Photo of the week – July week #4: Table Mountain forests

Table Mountain hiking is not only varied in terms of terrain and views, but also vegetation. While most of the mountain is covered in low shrub, indigenous forest can be found on the lower southern and eastern slopes of  the mountain, and extending up the ravines on those slopes. Known as Afro-montane forest, this forest type is reminiscent of tropical jungle. If you enjoy jungle settings, Table Mountain hikes leading up the south and east side of the mountain is recommended. If you don’t appreciate jungle settings, rather head for the western or northern side of the mountain.

One of the most popular hiking routes on Table Mountain is Skeleton Gorge. The first half of the route leads up a forested ravine – charming and mysterious to some, but oppressive and monotonous to others. There are no views along this stretch, except a short distance up and down the ravine. The route eventually emerges from under the canopy onto open shrubland, offering expansive views towards the south and east.

Many Table Mountain walks lead through these forests, where one can take in the serenity and mystery without much physical exertion. At first glance, forests appear monotonous and nondescript, but close inspection will reveal nuances in forest types. The deep jungle exudes a primordial atmosphere that can only be perceived when you sit quietly and absorb the surroundings. Jungles also serve to accentuate the views when you eventually get them.

Table Mountain hiking is all about diversity and variety, and Table Mountain’s Afro-montane forests goes a long way to add to this.