I find myself writing about the 12 Apostles again and again, as well as hike and climb there with an abiding compulsion and attraction. This unspoilt chain of seaboard peaks offer diverse delights, from superb views to dramatic topography with hidden gems scattered in between. Last month, I discovered a spring: crystalline water pouring from the bowels of the mountain. Last week, I uncovered a built-up cave inhabited in bygone times. A few days ago, I took in new angles of view from an obscure peak, enraptured by the beauty, grandeur and solitude.
The 12 Apostles extends behind the famous tabletop summit of Table Mountain, offering some of the best Table Mountain hikes among its 25-odd hiking routes. Viewed from Camps Bay, the range appears as a dissected mass featuring prominent peaks and deep ravines – inspiration to its earlier names of Gable Mountains and Castle Mountains. Each peak supposedly represents an Apostle, although there are 16 to 18 peaks, depending on what is counted as a peak.
If you appreciate nature, then hiking Table Mountain up the Apostles will delight. Routes are structured to top out on the famous tabletop summit to ensure even more views as well as the accomplishment of reaching Table Mountain’s iconic summit, with the convenient option of a cable car descent. Kasteelspoort, the easiest Apostle route, offers fantastic views and involves minimal scrambling and exposure to heights. If you’re adventurous, routes like Spring Buttress, Blind Gully, Valken Ravine, Woody Buttress and Slangolie Crag will serve up a wholesome dollop of excitement. For those who are fit and more interested in experiencing nature and exploring the mountain rather than adventure, consider Porcupine Ravine to Maclear’s Beacon or a circumambulation of Grootkop via Oudekraal Ravine and the Atlantic Traverse. The options are legion.
Table Mountain hiking via the 12 Apostles offers a definitive experience of the mountain, however the routes are quite strenuous, so you need to be quite fit or prepared to push yourself physically. The reward is pristine nature off-the-beaten track combined with exciting landscape and superb views.