Table Mountain hiking route information
There are various hikes up Table Mountain in Cape Town but how does a hiker choose the right Table Mountain hiking route? Choosing the best Table Mountain hike for you and your group can be a little tricky. This is especially true if you are not a local hiker and/or aren’t familiar with the famous mountain.
It is important that you know exactly what you are getting yourself into when choosing your Table Mountain trail, taking into account height, climbing, scrambling, hike duration and fitness level. All the hiking routes that summit on Table Mountain are strenuous. You must be at least moderately fit to enjoy them. Sure, if you are not too fit, then you can rest a lot but then the hike is going to take a lot longer. Consider taking the cable car if you are seriously unfit. Or, opt for one of the Table Mountain hiking routes that don’t go to the summit.
Choosing a Table Mountain hiking route
People who prefer a shorter Table Mountain hiking route will want to make the area around the lower cable car station their Table Mountain hike starting point. These routes will get you up the mountain the quickest. However, the quickest route also means the steepest, so prepare to work hard. The routes summit close to the upper cable car station on Table Mountain. Hikers often come down by cable car. A round trip here lasts approximately three to four hours. In Cape Town, these hiking routes are referred to as Table Mountain half-day hikes. Platteklip Gorge and India Venster are the two most popular half-day hike options.
If you have a bit of time on your hands, then you can hike the eastern or western slopes of the Table Mountain range. You will summit on Table Mountain via the Valley of the Red Gods or Jan Smuts Track. These hiking routes up Table Mountain take around four to six hours to complete. On the routes, hikers get to the opportunity to enjoy many of the wild and wonderful things on Table Mountain; this is not your average tourist trap. As a matter of fact, the Table Mountain hiking route trails on the slopes offer a beauty and tranquillity that few ever have the pleasure of taking in. The routes are Table Mountain full-day hikes.
More on the hiking routes up Table Mountain
Hiking the western slopes is known as hiking up the Twelve Apostles amongst hiking enthusiasts and those in hiking communities. Here, you will hike up the gorges and ravines of the Twelve Apostles mountain range onto the “Back Table”. Eventually, you will make your way to Table Mountain via the Valley of the Red Gods. The western slopes are known for their phenomenal rock formations and spectacular views over the Atlantic Seaboard. It’s a really good Table Mountain hike. There are various routes up the Twelve Apostles. The most popular Twelve Apostles hiking route is Kasteelspoort, which presents a challenging hike.
The eastern slopes offer a somewhat different Table Mountain hiking route experience. You ascend indigenous forest, ducking under trees and passing by wooden bridges on the way up. Shady most of the way, the hikes show nature at its finest, with fresh smells and running water. Eastern Table Mountain routes can be quite tough and are normally steeper than those on the western side. Once you reach the top, you proceed to Table Mountain via Jan Smuts Track. The routes here overlook False Bay and the Indian Ocean. Skeleton Gorge is the favourite route on this side of Table Mountain and starts off in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
Table Mountain hiking routes that don’t go to the top
It’s exciting and rewarding to hike to the summit of Table Mountain, no doubt about it. For people who aren’t looking for demanding hiking in Cape Town, though, Table Mountain offers some unbelievable hiking routes that take you around the mountain. The Pipe Track hugs the western slopes, gazing down at the Atlantic Ocean. The Contour Path Table Mountain hiking route runs along the northern and eastern slopes. All of these routes are level for the most part, with a mild incline or decline popping up occasionally. They offer incredible views and mind-blowing landscapes, without a person having to hike or scramble their way to the top.