Table Mountain tramping trails

I learned the other day that in New Zealand the word to describe what I would call hiking is “tramping“. I googled the word and indeed “tramping” is the word used to describe the “recreational activity that involves walking over rough country”

Having increased my vocabulary by 1 word I thought I would do a bit of further investigation and see what other new words I could learn. As I have already stated I would generally use the term “hiking” which is a term widely used throughout the English speaking world. I also often just use the simple term “walk“. However I find that people often expect a walk to be a shorter and less energetic amble or stroll than a hike. (there we have 2 other words to describe the activity under discussion.)

My investigation did however reveal a large number of other words. In Autralia the word “bushwalking” is often used to describe walking both off and on trail. Somehow this word reminds of another South African phrase “bundu bashing” this is a word we use for going off trail. Often into very difficult terrain we need to bash our way through. Many multi day hikes are described as “trekking” This word seems to be especially prevalent in hiking tours in Nepal and South America. Multi day trips are also sometimes called “backpacking” ( this term can also be used to describe travelling with a backpack. Usually using cheaper accommodation and travel with no specific time frame or even destination.) I did discover that in the US marines the term “humping” is used. This describes walking over long distances carrying  (or humping) your kit. I even found a reference to heli-hiking. This is hiking in inaccessible areas that can be reached only by helicopter.

Finally the term “scrambling” seems to be commonly used to describe “technical hiking” or “non technical climbing” In other words routes where you have to use your hands to get over and up obstacles/rocks, but don’t necessarily need ropes.

So there we have it. There are several words to describe the recreational activity of walking in the natural environment. Whatever you call it spending time walking on Table Mountain is the best way to appreciate this famous natural wonder that is a must see for any visitor to South Africa.

Table Mountain viewed from Cape Towns waterfront


Join Ridgway Ramblers for a guided walk on Table Mountain and escape the sights and sounds of the city for a while.