Photo of the week – August week #2: Table Mountain hikes and the presence of cloud

Certain types of cloud formations can actually enhance your Table Mountain hiking experience, adding to the dramatic topography through movement and the accentuation of natural features like peaks and pinnacles, buttresses and ravines. It also creates the effect of making you feel much higher that you really are. Furthermore, clouds is in a constant state of flux, which means that your views change all the time – it’s dynamic as opposed to static in clear conditions. Spring and autumn sees fog roll in over the city from the Atlantic (southwest) and piles up against the mountain, creating visually aesthetic formations while blotting out the city and all sign s of habitation, adding to the feeling of being out in nature away from civilization. It also deadens the hum and drone of traffic drifting up from the inner city. Sometimes, the fog bank is so thick that the warmer air it meets overland fails to burn it off, resulting in it creeping up the mountain, sometimes engulfing it like a tsunami. Needless to say, this is a striking sight that elevates hiking Table Mountain to an almost spiritual experience.

Another cloud formation that can enhance a Table Mountain hike is the Tablecloth, a veil of cloud that pours over Table Mountain during times when the Southeaster wind is blowing. Because its formation occurs only in windy conditions, not everyone appreciates its beauty. But if you don’t mind getting pummelled by the wind, then the raw energy and visual appeal of this cloud formation will invigorate you and greatly add to the experience of hiking Table Mountain.

Table Mountain hikes often feature cloud formations as a highlight, so never baulk at the prospect of hiking Table Mountain when there’s cloud around. Determine the type of cloud likely to be encountered on the day (this is where an experienced mountain guide comes in handy) and then decide whether to proceed or postpone.