“During the many years of incarceration on Robben Island, we often looked across Table Bay at the magnificent silhouette of Table Mountain. To us on Robben Island, Table Mountain was a beacon of hope. It represented the mainland to which we knew we would one day return.”
Nelson Mandela, 1998
First sighted by Antonio de Saldanha in 1503, Table Mountain’s iconic profile has symbolized many things to many different people over the years. To early settlers it marked the end of the long and arduous journey from Europe; to early explorers, it served as a navigational aid, while later explorers on their way to the hinterland saw it as a gateway or jumping-off place into the uncharted interior. To Nelson Mandela, it represented hope and freedom and new beginnings.
Table Mountain continues to play a central role in people’s lives, consoling troubled souls and reviving weary spirits, giving hope of new beginnings, clearing the mind and putting things in perspective. Hiking Table Mountain puts one in a position to receive what the mountain and nature have to give.