Table Mountain looms graciously over the Mother City of Cape Town. Indeed, it is one of the most loved sights in the world, particularly amongst locals. This mountain has been recognised for its natural beauty and its iconic status by being recognised as one of the world’s Seven Wonders. The best way to experience the aesthetic beauty of Table Mountain is to walk through the fynbos, long grasses and Western Cape scrub.
There are a number of walking and hiking trails that squiggle up, down and across Table Mountain. These are of various lengths and for a number of different fitness abilities. From these, all of the gorgeous Western Cape vegetation can be enjoyed in quiet serenity, the smell of fynbos hanging languorously in the air while birds soar in the heights above. At the top of the mountain, Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak, Signal Hill, Robben Island and the magnificent blue of the oceans lie below in their natural majesty.
These are the most popular routes for those wanting to explore the picturesque Table Mountain:
Duration: 3 – 4 hours
This is the route that the very first explorers took to the flat top of Table Mountain and promises stunning views along its entire length. If you have the energy to walk an extra 90 minutes, you can also take a detour to Maclear’s Beacon, which is the highest point on the mountain. This extra section means seeing the whole of the central top of the mountain. From the top, take the Table Mountain aerial cablecar down and enjoy the 360-degree views as the revolving floor of the car reveals Cape Town’s City Bowl in all is beauty.
Skeleton Gorge via Maclear`s Beacon to the Front Table
Duration: 5 hours
This route takes walkers from the exquisite Kirstenbosch Gardens in Newlands across Table Mountain. As such, it begins with an easy amble through the gardens before the more strenuous climb upwards begins. Some areas require that you use provided ladders and negotiate rock falls. At the highest point, Maclear’s Beacon, the views are nothing short of breathtaking. The fynbos, rock formations and stunning birdlife make this trail truly memorable.
Kasteelspoort via the Valley of the Red Gods to the Front Table
Duration: 4 hours
Starting from Camps Bay, you will ascend the mountain with the Atlantic Ocean behind you and the 12 Apostles rock face ahead. In the Valley of the Red Gods, stunning rock formations and gorgeous views complete the experience. Once at the top of Table Mountain, it is a quick, easy walk to the cablecar, which will transport you to the opposite side of the mountain.
Duration: full day
Table Mountain is deceiving in that it looks like it is just a flat-topped result of a prehistoric volcanic eruption. In reality, it has three hidden valleys, fascinating rock formations and inviting views that are quire unexpected in places. This hike begins with an ascent from Kasteelspoort (from the Camps Bay side) and the hikers can descend from the Platteklip Gorge or the cablecar.
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Other Table Mountain Walks include:
- Cape Point Nature Reserve (full day)
- The Twelve Apostles Walk (4 – 5 hours)
- Silvermine Nature Reserve North (4 hours)
- Silvermine Nature Reserve South (3 – 4 hours)
- Karbonkelberg, Hout Bay (4 hours)