I opted out of going to school yesterday as it was beyond gorgeous out… the weather was in the upper eighties and perfect hiking weather. So, two other girls and myself in my program decided to take advantage of the day and hike Table Mountain, one of the top tourist attractions here in Cape Town. The flat-topped mountain can be seen from everywhere within Cape Town and it is a must-do as the top provides a phenomenal view of the city. There are a few different routes to get to the top, one of which includes a cable car, but we decided that it would be best to hike it.
We began hiking at 9:30 via Skeleton Gorge, a “moderate” route up to the top. Skeleton Gorge begins at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, so we even got in some beautiful flower viewing before the hike. This route was supposed to only take two or three hours to get to the top so we figured we’d be back by the mid-afternoon. We started off and hiked up and up for what seemed like forever—the route was pretty difficult as it was straight uphill with steep, steep steps that gave my legs quite the workout. There were portions of the route that were pure rocks so we did a bit of rock climbing along the way. Fortunately the view was fabulous and our path was situated next to a river and within the forest the entire way, giving it a very nature-like feel.
Each time we thought we were getting closer to the top, our hopes were crushed as the mountain continued and continued. We climbed up further, finally reaching the “top” of Skeleton Gorge, which we thought was quite an accomplishment. It took us just over three hours with a few breaks on the way to enjoy the views, catch our breath, and take everything in. Skeleton Gorge leads you up to a dip in the mountain thus it was slightly lower than the actual table portion but we figured that we were pretty close to the top so we might as well go all the way. We didn’t really have any pressing thing to get back for so we figured we’d continue. We followed Smut’s Path that continued up and around the mountain towards the actual Table portion but it seemed never-ending. It was a pretty hike along the way though, filled with flowers and grasses. Our thoughts about being close to the top were completely off however! We hiked another two hours, most of which was uphill until we reached Maclear’s Beacon, the highest point of the mountain that is 3,563 feet above sea level. The hike was hard and extremely intensive and I was exhausted when we actually made it to the top! The view was incredible once we were up there… in fact, the photos don’t even do it justice! There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and we were able to see for kilometers (yep, I’m definitely getting use to the metric system!). When there are clouds that cover Table Mountain, they refer to this as the table cloth. We were able to see both sides of Cape Town—the waterfront and actual city side along with the Camps Bay and Clifton side. We walked across the entire top of the mountain which was mostly flat… much better and easier than the uphill trek we just completed. This was another hour-and-a-half walk as we headed towards Platteklip’s Gorge, the route that we took down the mountain.
The hike down was much easier than the hike up but it was all rock—I was just waiting to miss a step and tumble down the mountain but fortunately that didn’t happen! The hike down took about two-and-a-half hours itself as we made our way toward the Cable Car station and got to the base at 6 o’clock. The hike was extremely long and exhausting as it was about eight-and-a-half hours long… but it was very successful as we made it up, across, and down the mountain. Although it was slightly longer than the four or so hours we budgeted for, we had a very enjoyable day and we checked off a must-do activity here in Cape Town… not to mention we got a great workout in the process!
Climbing Table Mountain was definitely worth missing a day of school for! The views were absolutely incredible from the top, some of the most amazing that I have ever seen!
This coming weekend, I am headed to a music festival that sounds fantastic so I will report back to you on that soon!