How do you convince a 12 yo and 15 yo (whom barely tolerate hiking) to hike Table Mountain? Table Mountain towers above CapeTown. We had been staring at it all week from our apartment window. And E&S knew you could drive to the cable car station and ride up.
Sweeten the deal with a promise of adventure!
At least that was how we did it!
We met our guide at the cable cab station early in the morning and headed up Platteklip Gorge. We aimed to start early to beat the sun and the people. The trail can get busy throughout the day (it is the most popular route to the top)…and we wanted to be at the top by then. The Gorge route is the most direct route and was slightly challenging (some steep portions) but not technically challenging. It is essentially a staircase up- there are several areas with stone stairs. We had planned that it would take 3 hours based on our children’s speed and we finished just under! The hike was full of switchbacks and some climbing, however there were plenty of flat spots for refueling and picture taking. The total ascent was 1086 meters.
I am so thankful we had a guide to point out native flowers/bushes (South African orchid, proteas, sour fig, red disa, fynbos) along with way. She pointed out native birds and a couple lizards. She knew the trail well and was able to cajole the kids as needed. We had views of the Capetown, Devil’s Peak, and Lion Head as we climbed. It was fortunate that it was a small group. We were joined by a couple from Germany and we hope that we didn’t slow them down too much.
Along the way, we were introduced to a dassi (SANBI info) or a rock hyrax (AKA rock badger). Cute animals are a motivator for E&S and they nearly ran to the top once our guide told them that was the preferred napping spot. The closest living relative to this species is the elephant- which we love as a family! S nearly drove himself crazy knowing that he couldn’t take one home (or even pet one). At the top of the mountain, they were stretched out sleeping on the warm rock surfaces.
Once we reached the top of the monolith, the kids gloated of their victory. And the long hike was soon forgotten. Next.. the abseil adventure, courtesy of Abseil Africa. Yes, we just hiked up Table Mountain and now we were going to abseil down nearly 300 meters to then hike up again. There was no nerves or worries from E&S. They didn’t even want to wait for the safety briefing. The adults? We weren’t too sure at all. Jeni ended up joining the kids mainly because she didn’t want to hear the laughing if she bailed out. I was just about to control my breathing when….the surprise! About half-way down, the rock surface disappeared and I was left to slide down the rope to the bottom. As I screamed out, the kids coaxed me down!
The views from Table Mountain were amazing! The clouds were hanging just below the top of the mountain on the coastal side obscuring the towns below. It almost seemed like a pillow jumping field! After soaking in the views and allowing my heart-rate to return to normal, we headed back to town for a much deserved lunch via the Cable Car.