One hardly expects to come across animals on the well-trodden slopes of Sugarloaf (Lion’s Head circa early 1600s). Scarab beetles, girdled lizards and red-winged starlings are the usual suspects, with a rock kestrel putting in an occasional appearance. Great was my surprise then when, on a recent climbing foray with my favorite miscreant and fellow climber, I startled a 1,20-meter rhombic skaapsteker (snake). Sleek and patterned, it packs about as much venom as a bumble bee. Then, 3 hours later on the descent, trudging down the main path at dusk, having done justice to a route called Sunset Crag by topping out at sunset, we watched in mute wonder as a spotted eagle owl swooped down on an unidentified prey in the path a few meters ahead of us. It peered at us for a full 5 seconds before flying off. What a privilege. You never know what you might find when hiking Table Mountain, but one thing is sure: you never come away disappointed.