The four faces of Table Mountain – 24 June 2013

Table Mountain consists of four distinct sides, each offering unique views, vegetation, atmosphere, topography and sounds, adding much stimulation and diversity to Table Mountain hiking. Take sounds for example, often neglected in the presence of grand views or imposing topography, but noteworthy when hiking Table Mountain. Last Sunday saw me on a unfrequented route on the front face of Table Mountain – the side that overlooks the city. The hum of traffic was much less than on weekdays, and the wildness of my location brought with it a brooding silence. There I was, in the lap of nature, among rocks and ledges, cliffs and pinnacles rarely disturbed by the presence of man. Raw nature all around, undisturbed and ancient. Then, drifting up from the city far below, came the haunting toll of a church bell, absurdly incongruous in my wild surroundings. A week later I was climbing on the 12 Apostles, the west side of the mountain, clinging to the sheer cliffs of the buttress that had its base almost in the ocean, its slopes planing off to meet a rock shore. And rising up to those dizzy heights was the dull boom of heavy surf, broken only by the clangor of my climbing gear. A few days later, I found myself in the depths of an indigenous forest – a jungle – gloomy and mysterious, a stream murmuring nearby, birdsong in the canopy. That’s one of the aspects of Table Mountain hiking that fascinates me most, and it provides for several lifetimes of exploration and discovery.

(c) www.hiketablemountain.co.za