Hiking Table Mountain via Porcupine Ravine – 8 September 2016

For the more adventurous hiker looking to try a more off-the-beaten-track Table Mountain hikes, we recommend signing up for a guided hike up Porcupine Ravine. At hiketablemountain.co.za, we specialize in being able to guide people on a variety of routes, in order to cater to all levels of fitness and adventure. Porcupine Ravine is one which gives the hiker an amazing feeling of remoteness, and closeness to nature, while still reaching the all-important summit of Table Mountain.

The route starts above Camps Bay on the 12 Apostles section of Table Mountain. Hikers get a gentle warm up as they walk up old forestry roads to reach the Pipe Track, a good place for a breather and water break. Because it starts on the western side of Table Mountain, the Porcupine Ravine hike stays shaded for most of the morning, making it an excellent option for the summer months. The route traverses the level Pipe Track for a while, before turning and starting up the Diagonal Route. The terrain is steeper now, but this is compensated by spectacular views of the amphitheatre of cliffs above, and the expanse of ocean below. After some steep steps, easy zigzags, and a short rock scramble, we reach Porcupine Cave. This is one of the best breakfast spots in Cape Town. No skinny lattes here, but the views over to Lion’s Head can’t be beat!

After a rest and snack in the cave, we continue hiking around Porcupine Buttress (one of the 12 Apostles), and into the steep gully that is Porcupine Ravine. The route becomes more technical from here on, and hikers need to move carefully over the loose rock and awkward scrambling moves. This is where the benefit of having a guide becomes evident, as we can help to ensure safety and good technique. The walls of the ravine close in on both sides, and the going is steep, so when we break out onto a viewpoint half-way up, the rewards are great. Drink water, breathe deeply, and soak up the magic of hiking Table Mountain.

The summit plateau can be seen high up on the left, but first we have to get up the last steep section, and then scramble up a short rock-step to get out of the head of the ravine. Now the going gets easier as we wind our way up to Blinkwater Peak, the highest point of the 12 Apostles. From here we have 360 degree views over the Cape Peninsula, the Atlantic Ocean and False Bay. The Table top is just a stone’s-throw away, but to reach it we first have to drop down into Echo Valley, and hike up the other side. We are now on the main 12 Apostles Trail, so the going is easier, with a few ladders to help us up the steep sections.

Once on top of Table Mountain, the trail is level, and it’s an easy stroll across to the Upper Cableway Station on the western end. The route is complete after around 4.5 hours, and all that remains is to enjoy well-deserved refreshments at the Table Mountain Café, followed by a scenic ride down in the cable-car. This is definitely a great option for an adventurous summertime guided Table Mountain hike.

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