Hiking Table Mountain: how to optimize the experience – 12 January 2017

Table Mountain is an iconic landmark that in many ways define Cape Town and its inhabitants, so once you’ve decided to hike up (as opposed to taking the cablway), there are a few things to consider:

  • When to go. Weather greatly impacts on the enjoyment of hiking Table Mountain. The mountain generates a micro-climate marked by cloud and wind, both not conducive to enjoyable hiking. Wind means cableway closure, necessitating a hike-down, tough and not fun. Cloud means limited or no views. Bad weather can also make the hike dangerous.
  • What route. There are about 65 Table Mountain hiking routes, so no shortage of choice. Route choice can make or break the experience. Different routes offer different terrain, challenges, adventure levels, views and topography. Choose the wrong route and you might miss out on aspects of the mountain you might have appreciated; or you might endanger yourself and others by choosing a route above your abilities.
  • Who to go with. Despite its location next to a city, Table Mountain is not to be trifled with. It’s still a mountain, and a pretty wild one at that. Areas of pristine wilderness still exist on Table Mountain, where few people, if any, ever set foot. If you want to maximize your experience of the mountain, go with a guide – it’s a simple as that. While most people (note: most, not all) manage okay on the quickest and easiest route, Platteklip Gorge, it’s the least scenic and exciting route and falls short of doing Table Mountain justice.

A competent, knowledgeable and experienced mountain guide allows you to get the most out of your Table Mountain experience. You learn about the mountain’s fascinating history, fauna, flora and geology while getting to explore the mountain along the best route within your abilities and preferences. Also, making use of a guide ensures your safety.

Many Table Mountain hikes lead past hidden gems: caves or spectacular vantage points or rock-formations or rare plant species that are easy to miss if hiking without a guide. A conscientious guide will take the time to show you these gems, and will always endeavour to take you up the most scenic and exciting route in line with your experience, abilities and preferences / interests. We at Hike Table Mountain take pride in sharing the mountain with others and always try our best to accommodate each person’s fitness level, abilities and expectations. We encourage hikers to explore off-the-beaten track where the true Table Mountain can best be experienced. If you’re adventurous and like to push your limits, we choose a route that will challenge you to ensure you get your adventure fix. If you’re averse to crowds, we take the path less travelled to ensure you don’t meet other hikers along the way.

Take the ever-popular Lion’s Head hike as an example: the standard route can get a tad crowded on weekends, more so in summer, so if you’re up for a bit more challenge, we take you up a secret route that avoids the crowds. Or if you prefer more adventure, we take you up a route that involves more scrambling and heights. This is only one way in which we strive to give you the best possible experience of the mountains around Cape Town.

Hiking Table Mountain reveals the mountain in all its grandeur, and by heeding the abovementioned advice, you can experience this wonder of nature in all its splendour.

(c) www.hiketablemountain.co.za