Hike up Table Mountain on a

 Sunday morning

A hike on Table Mountain is the best way to spend a Sunday morning in Cape Town.

I have just returned from a hike up Table Mountain beginning and ending in Kirstenbosch Gardens. It is truly the best way to spend a weekend morning. You get some good exercise and fresh air, relax with friends and just get away from it all for a while.

We chose to go up Skeleton Gorge and down Nursery Ravine. Both these gorges take you up the mountain from the contour path above Kirstenbosch Gardens. Being on the South East and therefore the wetter side of Table Mountain both these gorges follow streams which trickle right through the summer and are lined with beautiful Afromotane forest filled with indigenous trees such as the Yellowwood, Milkwood, Rooiels and Assegaaibos. The steep sides of the gorge are lined with moss and home to a multitude of wild flowers and huge ferns.

Some of the greenery found in Skeleton Gorge

As these 2 routes up Table Mountain are among the most popular, on a weekend you will probably see at least 2 or 3 other groups. However the sense of nature and purity is never lost. Half way up Skeleton Gorge take a moment to stop and enjoy the peace surrounding you. The sounds of the city are lost and only the trickle of the stream and calling of birds remain.

Walking through the forest up Skeleton Gorge

The path up Skeleton Gorge is steep and in places is uneven and unclear. Good footwear is definitely a requirement. There are a series of 5 ladders about half way up where dogs (and some people) need a helping hand.

Dogs may need a hand up the ladders in Skeleton Gorge

For this reason large dogs and those with a fear of heights may not find this route much fun. It is also recommended that you go up this route rather than down it until you know the path and certainly in wet weather.

Once at the top of the gorge you emerge from the trees in pristine fynbos. To get to Nursery Ravine you follow the path around the top of Castle Rock. This involves a little bit more climbing but nothing like as steep as the gorge itself. Out of the trees you can now enjoy some wonderful views.

Enjoying the views from Table Mountain

The path drops down the otherside of Castle Rock and you turn left to head down Nursery Ravine. Like Skeleton Gorge this is a steep path and uneven in places. There is one ladder at the top but no more. In wet weather this is the recommended route down the mountain as although it also follows a stream it does not involve a section actually in the river bed.

The top of Nursery Ravine

The first half of Nursery Ravine is open with the sheer sides of Castle rock towering  above you.

Looking back up Nursery Ravine

 The 2nd half of the gorge again takes you through indigenous forest and back onto the contour path.

The entire circuit should take you around 3 hours. This is a wonderful hike on Table Mountain that is away from the crowded touristy main Table Top. If you are free one morning it is a wonderful way to start the day.