The hardest thing about being surrounded by gorgeous rocks is not being able to climb them. That was the only downside of my mini-trek up Table Mountain in Cape Town.
This 1,085m (3,558ft) massif dominates the skyline of Cape Town the way the Shard dominates London’s, but I find its natural beauty a little more exciting than the glass construction back home.
I was very lucky with this mountain. It is often covered in thick cloud at the top even on the clearest of days, which has been dubbed the ‘tablecloth’ by the locals, but on 28 December 2014, when I chose to ascend it, it remained clear for the whole day.
The top of the mountain can be accessed in a number of ways – via the easier, but longer, Back Table route, the steep but direct, Platteklip Gorge route, or by cable car.
Though the cableway is technically the quickest way to reach the summit, and not super-expensive at R225 for a round trip (around £13), the mountain is so popular that queues to get to the top can last for hours. For me, that was just an extra reason to use my own feet to reach the summit, but not for Zayn. No matter how much I tried to talk up the walk, he outright refused, saying he would “die on the way” and leaving me to plod up with his sister and her husband (both of whom I am very grateful to for coming with me).
Our ascent took around 2 hours. Zayn joined the queue as we left and arrived to the top just 15 minutes before us. Considering the journey up takes just minutes, that means a good hour and a half in the queue. Just saying!
The views from Table Mountain over the city are worth every second of the trek, too, especially when visibility is as good as it was on the day. It is really worth checking out the weather forecast, though, to avoid the disappointment of being stuck inside a cloud.
Botany geeks would also be excited to know that Table Mountain is home to 2,200 different species of plants – more than the entire United Kingdom! There is even a plant that can leave you with nasty burns that take three weeks to heal, so careful what you touch up there.
In 2012, Table Mountain was officially named one of the seven new wonders of nature, along with the Amazon rainforest, Vietnam’s Halong Bay and Argentina’s Iguazu Falls, so it really is worth a visit.
If I go back again though, I am bringing my climbing gear. The mountain itself, and the region around it, is just begging to be climbed (and it is already popular with climbers worldwide)!