When viewed from above, Table Mountain resembles a molar (tooth) in shape. The flat-topped summit – also referred to as the Table – forms the crown and the Suburban buttresses and 12 Apostles Peaks the two routes respectively. No discussion about Table Mountain is complete without reference to the Twelve Apostles Peaks Hike.
Extending behind the iconic Table, and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this castellated micro-range covers about 6 km and comprises 17 peaks and buttresses in total. Some of the best Table Mountain hiking routes lead up the Apostles, from pedestrian ascents up well-defined trails to challenging scrambles off the beaten track.
What are the 12 Apostles Peaks names?
Interpretations varies from person to person, so that one might count 14 and the next 18. Some Apostles consist only of a buttress, others only a peak. Most have both. My own interpretation of the topography gives me the following list of Apostles:
- Porcupine Buttress
- Jubilee Buttress
- Barrier Buttress
- Valken Buttress
- Kasteel’s Buttress
- Postern Buttress
- Woody Buttress
- Spring Buttress
- Slangolie Buttress
- Corridor Buttress
- Kleinkop (a peak)
- Grootkop (a peak)
- Bosch Kloof Buttress
- Victoria Buttress
- Separation Buttress
- Grove Buttress
- Llandudno Corner (a ridge)
Seventeen in total, ascended by about 30 hiking and scrambling routes, and many more climbing routes.
Why are they called the Twelve Apostles?
Back in the day when the Cape was still Dutch (pre-1795), the Apostles were known as the Kasteelbergen (Castle Mountains). Only two peaks / buttresses bear the names of actual apostles: Judas Peak at the southernmost tip, and St Paul, the most imposing of all the Apostles, now known by the prosaic name of Corridor Buttress. Some of the buttresses’ names suggests their resemblance to a castle, like Kasteel’s Buttress and Postern Buttress (‘postern’ meaning the back entrance to a building).
What are the 12 Apostles Hiking Routes?
While not quite as high as the Table (averages 1060m), the Twelve Apostles (averaging around 750m) are in some ways more impressive. Dissected by ravines and gullies, they present a mouth-watering prospect to the hiker and climber. This is where you find some of the best Table Mountain hikes. Routes can be combined to make a hike harder or easier, longer, or shorter.
The most popular are as Table Mountain hikes, these routes offer a superb experience with minimal technicality.
- Kasteelspoort (Castle’s Portal)
- Woody Ravine
- Corridor Ravine
Is Hiking the 12 Apostle Worth It?
Whatever your interests or experience, hiking Table Mountain via the Twelve Apostles hike never disappoints. And there’s lots more to explore on their summits: rock labyrinths, sensational viewpoints, caves and historical sights. In many ways, the area offers quintessential Cape Town hiking.