Our guides are passionate about the mountain and love sharing it with others. Leading hikes is what they do for a living, they are qualified and accredited, and know the mountain intimately!
There is no shortage of routes on Table Mountain – more than 900 if you include climbing routes. These can be mixed and matched into innumerable variations to provide a lifetime of hiking and climbing. Our guides offer every hike up every single route on Table Mountain. This means that we have a reservoir of options to give you the ultimate hiking experience. Hiking routes vary in length, nature and difficulty: the easiest follows well-defined paths and leads up rock steps, with minimal scrambling and exposure to heights (vertical drops); the hardest traverses bushy and broken terrain and involves lots of scrambling and exposure to heights.
Routes are graded A, B or C. Grades do not reflect how strenuous or exposed to heights a route is, only the technical difficulty.
An A-route involves walking only, a B-route some scrambling and a C-route more demanding scrambling, often necessitating rope work. Times below are approximate.
We need to know how fit you are and how you feel about exposure to heights while on ledges - if you want to do a more demanding and adventurous hike.
TABLE MOUNTAIN HIKING ROUTES
Time: 2.5 to 3 hours
The oldest, easiest and most direct route to the summit and therefore also the most popular, so expect company along the way. Follows a well-constructed trail up a deep ravine on the iconic front face of the mountain, featuring imposing cliffs in its upper reaches. Tops out near the upper cable station. Extension: from the ravine head, traverse the length of the famous table top summit to the highest point on the mountain for more great views, an extra 1.5 hours and R350 pp.
Time: 3.5 hours
Arguably the best half-day route to the summit, this sensational route leads up an impressive part of the mountain, offering superb city and sea views. Involves scrambling and exposure to heights (narrow ledges – nothing extreme) about 15% of the way, therefore ideal for, but not restricted to the more adventurous. Dramatic topography and varied hiking.
Time: 3.5 hours to Maclear’s Beacon (add 45 minutes to upper cable station)
A Table Mountain classic. Follows a lush ravine through indigenous jungle before emerging onto shrub-covered slopes to eventually gain the highest point on the mountain. A short detour en route leads to a ‘beach’ at the historic Table Mountain reservoirs. Takes in all floral zones and covers the length of the famous tabletop summit. Jungle setting with Peninsula and inland views on the ascent.
Grade: A+ (with B and C options)
Time: 3.5 hours round trip
Lion’s Head is a free-standing peak located next to Table Mountain and about two-thirds its height. This isolated peak offers exciting hiking with sensational views. Available as a sunrise or sunset hike – a truly memorable experience. Also serves as a great alternative for when Table Mountain is covered in cloud. More adventurous as well as off-the-beaten track variations available.
NEED TO KNOW
We’re eager to make your hike as memorable as possible. To manage expectations, please take the time to read the following:
Table Mountain’s weather is notoriously unpredictable: the mountain gets more cloud and wind than you might imagine despite its location in sunny South Africa. We do our utmost to ensure you hike the mountain in the best possible weather, and we level with you at the outset if we think conditions are going to be sub-optimal. But sometimes the weather forecasts get it wrong and we find ourselves in thick cloud or strong wind (or both). It’s not unusual for the weather to change dramatically overnight or even over the course of a hike. This is why we always advise you to book early in your stay to allow for spare days in the event of bad weather.
If we have to reschedule your hike due to bad weather, we will contact you by 8pm latest the evening prior. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee availability on the same route, although we try our best to accommodate your route of choice.
We hike up and take the cableway down. Strong wind closes the cableway, necessitating a hike-down (an extra 2 hours and R300 pp). If we hike down, Platteklip Gorge is the route of choice, being the quickest and easiest route down the mountain. Cape Town gets a lot of wind, especially in summer (November to February), and the cableway is sensitive to wind.
We hike at a leisurely pace, but not a crawl. If you suspect yourself to be a slow hiker, best to spend more on a private hike so you can hike at your own pace without pressure from other group members. Same applies if you’re fit and fast: we can’t expect the whole group to streak up the mountain. Book a private hike and you’re well on your way to setting that personal best.
It might happen that you overestimated your fitness level, or underestimated Table Mountain (you won’t be the first, nor the last). If you are much slower than the rest of the group, the guide will have to turn you back, usually no further than 30 minutes into the hike, as it would be unfair to expect the whole group to hike at a much-reduced pace. We really don’t like turning people back, but we have to be fair to other group members, unless everyone is prepared to hike at a slower pace—we always check. Same story if the guide thinks you might not be able to complete the hike for reasons other than fitness: we will likely turn you back, more for safety reasons than out of consideration for other group members. No charge in the event of a turn-back.
Motivation, determination and enthusiasm amply compensate for whatever you might lack in fitness. If you know yourself to be out of shape, then you need to be prepared to push yourself physically. Table Mountain is steep and rugged. If you’re below-average fitness, then you have to be up for a solid workout in order to earn the distinction and sense of achievement from climbing the mountain.
If you’re not sure why we start hikes at the crack of dawn, it’s to beat the heat. Heat makes the hike tough and unpleasant – on some days, excruciating. We also start early to beat the wind, which in summer tends to strengthen around noon, closing the cableway and resulting in a hike-down: tough and unpleasant as well. Also, the soft, dawn light makes for the best photography. But not only that: an early start usually sees you back at the hotel in time for breakfast, leaving the bulk of the day for sightseeing.
Please note our basic cancellation policy: 75% payable in the event of cancellation 24 hours before the pick-up or meeting time, for whatever reason other than bad weather; or in the event of no-show or late arrival (10 minutes). Groups of 3 or more: members absent under the abovementioned conditions liable to pay 50%. We don’t like asking for this, especially if you cancel due to illness or injury, but it’s common practice in business and there are sound reasons why we subscribe to it. And operating a cash-on-the-day payment method means that we rely on your goodwill and understanding in the payment of cancellation fees.
Our pick-up service is a courtesy service. Our cars fit 4 people, so the first 4 to book for a given day get free pick-up and drop-off in the city area. If the guide’s car is already full, we will arrange taxi pick-up for you at no extra cost if within the city area; drop-off for your account. For groups of 5 or more: we’re happy to sponsor a taxi to help with pick-up and drop-off (within the city area).