Photo of the week – December week #1: Southern Apostles

View south from the summit of Victoria Buttress.

View south from the summit of Victoria Buttress.

The Twelve Apostles are a chain of peaks extending behind the famous tabletop summit of Table Mountain and considered part of it. About 12 routes lead up the Apostles, most of them starting out from the Pipe Track, an arterial trail that contours along the foot of the Apostles as far south as Slangolie Ravine, from where an extension takes you a bit further south into Oudekraal Ravine. Few people venture beyond Oudekraal, the next route that carries occasional traffic being Llandudno Ravine on the bottom / southern end of the range. In between lies arguably the wildest and remotest part of Table Mountain due to its inaccessibility. In my opinion, some of the best Table Mountain hikes are located here. If you appreciate nature and solitude, and you have a sense of adventure, an inquisitive mind and a good fitness level, then this part of the mountain offers a multitude of charms and delights. Here, the mountain falls away into the sea with little sign of civilization. Hiking Table Mountain might not lead to the iconic tabletop summit, but allows you to experience the mountain in its most pristine state. Stately pinnacles, imposing cliffs and jungles ravines, this dissected bastion of Table Mountain is in many ways the essence of Table Mountain hiking. Routes like Bosch Kloof, Victoria Gully, Bosch Kloof Needle and Hairpin will change your notion of Table Mountain being tame due to its proximity to a city and the existence of a cableway to the top. Some of the best viewpoints can be found on this part of the mountain: the summits of Grootkop, Judas Peak and Llandudno Peak all command panoramic views and unusual angles onto the Table Mountain massif. Views and landscape aside, if you’re looking for peace and quiet, for unspoilt nature, for solitude, then the Southern Apostles will not disappoint. (c) www.hiketablemountain.co.za