2015 - Traversing Table Mountain from North to South is possible when combining Skeleton George and Kasteelpoort trail. Start your hike early morning because sun will heat you up while climbing the narrow path towards the cable way. Fill up your water bottles before continuing. Along the Pipe track you can wonder Robben Island Camps Bay area before descending the cobble filled path downwards.
The beautiful forest-like start and the beach-like finish to this hike makes this strenuous trail well worth the climb. It’s only about 3km, which sounds easy enough, but remember this is Table Mountain we’re talking about.
You start your hike in the abundant Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (you’ll need to pay the regular entry fee) and climb up the back of Table Mountain. The first half is shaded and feels like you’re in a jungle somewhere far-off, but you’ll start seeing some spectacular views closer to the top. It’s a tough climb, but pack some snacks and enjoy a break on the aptly-named Breakfast Rock or relax on the “beach” at the reddish Hely-Hutchinson reservoir at the summit (please don’t swim here). It’s one of five reservoirs on the mountain and is a beautiful sight to behold.
From here it’s about an hour walk to the Table Mountain Cableway station if you want to spare your knees the trip down. Take the signs to Maclear’s Beaconand visit the big cairn that marks the highest point on Table Mountain (1 086 metres above sea level) on your way. Another option is to take Platteklip Gorge down, otherwise, head down Skeleton Gorge or Nursery Ravine to end up where you started.
Approximate time: 2- 4 one way hours one way depending on fitness and breaks.
Tackle the mountain from the Camp’s Bay side and you’ll be treated to serene views of the Atlantic Ocean and a less congested route.
You have two options for a starting point: You can either start with the Pipe Track (which could add an extra hour to your hike) or you can park in Theresa Road and walk up the Jeep track to the Pipe Track. For the latter, you’ll take a left once you’re on the Pipe Track to get to the Kasteelspoort turn-off.
It’s a picturesque walk up and you’ll want to take plenty of water breaks to enjoy the view. You’ll have the opportunity to marvel at the Twelve Apostles, Lion’s Head, the ocean and Robben Island on a clear day. In the early morning, you’ll be shaded from the sun by the mountain, making this hike pleasant even on warmer days.
Once you’ve reached the summit you’ll spot the “diving board” to your right where many pose for photos, but not to be attempted by the faint-hearted or on a windy day.
On this track, you’ll also spot some remnants of the old Cableway, used to ship supplies for the construction of the dams to the top of the mountain in the 1800s. Once you’re at the top it’s about an hour of walking to the Cableway if you want to head down that way.
Approximate time: 2 – 4 hours one way