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Children hiking up Table Mountain

12th January 2010 – 4:17 pm

Over the years I have hiked with many children up Table Mountain but the question is at what age should children attempt this?  As a general guide line I say about 9 years old.  I have walked with a couple of children a little younger than this but you are really asking a lot of them and if they dont enjoy it you may put them off hiking forever.
Platteklip Gorge is the shortest route and a safe one up the front of Table Mountain.  Skeleton Gorge is more fun for children because of the rock scrambling and ladders but time and distance wise it is twice as long so for younger children with less stamina it might not be suitable.
I have seen tourists but more often locals hauling children barely able to walk up the mountain.  I consider this foolish and not fair on the children who have no choice but to go along.  If the cableway is not operating or closes while you are still hiking up then a two to three hour outing becomes a full day and really far too much for a child to cope with.
So if you are not sure about whether your children will enjoy or be able for the hike rather err on the side of caution or be prepared to turn back if necessary.   If they haven’t done any long walks or done stepped routes Table Mountain is a big ask for a first major hike.  Feel free to ask my advice so the right decision is made.

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