Think you know Table Mountain? Think again. Here’s our guide to getting the best out of the Mother City’s greatest asset.
1. Take a hike…
Platteklip Gorge is the easiest and most direct route to the summit. And the most popular, ending close enough to the upper cable station for you to take the easy option down if your calves have given up the ghost. But try the lesser known Kasteelspoort on the Camps Bay side for great views, or India Venster, Diagonal Traverse or Constantia Corner on the ‘Back Table’ side for experienced climbers. For perhaps the best views of the Peninsula, try the full-day Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine route.
2. Become a fynbos whisperer
When you’re on Table Mountain, you’re also in the heart of the world’s smallest and most diverse plant kingdom, Capensis, the chief component of which is fynbos. Dominic Chadbon, aka The Fynbos Guy, specialises in half-day, full-day, and multi-day fynbos-spotting hikes and his intimate knowledge of the plants (including their astonishing survival strategies and flabbergasting sex lives) is staggering – he’s also very entertaining and should have you fynbos whispering in no time at all. Plus, if you’re a twitcher, he does dedicated bird tours.
3. Join the mountain goats…
So passionate is extreme trail runner Ryan Sandes about the mountains in his backyard, that he established the 13 Peaks Challenge, a self-navigating running or hiking) route connecting a baker’s dozen of his favourite peaks. The route starts and finishes at Signal Hill and takes runners to 12 more peaks in between, namely, Lions Head, Maclears Beacon, Grootkop, Judas Peak, Klein Leeu Kop, Suther Peak, Chapmans Peak, Noordhoek Peak, Muizenberg Peak, Constantiaberg, Klassenkop, and Devils Peak. 13peaks.co.za
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4. Steel your nerves…
Abseil a 100-metre section of the mountain. Fancy dangling high above the earth pretending to be Spiderman as you leopard crawl vertically down a section of rockface? Not to panic: You’ll be securely attached with ropes and cables and operators who’ve done this all a million-or-so times. Besides, the views of Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles will keep you elated, screaming or not.
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5. …and sleep tight
SANParks has a number of cabins and permanent tented sites on the mountain for overnight hikers. If you want to spend the night in a piece of history, though, book the hut belonging to the Cape Town chapter of the Mountain Club of South Africa. Built-in the previous century, it’s nothing fancy, but well-equipped, with two rooms and space for 12 people to share – the peace and quiet is extraordinary, considering you’re bang in the middle of a major city.
Words: Staff Writer | Images: Unsplash