Table Mountain National Park is the most prominent set of landmarks of Cape Town. The park is actually a non-contiguous set of natural attractions. I have visited several already, including Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.
I had hiked Lion’s Head, which sits at 669 meters altitude. It can be done in less than an hour, with some lightly scary moments at the end if you opt for the route involving chains. At the top at sunset, there were at least 100 people with a median age of 24. There were hardly any old people, and I thought that this demographic had been “priced out” in the same way that poor people do not attend fine dining establishments. It’s a climb I recommend to everyone.
I tackled the proper Table Mountain my last full day in Cape Town. Table Mountain has a constant, eerie fog that recycles over the top. It looks like a giant smoke machine. There is a cable car up and down the mountain for lazy people, but it is often closed due to high winds.
The first 75% of the climb starts innocently enough, but I will never forget the last portion. I would not call the winds gusts because they were unrelenting. It was like being on another planet, with a strange atmosphere of heavy mist and winds blowing at 40 kph with 0 let-up. It got cold and treacherous. It was one of the more unpleasant moments I have had in hiking simply because I was not expecting to get so wet. The calm, serene fog seen from the city is a weird maelstrom of wind and mist when you are up there. I was told my experience happens, but most people do not hike then. There was no view from up top because of the dense fog. When I saw that the cable car down was not in operation, I was heartbroken, realizing I had to hike all the way back down.