The nature of hiking Table Mountain – 25 September 2020

Table Mountain rises sheer from a city of millions. And a cable car allows easy access to the summit. How much nature then can you expect to find on this iconic landmark? The answer surprises most people, even locals. Table Mountain abounds with pristine nature. Peace and quiet can be found round every corner. Pristine wilderness is never far away. Solitude awaits those seeking genuine communion with nature. And the best way to experience all this is by hiking Table Mountain.

Despite its proximity to a city, Table Mountain packs enough wilderness for even the most passionate nature lover. It is the one thing that gets me every single time when hiking Table Mountain: the wildness, the grandeur, the solitude. Most people hike Table Mountain for the views; and while the views are incredible, the feeling of being far away from civilization, surrounded by pristine beauty, takes precedence over all else for me.

Different Table Mountain hiking routes offer different levels of immersion. If you appreciate wild nature and love getting off the beaten track, routes like Blind Gully, Porcupine Ravine, Woody Ravine, Kasteels Buttress, Hiddingh-Ascension, Dark Gorge to Ledges, Oudekraal Ravine and Llandudno Ravine will delight. Some of these routes rarely sees hikers, so you experience the mountain in its primal state, without the presence of others. These routes also offer different levels of adventure (scrambling and exposure to heights), so combine wilderness and adventure into a single experience.

nature hiking
Unique angle onto the famous tabletop summit of Table Mountain from the remote southern Apostles – an outlaying bastion of Table Mountain.

Most Table Mountain hikes lead through a pristine environment of indigenous flora, sculpted rocks and perfect silence broken only by the clicking of frogs or the burble of a stream. Large tracts of mountain remain unvisited by people, where you cannot see the city and civilization feels a thousand miles away. These solitudes offer a perfect space in which to soak up your surroundings and familiarize yourself with the bewitching diversity that occurs on Table Mountain. While most visitors are thronging the upper cable station precinct (which occupies the western tip of the famous tabletop summit) you get to experience the soul of the mountain through wandering along backwater trails. This is Table Mountain at its best. Devoid of the presence of man, you get an unrivalled experience of the mountain that transcends the sense impression gained from views.

If you love nature and want an authentic experience of Table Mountain, or you want to get off the beaten track and have an enquiring mind; if you have a sense of adventure and of exploration, or you desire peace and quiet in wilderness, then hiking Table Mountain is a must. The reward of a genuine and meaningful experience can only be gained through tackling the mountain on foot.