On a sunny Sunday, our group decided to tackle the most famous element of Cape Town, Table Mountain. As our group was filled with fit mountaineers, it was decided that doing one of the hikes was the best way up. As it turned out it was not only the best, but the most economical way to get to the top of Table Mountain because it is completely free unless you count all the sweat and water consumed as collateral. I was happy to hike up the mountain as I previously went to the top via the cablecar and missed out on this must do activity in CT.
There are numerous ways up the mountain, but a very popular is the Platteklip Gorge route, which traverses the side of Table Mountain facing Table Bay. This path also has the distinction of being the most direct route up the mountain.
The fine print about this route is that it is the most direct because it goes straight up. SANparks actually describes the Platteklip Gorge route as
Up – relentlessly up! That’s the only way to describe the path in Platteklip Gorge. It’s the most direct route to the top of the mountain and the most popular. However, it is not a route to be trifled with; the going can be tough.
We hadn’t read the SANparks website prior to the hike, so we naively saw the hike as a mere hike. However, it was a challenge, but not too much for anyone in our group. Plus it was completely worth it as we were rewarded with incredible views over the Bay as well as of Lion’s Head and Signal Hill. Do heed the warning of its toughness, though, because the hike sorta feels like a perpetual stairmaster as you climb rock stairs up the side of the mountain. It is a workout and my legs were a bit sore the next day, but the trek up the mountain was worth it for the fun, exercise, and incredible views on a perfectly sunny day in CT.
Don’t take my word for it. Check out my photos from the hike up and see what lies in store.
As mentioned, we didn’t do a lot of investigation before our hike up Table Mountain. We knew where the trail began and ended, but we really had no idea how long the hike would take. Combine this with the fact that we left in the midday, so we didn’t have a lot of hours to trek both up and down the mountain. We made it to the top in the mid-afternoon and after a quick snack and look over the edge at the views we needed to depart. We figured we had plenty of time to get back down the mountain because it should be easier to get down than up. This was true, in theory.
However, climbing down the rock steps was still tough and we took a different route to the bottom, one that took us to the cablecar station at the bottom, which was where our Uber driver would pick us up. This detour added time to our trail hike. At one point we saw a sign that indicated it was still 45 minutes to the station and the sun was already mostly down. Oops. We definitely picked up the pace practically trotting to the bottom of the mountain. The one bonus of this misstep in time management was that the hike down at this time of day afforded incredible views as the sun was setting turning the sky pink and orange behind the other famous mountains (Lion’s head and Signal Hill) as well as over Table Bay. In the end, we made it down to the bottom almost exactly as it was turning pitch black (no we didn’t all have headlamps or flashlights with us), so disaster was averted AND we got to watch an incredible sunset from Table Mountain.
To see all photos from our hike up and down Table Mountain, check them out here.