Photo of the week- October week #2: Hiking Table Mountain's famous tabletop

View east across the Eastern Table towards Maclear' Beacon.

View east across the Eastern Table towards Maclear’ Beacon.

Hiking Table Mountain typically involves topping out in the Upper Plateau, Table Mountain’s famous “table”. Measuring about 2.5 kilometres in length, and ranging from about 100 meters at its narrowest to 800 meters at its widest end, the iconic tabletop summit is a micro-world featuring a micro-habitat and micro-climate. Most people gain the summit via the cableway, located on the western end, and then remain in that corner, not bothering to venture across to the eastern side. Little do they realize what they miss out on: unique landscapes, peace and quiet as well as glorious views not seen from around the upper cable station. Table Mountain hikes topping out on the Western Table can be enhanced by traversing the summit plateau to the Eastern Table, where the highest point on Table Mountain is located (Maclear’s Beacon). A short walk beyond leads to the eastern edge of the “Table”, rarely visited by people and offering sweeping inland views. If you have the time and energy, a walk-out to Fir Tree Ravine and the north-eastern edge makes for a rewarding add-on. While the western edge is a hive of activity and heaving with people and covered in buildings and concrete walkways, the area around Fir Tree Ravine is silent and undisturbed. Here, the “Table” can be experienced in its primal state, like it was before the arrival of Europeans. Wandering among sculpted sandstone outcrops in the mist or late-afternoon on a clear day, one can almost hear the mountain creak, the trickle of a stream and chirping of frogs often the only sounds. A fitting place to finish off any Table Mountain hiking or climbing experience.

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