Keen to try one of the many exhilarating hikes on Table Mountain? From outright daunting to almost leisurely, there’s a route for everyone.
For most Table Mountain hikers, Platteklip Gorge is the go-to route for reaching the top. But there are plenty of other hikes throughout Table Mountain National Park that will enthral young and old. Although some options are definitely not for the faint-hearted, many will make for memorable family days spent in nature. Check out Wild’s selection of three routes that range from challenging all the way down to child’s play.
Watch below as Wild’s Leon Kriel sets his sights on the demanding India Venster route…
Not for novices
First things first – it’s potentially dangerous and climbers have to be fit. We’re not talking top athlete fit, but your muscles will be tested, folks. The altitude change of 400m+, rocky climbing and steep cliffs won’t be everyone’s idea of a leisurely nature stroll. If you don’t have a head for heights, go with an experienced guide. India Venster is described as Table Mountain’s prettiest hike, and something that should be attempted at least once.
If it is your first time on India Venster, go with a mountain guide or an experienced hiker who has done the route before.
A hiker’s view: “In all the years I’ve been hiking on Table Mountain, it’s quite notable that the route has become more popular. Interesting is how the hikers differ in age – from two-week-old infants on the back of a parent to active people in their seventies. India Venster is my absolute favourite. The strenuous, almost straight-up climb in certain parts is ideal for measuring my personal fitness level. India Venster was my first Table Mountain hike and will always be my top choice.” – Leon Kriel
Distance: ± 2.5km
Duration: ± 2 ½ hours
Start: Lower Aerial Cableway station
Tip: Rather go up than down…
Fitness is key
Skeleton Gorge to Maclear’s Beacon
Although not exactly easy, the route is made less strenuous thanks to wooden ladders that help with the vertical ascents. Keep in mind that the going will be tough and steep, but for the relatively in-shape climber, this forest walk will leave you wanting more. There’s simply no better way to connect with nature than on foot.
A hiker’s view: “Starting the hike at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, you enter Skeleton Gorge – up and up you go. It feels as if you are walking through a Lord of the Rings movie surrounded by trees, foliage and ferns. After emerging from the trees, expansive views of Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs towards Muizenburg await.” – Kerry Kopke
Distance: ± 4km
Duration: 2-4 hours
Start: Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Tip: Slippery when wet – this route is best avoided during or immediately after heavy rains.
You can do it!
What makes Constantia Nek so great is that the jeep track is the easiest route to the top of Table Mountain – no scrambling, no climbing, just walking. It takes about an hour and a half to get to the Overseers Cottage and the top of the table, from where you can choose between a variety of routes and attractions. Camel Rock, Hely-Hutchinson Dam and the Waterworks Museum are just a few. The paths are relatively flat, so take the time, look around you, and appreciate this stunning setting. If you continue your walk to the cable station, you can take the car down, but then you need a lift back to Constantia Nek.
Distance: ± 2,9km to the Overseers Cottage, ±14km to the cable station
Duration: 3-4 hours return if just going to the Overseers Cottage, but you could spend all day walking around on top
Start: Constantia Nek parking lot
Tip: You can save quite a bit of time by taking the steep path near the start that cuts out sections of the jeep track.
Table Mountain cableway maintenance
Take note that during winter the Table Mountain cableway closes for maintenance and renovations; from 24 July to 6 August 2017 the cable car won’t operate. Normal operating hours will resume on 7 August 2017. If you have made online bookings for this period, head to their website to find out how the closure will affect you.
Take note that routes are linear and that specified times and distances are one-way only.