Cape Town’s most famous landmark, Table Mountain, is a wonder to view from the city bowl but it’s even more amazing to experience it from the top. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous and want that endorphin rush of “I’ve just climbed a mountain” then we highly recommend a hike up this legendary rock. Here are 5 things you need remember:
As with any form of exercise you need to remember to drink water. While you’re certainly not running a marathon up there you are definitely increasing your heart rate, especially on the way up, and your body will need and welcome H2O. No one likes that thirsty feeling so be prepared and bring a water bottle. The general recommendation is a litre of water. What’s great about hiking Table Mountain is that if it’s been raining you’ll even be able to fill your water bottle up with delicious water from some of the mountain streams. Staying hydrated will also help protect you from cramps and sore muscles.
The African sun is harsh and known to be the downfall of many a lobster-resembling tourist. If you’re going to be outdoors even for a short amount of time it’s wise to protect your skin with a good SPF. As a hike takes place in the great outdoors you’ll need to be well slathered up. Pro Tip: reapply your sunblock regularly, this is why you should take your sunblock along. It’ll also come in handy for members of your hike who weren’t quite so clever and forgot theirs.
- Dress in Layers
Weather conditions on Table Mountain are known to be unpredictable, so much so that locals like to say it has “4 seasons in one day”. A summer day can quickly turn windy and in winter the clouds could roll in at any minute. The opposite is also true, you might have headed up in cool weather only to have the sun surprise you with some real heat. So be prepared and dress in layers, if it’s hot bring a warm top and if it’s cool make sure you’re wearing a t-shirt underneath your windbreaker. And while we’re talking apparel, a hat is also a good idea to protect your face from the sun and sunglasses will keep you from squinting from the glare. It should go without saying that you’ll be wearing comfortable walking shoes, but just in case… don’t attempt it in high heels or flip flops!
All that fresh air and walking can really work up an appetite so remember to bring some yummy snacks. It’ll also remind you to slow down and enjoy yourself, or instead give yourself a goal to work towards – top of the mountain = picnic time! Any food will taste better during a hike but some authentically South African suggestions would be biltong and/or droëwors, a naartjie (tangerine), a Lunch Bar chocolate, Melrose cheese triangles and Pro-Vita crackers. But of course, a hearty sandwich from a deli is also great. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures sitting on a rock on a beautiful mountain eating and chatting with friends old and new, while taking in the view.
- A camera
Possibly the most important thing to remember! Besides the breath-taking views from the top, along the way you will also see beautiful fynbos flowers, including the stunning King Protea, and cute little animals such as the Rock Hyrax, also known as a Dassie. Dassies like to sun themselves on the rocks and like the Protea are only found in South Africa. You can easily fill a whole album with your snaps of the fauna and flora of the mountain, as well as the view from different points on your hike. And of course, you can’t leave Cape Town without the ultimate souvenir: a shot of you at the top of Table Mountain.