Member - Cape Town Tourism
Table Mountain Walks - click for Home Page

Blog - News, Events and Walking Guides

The Best Hike up Table Mountain

14th October 2007 – 3:24 pm

People often wonder which route to choose to hike up Table Mountain.  Much depends on how much time you have available.  If you can set aside 5-6 hours then perhaps the most scenic and varied route is Skeleton Gorge.  This route starts from Kirstenbosch Gardens and winds its way up gradually (or fairly gradually!) through the indigenous forest, up a couple of ladders and some easy rock scrambling, to the top of the Back Table.  Here the forest thins out and you may wish to take the short detour to view Hely Hutchinson dam (one of 5 on Table Mountain) and its sandy beach.  Yes, a beach on top of a mountain!
The route from the top of the gorge follows the eastern flank of the mountain.  Here the views are spectacular and there is dense and varied fynbos to admire.  Look out for  birds of prey hovering overhead and often the small but colourful sunbird may be spotted feeding on an erica bush.   Interesting rock formations are on either side – in particular look out for the ‘dragon’ before you cross over a small wooden bridge.  If you are fortunate to visit in February here you will see the magnificent Red Disa, a type of orchid.  Once common on the mountain but now only found in certain parts, these unique flowers definitely warrant a photo even if you are not a botanically minded person.
Having crossed the stream the second part of the climb to the the top of the Front Table is obvious but not too daunting.  Two distinct rock formations on the skyline are our destination as here we pause to catch our breath but also to look south over the whole of the Table Mountain chain all the way to Cape Point and over False Bay to the Hottentot Holland Mountains.  It couldn’t be better!
An easy 20 minute walk from here and we arrive at Maclear’s Beacon, the highest point.  Our hike up Table Mountain is complete as from here the walk across the Central Table is flat.  A well deserved break is taken with plenty of time to take in the incredible 360 degree panoramic view.  Robben Isalnd, Devil’s Peak and the northern suburbs of Cape Town are in full view before us.  Somehow it feels as if you are on top of the world or at least on top of the Cape.
From here we make our way to the edge of the mountain which allows us to see the city of Cape Town for the first time.  From a distance the cableway is visible making its way up and down the mountain.  Marvel at the flat plateau of the Central Table before we cross over the top of Platteklip Gorge and on to the Western Table.  Firstly we view the Twelve Apostles, standing magnificently on the western flank of Table Mountain.  There is time to take in all the views before we return to Platteklip Gorge, our route down.  Alternatively you can take the easier option of the cablecar.  It takes about 1 hour 30 minutes to walk down but it is worth the effort to see yet another side of Table Mountain and admire the rock face of the gorge with all its layers and formations.
Once on Tafelberg Rd transport is waiting to take you to your accommodation.  Hopefully you will have some great photos to help you remember your Table Mountain hike which I am sure you will want to recall for a long time to come.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.