of topography India Jones likes to probe around in on a Sunday afternoon. Views extend north across Junction Peak to the tabletop summit of Table Mountain, east across the Cape flats and Country mountains, south across the Peninsula and west over the historic reservoirs, the 12 Apostles and Atlantic Ocean. And if you know your way around, you can traverse the peak from east to west so you don’t need to backtrack along familiar terrain. It’s a great vantage point from which to get a bird eye’s view of the Back Table with its undulating terrain. Several Table Mountain hikes leads to the base of Cleft Peak, so it makes for a pleasant aside to a hike.
Hiking Table Mountain in the company of a competent and experienced Table Mountain guide enables you to get the most of the mountain. Many of the best viewpoint are located a short distance off the main trails, from where they appear nondescript or ordinary.