Hiking on Table Mountain with a

strong South Easter

If you are a regular hiker on Table Mountain, you will have hiked in a howling South East wind at some stage. The only reliable thing about the weather in Cape Town is that it is unreliable……and that the wind will blow for at least a couple of days a week. Of course the South East wind is our friend. Locally called the Cape Doctor this wind brings clean air to the city and clears out any lingering pollution.

You can certainly not allow the wind to put you off a walk but do need to be aware of it. If you are planning to take the cable car down the mountain this may be impossible in strong winds. (the cable car closes down once the wind reaches speeds of +/- 35km hour) Similarly the wind can bring cloud cover to the mountain in a couple of seconds. This obviously impacts on visibility and on temperature.

Clouds moving in on Table Mountain

Some routes such as India Venster are not advisable in gale force winds for the obvious reason that you don’t want to get blown off balance at other stage! Other routes such as those above Kirstenbosch can be pretty sheltered on the way up.

The Table cloth is a feature of the South East wind. Having blown across False Bay collecting evaporating water along the way. The air is forced to rise over Table Mountain, and bingo. The air condenses and forms clouds. It can beautiful sunny weather everywhere else but on the mountain.

The tablecloth of Table Mountain

Despite the cloud, hiking on Table Mountain in these conditions can be fun. It is cool and the cable car area is less crowded. The clouds are very mobile often opening for 30 seconds to reveal the wonderful views.

Maclears Beacon in the clouds

 For some reason the tip of the mountain right where the cable car station is often remains out of the clouds.

The cable car station clear of cloud

 Therefore you can still hike up Platteklip Gorge. Enjoying the cooling clouds for the last part of the climb. And then enjoy the views from the uncrowded view spots.

Looking up Platteklip gorge on a windy day