Great as the views from the summit of Table Mountain might be (on a clear day), it’s the actual hike that most people remember and reminisce in years to come. It’s where are the personal growth occurs, and where stories come into being, and where you engage with the mountain rather than merely using it as a pedestal to gaze into the distance. The old and borderline hackneyed adage, Life’s a journey and not a destination, certainly holds true when it comes to hiking Table Mountain. For some, it’s all about ‘bagging’ a peak and getting to the top as quick as possible to be able to say they climbed Table Mountain and to tick it off on their list of peaks to conquer. Platteklip Gorge is the recommended route for them – the quickest and easiest route to the summit, but also the least scenic and exciting. For everyone else, there are around 30 other routes to choose from, depending on your fitness level, senses of adventure, personal preferences and experience.
Most Table Mountain hikes take a meandering course to the summit, allowing you to absorb the surroundings and get acquainted with the terrain. That’s the whole point. The idea is not to gobble down your pizza and satiate yourself in the quickest possible way, but to savour each bite and enjoy the different flavours. Exactly the same with hiking Table Mountain. The terrain and flora offer much variety, and the views along the way are sometimes better than from the summit (both outward and back onto the mountain – not the case from the summit). Table Mountain walks gives you the opportunity to relax and connect with nature. Dramatic surroundings, exotic smells, the trickle of streams and the warble of birds all combine to sooth the senses. The sense of achievement that awaits on the summit is but the icing on the cake – and the views from the summit, the cherry.