Table Mountain is bigger and wilder than you think – 3 January 2015

Most people view Table Mountain from the city / north side, not realizing that there’s a lot more mountain behind the famous tabletop façade. In fact, the celebrated “Table” constitutes only about 5% of the surface area of the Table Mountain massif. But if you drive around to the east side, where the Botanical Gardens are located, and to the west side past Camps Bay, you will get a better appreciation of its size – and hiking opportunities. Routes lead up from all sides, offering diverse environments, views and moods. No two Table Mountain hiking routes are alike: they each have a character of their own, like people.

In many ways, the famous tabletop summit is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Famous for its shape and location to a city, and highest part of the mountain, its western tip is the most visited part of the mountain due to the upper cable station located there. People fan out from there across the western segment of the “Table”, but beyond that the mountain remains terra incognita to around 99.9% of people who set foot on the summit. The small percentage who see more are those who hike up, and most of them ascend via the quickest and easiest route, which also happens to be the least scenic and exciting, and showcases the least of the mountain. Considering that there are about 38 hiking routes up Table Mountain leading up ravines and buttresses on all sides of the mountain, it puts in perspective how much there is to explore and experience.

Hiking Table Mountain allows you to get off-the-beaten track, see more viewpoints, experience nature and also the essence of Table Mountain. Claiming to have experienced Table Mountain with a cablecar ride to the summit is like claiming to have experienced Paris with an elevator ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Table Mountain hikes exist for every level of experience, fitness and adventure as well as field of interest.