Climbing Table Mountain in South Africa

It’s a steep climb up Table Mountain via the Platterklip Gorge. Within 10 minutes I was thinking I’d been foolish to climb up and take the cable car down.

One-and-a-half hours of sweaty stumbling but I looked up occasionally to see sweeping views across Cape Town and the Bay under clear, sunny skies.

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

Once on the top of Table Mountain it doesn’t feel particularly table-like but there is plenty of walking to be done amongst the rocks and a carpet of wildflowers. Don’t forget you’re not just visiting an iconic geographical feature but the beautiful Table Mountain National Park!

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

If you’re quiet you’ll see a hyrax nibbling on some flowery bush, completely unimpressed by the presence of humans (unlike those I spotted while hiking in Namibia’s Naukluft Mountains).

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

I walked along the clifftops to view the Cape Peninsula and False Bay in the distance, as well as down to Cape Town’s affluent beachside suburbs and out to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was for so long imprisoned.

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

I was buffeted by the wind that rose along the cliff edge and later the clouds began to roll up from the direction of the Cape. Soon the back of the mountain was covered with cloud. The legendary ‘table cloth’ of cloud slips over the lip of Table Mountain and dreams out over the city, slowly dispersing.

By the time I was ready to catch the cable car down the hill the customary cloud system was swirling and clinging softly to the top of the mountain.

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

The next day I climb the Lion’s Head, the little sister of Table Mountain. Looking back down the body of the ‘lion’ to the rump of Signal Hill.

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

Then looking across to the pride of Cape Town – the Apostles, which sweep around in a shallow arc from the left side of Table Mountain.

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

There was a pale, hazy Atlantic sunset: the sun sucking ethereal cirrus clouds into the pale gold ocean.

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

By Natasha von Geldern

Have you been to Cape Town? Did you climb Table Mountain or take the cable car?

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