Table Mountain gets a lot of cloud, even in summer. Mountains tend to generate cloud, and Table Mountain is no different. Precipitation on the summit measures a whopping 4 times more than the city center, brought about by rain and wind-driven cloud. Hiking Table Mountain in bad weather is possible, but not always pleasant. “Bad weather” is subjective: I remember once calling off a hike due to wind and rain, to the dismay of my Scottish hiking companions, who claimed it was good autumn weather back in the Highlands and therefore no reason to cancel! But most people expect great views when hiking Table Mountain, so a few puffs of cloud restricting visibility are readily classified as “bad weather”.
Booking your hike early in your stay is the foremost measure you can take to maximize your chances of getting views on your Table Mountain hike. This allows for spare days in the event of bad weather. Cloud sometimes engulfs the mountain for days on end, and many who visit the city for 2 or 3 days leave without even having seen the mountain. So plan your hike early so you have contingency (half) days to fall back on.
But what if the weather is bad on your last or only day? Several Table Mountain hikes rely less on views to provide a memorable experience, whether through adventure, mystical jungle settings or otherwordly rock-formations. Unless conditions are atrocious – gale-force winds with driving rain – hiking Table Mountain can still be worth the time and effort. Cloud might blot out views, but creates atmospheric conditions that can be exciting and beautiful in a different way. Table Mountain hiking is more than just views: the dramatic topography and diverse indigenous vegetation provides ample engagement and stimulation.
When planning your Table Mountain hike, make allowances for bad weather, mentally and in your itinerary. And making use of a competent and knowledgeable mountain guide versed in all the Table Mountain hikes goes a long way in optimizing your experience of the mountain, regardless the weather conditions.