Table Mountain offers a sense of majesty to Cape Town, South Africa. It’s steep granite cliffs rise over 3,500 feet (1,055 m) above the city and bring a kind of unity to the disparate neighborhoods that encircle it. No matter where you are, a view of the mountain isn’t more than a few feet away.
Hiking Table Mountain was always on the top of our to do list for Cape Town. There are many routes to the top (including a cable car for those less inclined to trekking). We opted to hike Smut’s Track via Skeleton Gorge and were not disappointed.
Skeleton’s Gorge actually starts at the back of the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. If we had realized how beautiful the gardens are, we would have arrived earlier to spend more time there.
But unfortunately, we were already arriving late and had to walk straight through.
The trail started out easy enough.
After a short while, there were a series of wooden ladders to climb.
It rained the day before so, we couldn’t climb up through the riverbed like you’re ‘supposed’ to. Instead, we followed some patches of barbed wire and emerged from the canopy. This route was less marked and involved some unexpectedly tricky rock scrambling. (Another American couple was so put off by this that they decided to turn back). But we thought it added a sense of adventure and were rewarded with our first glimpse of the city below.
Along the way, there were multiple patches of wild flowers.
It took us about 90min to reach the to reach the top of the gorge. But we still had a good bit of hiking to do…
We began our trek across the top of the mountain.
Table Mountain has a higher density of plant life than most rainforests.
There are also random collections of cool looking bolders.
Once we reached the summit, we stopped for our lunch of prepackaged Woolworth’s sandwiches.
The trail is mostly well marked, but there are a few parts where you need to figure things out. Like this part, where we had to climb down into this tunnel like passageway.
Eventually, we arrived at the beach side of the mountain.
and opted to take the cable car down.
We’ve been on a number of hikes this trip, but Table Mountain has easily been our favorite. The views, variety of terrain, flowers, and relaxed pace left us smiling nearly the entire time.
Will & Elizabeth