What is the best hiking route on

Table Mountain?

To the visitor to Cape Town there is an overwhelming amount of information regarding Table Mountain. From different hiking trails to the cable car etc. Many people are torn between walking up and taking the cable car. Having made the decision to walk up. They then need to decide which route to take.

So here is my take on the matter. 

You need to decide: 1. How much time you have available. 2. If you have the necessary equipment for a full days hike. (suitable shoes, warm clothing etc) 3. if you know the route or have a suitable map.

The cable car is an experience certainly, but if you are reasonably fit it is really worth hiking up Table Mountain and only taking the cable car down. By hiking up you get away from the classic tourist route and the crowds. Plus you actually experience Table Mountain as a mountain not just another view spot.

Having opted to hike there is then the choice of routes. The paths most often mentioned are:

Platteklip Gorge: This is the most popular route on the mountain and it takes you to 15 mins walk from the cable car. The average time to walk up is around 2 hours. The views are magnificent. It is a steep relentless path, but well worth the effort. This route can be quite busy and it is unlikely you will get lost. (although it does happen)

Skeleton Gorge ascends Table mountain above Kirstenbosch Gardens. Most of the way is through indinenous trees so quite shady. There are a couple of handily placed ladders to get you up a couple of difficult stretches. Once at the top the views of the Southern suburbs and False Bay are fantastic. The climb from Kirstenbosch should take around 2 hours. However is is another 2 to 2.5 hours walk to the cable way.  So this is a full days hike if you intend going to the main area of Table Mountain.

Kasteelspoort. The Kasteelspoort route up Table Mountain ascends the mountain above Camps Bay. Here the views of the Atlantic seaboard are unbeatable. As with Skeleton Gorge although the climb itself takes around 2 hours, it will take you another 2 to 2.5 hours to get to the cable car if that is your plan.

For both Kasteelspoort and Skeleton Gorge. I recommend you have someone with you who knows the path. The Back Table is an extensive wilderness area with many paths. Getting lost is a very real possibility.

There are of course, many more routes and paths up Table Mountain. The 3 I mention are those most often mentioned in the guide books.