How long does it take to hike Table Mountain? – 29 April 2014

The quickest and easiest route up Table Mountain takes the average person between 1.5 and 2 hours. The duration belies the strenuousness of the hike. And it’s the least scenic and exciting route to the summit – better than taking the cable car, but falling short in doing justice to Table Mountain hiking. The next easiest route is either more technical and exposed to heights or longer and with more elevation gain, about 3 hours and 4 hours respectively. Some routes take longer because of the distance covered, others because of difficult terrain (bush / loose rock / exposure to heights / scrambling). It’s tricky to say what the longest route is: longest in terms of time or distance? And you need to define what constitutes a route: topping out on the iconic tabletop summit, or elsewhere on the summit of the Table Mountain massif? Also, is the route independent from bottom to top or does it make use of other routes at some point. To keep it simple, the longest independent route (time-wise) that tops out on the tabletop is Hiddingh-Ascension incorporating the Ferny Dell variation: about 6 hours. This route also happens to be one of the most challenging routes on Table Mountain. Most Table Mountain hiking routes, though, can be done in around 4 hours, so no need to allocate a full day towards experiencing Table Mountain. But if you have the time and fitness, then there’s much to explore to easily  fill up a full day. Indeed, full-day Table Mountain hikes allows you to experience so much more of the mountain – views as well as topography.

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