In my experience as a tour guide over the last year I have been exposed to many different types of travelers with many different interests .Whilst interacting with my guests I have noticed a growing interest for people to seek the unique and unknown new destinations. Having seen many of Cape Town’s major tourist attractions numerous times during my career as a tour guide I fully understand the sentiment. My understanding of this phenomenon however is lost on the travelers who have not had the privilege to enjoy the sights most visited even when given the opportunity. I will admit that I have been wanting to fall into this trap as well, completely dismissing the known for the prospect of finding some magical amazing place where no one knows. My next line of thoughts however lead me back to the direct opposite. What if, I did things I have not done since I was young…what if I hiked Table Mountain
[blockquote author=”” link=”” target=”_blank”]Table Mountain is one of those magical, unique and spectacular places unlike anything you have ever seen.[/blockquote] Sure, many parts of Cape Town has been compared to other beautiful places in the world from the South of France, Spain, California and many more, nothing however can be compared to the majestic Table mountain. This iconic marvel of nature is not just intriguing to tourists but locals too I find myself mesmerized at the most inopportune time, on occasion I have even stopped mid sentence during a tour before snapping back and having to apologize even if I was “gone” for only a second. In these moments I always find myself hiking up in my mind.
Finally after almost 20 years I decided that it was the right time to re-experience this amazing adventure once again. After months of missed opportunities and changed plans, my brother in-law and I aligned our schedules to meet up and take on this hike. Our hike started before we headed up the mountain as we decided to park closer to the cable car entrance, we figured it would be easier to walk to our starting point at Platteklip which was approximately 1.5km walk away as opposed to doing the trek after hiking up.We enjoyed the pleasant flat walk towards the starting point and at this point I had completely forgotten about the fact that I was actually about to walk up a mountain, until…There it was
Our ascent commenced with great enthusiasm and excitement, in addition I was struck by the number of people on the trail. Here on the side of my beloved mountain with people of all ages and nationalities, I realized that this mountain no longer belongs to only the people of Cape Town, it now belonged to every person who takes the memory of this experience home with them and shares it therefore creating a need to experience it for themselves. I’ve always considered myself a person of relative fitness, however about 10 minutes in I realised that the mountain does not care how many kilometers you are able to complete in 2 hours or how far you can swim or how many waves you can catch while surfing. It is constant and it is steep and your job is to lift your feet and move your behind if you want to get up it. Even though I was exceptionally irritated with myself not being able to summit with the ease I expected from myself, this gave me an opportunity I might have missed if I was to summit in my expected 1h30. I now had a chance to take a moment and enjoy the view and the finer intricacies which this massive national park had to offer. I then started noticing the flowers in bloom and different types of protea, I was even reminded that the different types of protea can be an indication of the time of the year it is. The king protea depicted below is a sign that we are heading into a hotter time and gives way to the pin cushion protea which is an indication that we are heading to summer .
On our steady ascent we took a moment to enjoy scattered shade provided by the mountain and the amazing views as we went along. I found myself passing many groups and being passed by those same people as I stopped to take a break, take in the view or capture some of the images shared with you here.
The gorge started becoming narrower and narrower, with this I knew that the end of the trail was not far off and before I knew it I found myself in a narrow little corridor which then opened up to reveal the top of our beloved Table Mountain.
I have been on top of table mountain several times before, today however the view seemed more spectacular. Gazing off into the distance as far as Cape point I had a sense of the true scale of Table mountain national park and all the beauty which lied between myself and Cape point. In this moment I felt a sense of accomplishment, peace and thirst.
We took a few moments to look around on the top as we made our way to the Cafe with one thing on our minds, an ice cold beer which we enjoyed while taking in our spectacular surroundings.
Making our way down in the cable car we stood amongst many tourists who did not take the scenic route, standing there smelling like someone who had just walked up the mountain, I asked myself “I wonder if they realised what they just missed out on? How many people will never know this feeling? Who needs to stay off the beaten track when you can join the masses and still have a once in a lifetime experience”
With that being said I would like to leave you with one final statement
Go walk up a mountain, choose your mountain and choose to get over it.