TABLE MOUNTAIN: TAKING ON A MAJESTIC BEAUTY

I decided I was going to be a hero for the day, get my Bear Grylls on and hike up the New 7 Wonder of Nature, Table Mountain in Cape Town. Lord did I not know what I was getting myself into, hahaha. Felt like giving up along the way but nope, mama didn’t raise no quitter! I was going to take on this challenge and male it till the end, the top in this instance. 

Table Mountain gets its name from its visibly physical resemblance to a table; no minds were cracked during the brainstorming of the name. On a cloudy day, the clouds hover over the mountain blanketing it like a table cloth. This iconic attraction is a sight to see.

The hike boasts a plethora of flora and fauna. One that dominates the mountain is the South African national flower, the King Protea.  There are also Rock Hyraxes, known to the locals as Dassies. Looking at the mountain from afar, it seemed much smaller in person, or should I say in mount. Boy was I completely wrong. After physically and mentally preparing myself for this challenge for days, I definitely was not ready for whats to come.

Preparation

 

Water ✓. Sunscreen ✓. Cap, sunglasses, snacks ✓, ✓ and ✓. We arrived a bit later than planned but the weather was perfect compared to the previous day. Clear sunny skies, warm breeze (much needed since its winter) and windy. We all know what a little Cape Town wind can be like and what it can do so if it does get like that I would not advise one to hike up Table Mountain, it would not be safe at all. So thank the weather gods for that because it was perfect.

I would describe this hike as a three phase challenge. Each phase having its own level of difficulty.

 

Phase 1: The beginning

 

With different hiking trails, my friend and I decided to take the Platterklip Gorge trail, which is situated to the right of the cable way station. The first part of the hike was fairly steep with rocks that are set up like staircases. Now this part here, whoooo! If you’ve ever worked out on the stair stepper in the gym then you know exactly what I am talking about. Thought it would serve as a warm up but it was more than that. It was a  bit challenging but you get used to it along the way. Plus there are beautiful views to relish and amazing flora and fauna to capture.

Phase 2: Levels Out

So I just completed the first phase, congratulations to me because I wanted to turn around so many times. My mind was starting to fail me but like MC Lyte said “Keep on Keepin’ on”, except her context is different of course.  It was a bit tough but once you get to the part where the trail levels out, you are rewarded wit  a little break. Take advantage of it. You should be on this part of the trail for a good 15 minutes, depending on how fast you are walking of course. We took longer because for one, we were in no hurry and we did not want to miss anything so we were taking pictures every step of the way. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but we took tons of pictures. We were also lucky enough to spot a Tahr grazing next to a rock crevice above us.

Phase 3: Its about to get REAL

 

The last leg of the hike is not that bad, at least I thought. It felt like it was never ending which is why it was a bit more challenging. Leg day on over drive. The rocks are placed in a way that resembles a stair case, so you will eventually feel it in your glutes, thighs and calves. But hey, who said you need the gym for a good workout when you have nature! Along the way we passed by a stream which didn’t have much water because of the current drought. My face could have done with a little refreshing splash. We also came across others who have taken on the same challenge from different starting points. During our breaks (TAKE AS MANY BREAKS AS YOU NEED AND STAY HYDRATED) we got to chat about where we were from and our travel experiences. Met up with hot bodied 55 year old woman who hikes for fun and fitness. I want to be like her when I grow up. Oh the joys of hiking; you get to meet new people from different parts of the world. It definitely brings people together. There is quite a bit of a shady area as well this part of the hike bringing with it a nice breeze keeping you cool. This is also a sign that you are almost there.

Walking through the Gorge

This is when you know you have made it! Oh the sweet smell of victory! Seeing the Gorge up ahead made me want to run up like Rocky but my legs reminded me that I was on Table Mountain and not ‘The Rocky Steps’

It felt so good walking through the gorge and seeing other hikers that didn’t give up along the way celebrate their victory too. The views through the gorge are beautiful but if you think those are good, wait till you get to the top. As soon as we got there it became clear to me why this mountain is hustling and bustling with tourists daily. The views are impeccable. With sights of Lions head (you are next), Robben Island, where the former, legendary South African president Nelson Mandela was held imprisonment for 27 years, the V&A Waterfront and a bird’s eye view of Green Point stadium. Every direction you look takes your breath away. It was inevitably chilly at the top; you are 1085 m above sea level after all. Make sure you have a light sweater with you. After a scenic walk and photo op, we found a spot on a rock to fuel up with some snacks, hydrate and take in the beauty of the city of Cape Town.

We opted to take the cable car down because the hike was a little strenuous for me and we were short on time. For just R200 ($14), you can get a one way ticket back to the ground while still enjoying the views.  I was ready to get to the bottom the quickest and easiest way possible. We topped up on our water at the Table Mountain Café and went on our way. 

Views

Day Well Spent

So if you are ever in Cape Town and have 3 hours of your day to spare, definitely hike up Table Mountain. It is worth every minute and ounce of energy.

If you are planning on hiking up Table Mountain here a few tips:

Take some snacks that you will enjoy at the top and enough water to last you till the summit. You can always top up at the cafe

Put on sunscreen and make sure you have more with you to reapply

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Don’t forget your cap and sunglasses

Take a light sweater because it does get a bit chilly up there.

Don’t forget your camera

A couple of things to consider:

Hike according to your physical ability and fitness level. It is a physically demanding and challenging hike.

Do not hike alone. Make sure that there are more people with you. Also make sure you notify any family or friends at home that you will me hiking up the mountain. People are known to have gone missing on Table Mountain due to reasons unknown. We will assume it is mostly from accidents. 

If you go on a cloudy day your view of the scenery may be obstructed

Take extra caution and be careful. Do not step on the loose rocks

Added bonus

There is a gift shop if you wish to get a little something for yourself or friends and family back home. There is also a WIFI lounge to get a hold of them to show off a little. The cable car costs R200 ($14) one way and only takes 5 minutes to get to the ground from the top. The car rotates 360⁰ with window openings; giving everyone an opportunity to have a clear, unobstructed view of this marvel.

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