Hiking Table Mountain

Visiting Table Mountain is a must-do when you’re in Cape Town. You wouldn’t visit Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower, would you? So even though it was winter in Europe, of course, I wanted to hike up the famous landmark, 1000 m of altitude seemed doable when I sat at my desk at home planning my trip.

We started early to avoid the relentless sun in the afternoon and walked along an easy path that wound around the mountain. The plan was to hike up and then across to the cable car, which would get us back down again. Now and then offering stunning views over Lion’s Head and the beaches. At the beginning of the “Woody Ravine” path, we had a little break and collected our strength for the steep incline that expected us. Oh boy, did I need that break! It was February and winter in Europe. Me going to the gym several nights a week was good, but still, I suffered quite a bit on the way up. The wind had picked up, and it wasn’t easy to keep the balance.

When we reached the top, I looked around. I wasn’t sure what I had expected, but it looked different. Where we stood, it was very green and hilly, not precisely as I had pictured it from the bottom.

We hiked further over the top until we stood in front of a vertical wall of maybe 3 m height. Climbing up there was challenging enough (for me at least), but the incredible wind tore on our clothes and backpacks, trying to get us off balance. But we made it and our guide led us through some narrow gaps between large wind-worn rocks where we sat down for a bit. I needed the food as much as a little break from the firm, gusty winds that were blowing over the mountain and started to get tiring.

We got moving again and checked if the cable car was operating – it wasn’t. That meant we had to hike back down again. From one moment to the next, the winds stopped and gave way to scorching heat. It suddenly made sense we had started so early. Around 2 pm, we arrived back at the starting point. I was shattered – but happy.

Don’t underestimate Table Mountain. There are lots of trails, and it’s easy to get lost plus the weather changes without warning. So please don’t go without a guide, they regularly have to rescue over-confident people. We went with Kai Fitchen, whom I happily recommend. Take a hat, use sunscreen, a lot. Apply it often. If you have ivory skin, wear long sleeves and protect your neck. Be safe so you can enjoy this majestic mountain.

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