I’ve done 2 hikes on Table Mountain in the last 4 months, both organised (terrifically) by our fearless leader Louise. In November, a group of us went up by cable-car (a fantastic experience in itself – and it’s easy to book online, and very well organised at the site), walked to Maclear’s Beacon (the highest point on the mountain, and named after astronomer Sir Thomas Maclear, who also has a crater on the moon named after him), then meandered along various paths for the rest of the afternoon, experiencing a bewildering array of weathers (from still and boiling hot to cold and damp with swirling mists) within the space of just a few hours. We stayed over at the Overseer’s Cottage, and walked down the steep roadway to Constantia Nek the next day.
This month, we took the cable-car again, but this time walked ‘the scenic route’ to Maclear’s Beacon – it’s a path along the front face of the mountain with the most amazing views over Cape Town, Table Bay and Robben Island. We also walked along an old aquaduct that was carpeted with red disas – this strictly protected and seldom-seen orchid is the emblem of the Western Cape. We went down a little way into Orange Kloof for lunch, and then spent the rest of the afternoon walking down the kloof (cue wobbly legs and aching muscles for the next few days) to the tented camp, which is actually in Hout Bay but feels as if it’s a million miles from anywhere.