Table Mountain towers majestically over the city of Cape Town, exuding a powerful but inviting presence. Adventurers will feel compelled to conquer the giant by reaching its summit on foot. Take the cable car back to the bottom if your legs are too tired to descend on foot.

Did you know?

The dassie (or hyrax), which hikers are likely to encounter on Table Mountain, is the closest living relative of the elephant.

For those who wish to hike up Table Mountain instead of taking the cable car, the Platteklip Gorge route is the most direct route, although it's also arguably the most challenging one.

The Platteklip Gorge hiking route starts a few metres to the right of the lower cableway station as you face the mountain from the car park. The entire route is clearly signposted.

The first section of the Table Mountain hike is a steep, straight ascent that provides a great warm-up for hikers. Cable car passengers going up the mountain often look down on hikers with admiration and wave encouragingly through the windows as they enjoy their own effortless journey upwards.

On clear days the Platteklip Gorge route presents hikers with excellent views of the Cape Town coastline, city centre and southern suburbs. On misty days, the mystical element of the ascent serves as adequate compensation for the lack of panoramic scenery.

There are more plant species on Table Mountain than there are in the entire United Kingdom, and hikers are likely to encounter fauna in the form of rock hyraxes, colourful lizards and a variety of birdlife.

The highest point on Table Mountain (1 086m above sea level) can be reached on foot, although it is advisable to avoid this section in bad weather.

At the upper cable station there is a restaurant, a café and a curio shop. A telescope allows for enhanced views of the Atlantic seaboard.

Return tickets for the cable car can be purchased at the upper cable station for those whose legs are too weary for the hike back down. Please note that the cable car does not operate in inclement weather.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

South African National Parks (SANParks)

Tel: +27 (0)21 487 6800
Fax: +27 (0)21 487 6859

How to get here

The Platteklip Gorge hike starts from the lower cableway station at Table Mountain, less than 3km from the Cape Town city centre. Metred taxis will take you there for around R50.

Best time to visit

The route is open all year, but If you prefer the heat, climb Table Mountain between November and April.

What will it cost

Hiking up Platteklip Gorge is free. Should you wish to take the cable car back down, a ticket will cost approx R100 per person.

What to pack

Bear in mind that the temperature on top of Table Mountain can be up to 6 degrees colder than at the bottom. During summer (October to April) a plentiful supply of water is essential, while waterproof clothing will most likely be necessary during winter (April to October).

Where to stay

There are 4 tented camps on Table Mountain if you wish to complete your mountain experience by staying the night. Call SANParks to book.

Related articles