This is a step by step guide on how to hike Table Mountain in Cape Town, outlining the key factors to take into consideration before, during and after your hike. It is important that you to know exactly what you are doing when you take off on a Table Mountain hike and it is equally important that you know how. Planning and preparation are the two most important factors to take into account prior to a hike up Table Mountain.
Step 1: Safety first
First and most importantly be safe on the mountain, hiking Table Mountain can be dangerous if you do not know where you are going or what you are getting yourself into. Save emergency numbers in your phone and always be prepared for any situation, it is important to know what to do if things go wrong – plan for emergencies.
Step 2: Select your route
Selecting a route to suit your group as well as yourself is extremely important. Do not get stuck on a route that may not be suitable for everybody. There are dozens of hiking routes on Table Mountain each offering something different from one another. There are many factors to take into consideration; heights, terrain and duration are just a few of the key factors when selecting a route up Table Mountain.
Step 3: Access weather conditions
Hiking Table Mountain in bad weather conditions is not only uncomfortable but it is dangerous. It is important to be able to access weather forecasts properly and deal with unforeseen unpleasant conditions during your hike. Remember being a nice sunny does not necessarily mean its a good time to hike Table Mountain, there are many other elements one must look for.
Step 4: Research your route
Researching your route goes hand in hand with route selecting. Many hiking routes on Table Mountain have exposure to heights and edges and many routes even require climbing to complete. Some routes are longer than others, some are steeper than others and some can be dangerous. Do not underestimate your route, proper research is highly important for any Table Mountain hike.
Step 5: Team up
Always hike in groups, never hike alone, this is the number one rule all over the world and this applies to hiking Table Mountain. There are many fatalities on Table Mountain, do not take the chance. Rather get in touch with a local Table Mountain hiking company to join a hike. It is always better to share the experience with somebody and its safer. Alternatively take a friend or join a Table Mountain hiking club.
Step 6: Take supplies
Water is very much needed during the entire hike, do not hike without it. Take snacks with you, it is a good source of energy and you never know when you may need it. Always take a warm layer for the summit, as it gets cold even in summer. There is a shop at the top, but make sure you have some supplies with you, because the shop is not always open due to strong winds and the cable car closing down. Always check the weather forecast and plan your supplies accordingly.
Step 7: Time your hike
You may find that some hikes can be started a little later in the morning, while others may need to be started at the crack of dawn in summer due to extreme temperatures and direct sunlight later in the day. Know the best time to start your hike. There are many factors to take into consideration here and careful planning according to the weather forecast is necessary. It is important to time your hike accurately if you set off in the afternoon, you don’t want to get stuck in the dark.
Step 8: Starting your hike
Most Table Mountain hiking routes have different starting points. Some routes start and finish at different locations, so be sure to have transport arrangements in place to get back to the start point after the hike if you are leaving your car there.
Step 9: Getting back down
One must not only know how to hike up Table Mountain, but also know how to get back down. Some of Table Mountain’s hiking routes are safe enough to go up but this is not necessarily the case when you want to hike back down. If you summit on Table Mountain a popular way to get down is via the cable car, tickets can be bought at the top once you have finished your hike. It is important to note that the cable car close due to strong winds, so always be prepared to hike back down if you were planning on catching a ride. If you are feeling a little more adventurous Platteklip Gorge is close to the summit and a safer and direct hiking route back down Table Mountain.
Step 10: Alternatively use a guide
Using a reputable guiding company is always a good idea if you haven’t hiked Table Mountain before. They will take you up the more adventurous routes and show you more beautiful parts of the mountain. All round you are going to have a better experience. They will do all the planning, weather checks and pair you up with the most suitable hike for your group. It is not advised to hike Table Mountain for your first time without a guide or an experienced hiker who knows the route well. Hike Addicts in Cape Town is a leading guiding company that takes hikes up and around Table Mountain.