Hiking Table Mountain

Rising early we wanted to summit Table Mountain before the sun reached its peak at around 12am. So, we ordered an Uber taxi at 7am to take us to the trail start point next to the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway costing around 60 rand / £3.

On arrival we found the trail a little way down the hill from the cable cars. There was a map at the start of the trail. This showed us a couple of different ways to reach the top.

The beginning of the path was up stoney steps. This remained the case for pretty much the entire two and a half hours. Although at times we were rewarded with fairly flat stretches.

Rugged cliff edges stood vertically in front of us. We would somehow climb these to reach the top.

The path we had chosen (Platteklip Gorge), was the safest option. It zig zagged up the mountainside and was well sign-posted. There was no need to join a tour. However, the other paths are said to be dangerous. You might need climbing kit for them and an experienced guide.

As the morning progressed the heat intensified. I was glad we had set off early. The nearer the top we got the more people we bumped into.

Just before summiting we reached the gorge.

Climbing between dramatic cliff faces, I looked back. Through two slabs of rocks a fantastic view of Cape Town could be seen.

We found a quiet rock in the shade, sat down and tucked into some snacks. I very much appreciated my peanut butter and banana sandwich, I made that morning.

We watched the buildings in the city glimmer as the sun shone on them and tried to spot any landmarks we had explored the previous days.

Once we had cooled down it was time to walk around the Table Mountain’s top, which spans 3km. We were very lucky as the day was glorious, with barely any clouds in sight. Usually a south-easterly wind travels up the mountain, cools, condenses and becomes a mist, often referred to as a table-cloth of cloud.

Table mountain is the only geographical landmark that has two star consolations named after it. One being Table-cloth the other Table Mountain.

We followed yellow footprints to Marclear’s beacon – the highest part of Table Mountain.

There a pile of stones was placed by Thomas Maclear for trigonometry surveys.

We strolled back the way we had come to find the cafe and cable car down. Placed around the terminal were numerous signs about the area. We learnt that, Table Mountain contains rocks which date back 450-510 million years ago. This rock is extremely hard quartz sandstone. The reason the top is so flat it due to glacial activity. I couldn’t imagine a time when the mountain was covered in snow. The temperature was 27 degrees Celsius. Thinking about how the landscape had changed through the centuries was mind boggling.

When we were ready we bought a one way cable car ticket and descended down the mountain. The floor in the cable rotated giving everyone a fair view of our surroundings. Half of the pod was open air, with windows wide open.

Using free wifi at the bottom of the cable cars we ordered an Uber back to the hotel, where we freshed up before dinner.

Looking for somewhere to eat we stumbeled upon a modern art gallery we breifly looked inside. Art made from makeup was on show. The artist was symbolising how makeup covers up women and act as a shield. Neither of us were wearing any makeup so struggeled to understand it!

Ready for food we found The Chefs Warehouse, where they offer an 8 course shareing menu. It was very hip with many trendy locals enjoying food and wine. We took a seat and enjoyed a delicious 8 dishes. All of which included fresh produce. My favoirite was the celariac risotto with truffle cream.

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