About 70% of Cape Town’s annual rainfall occurs June to August. Cold fronts lash the Cape over this period, bringing cold and stormy weather that lasts anything form 2 to 5 days. Table Mountain catches a lot of cloud and precipitation is higher than the surrounding area. Driving rain drenches the mountain, ravines gush with torrents of rainwater and waterfalls can be seen cascading down the cliffs. Following stormy spells are days of perfect weather: balmy days, serene skies and not a breath of wind – the best weather for hiking Table Mountain.
While summer in Cape Town is marked by strong wind (no cable car down) and cloud on the mountain, the winters enjoy some sublime sunny spells, crystal-clear air, pleasant temperatures and almost guaranteed cableway descent. Furthermore, the mountain is greener and gushing with streams and cascades. Some Table Mountain hikes lead past waterfalls of such height and force, they make for a destination on their own. Parched and tinder-dry in summer, Table Mountain comes to life in winter, with many plant species in bloom and every ravine a spectacle of gushing rainwater.
Table Mountain hiking in winter comes with a few cautions. Certain routes become treacherous, almost impassable (like Skeleton Gorge), while a sudden change in weather can result in freezing conditions. The days are short, so getting benighted is a real possibility if you waste time route-finding. Also, scramble routes are likely to be trickier due to wet rock.
The optimize your chances of getting perfect weather for hiking Table Mountain in winter, best to book the hike early in your stay to allow for spare days in the event of bad weather. While it’s possible to hike Table Mountain in the rain, strong wind and heavy cloud, it’s only an experience appreciated by the most ardent masochist.