Table Mountain, The Ledge – January 21st 2019

Arrived back in Cape Town yesterday, checked into the Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Foreshore for my two remaining nights in ZA, got settled and cleaned up before meeting a couple of friends for dinner.
We went to a really nice Thai place, unfortunately not really up to par on the portion sizes and we had to get some starters after the main course to be satisfied.
I met Eva and went for a short hike with her in 2017, yet it’s the first time her boyfriend Mike and I meet in person, good conversation and lots of fun, they’re both wonderful people and very including. Being a guide in the area, Mike points me to a route up the eastern side of table mountain and later they send me photos from one of the rare guide books describing this route.
I decided to try it out, knowing that I might have to turn around if it gets too sketchy, and being totally ok with that. Starting from the hotel it takes some walking to get to the trailhead up towards Devils Peak where I started up the mountain.

Hiking up to the saddle following the main trail is easy and comfortable, my main concern being to find the right fork where to turn off from the train before it’s a descent down on the other side of the saddle.

Turns out it’s not that hard to find (and, yes, I mindfully chose not to point it out as the route is frankly not suited for most people) and soon I’m heading along the smaller trail up towards the table. First, it’s just a faint and rather steep trail up the mountainside, yet after passing over the ledge that gave the route its name, it starts to involve some vertical climbs and becomes increasingly harder to navigate.

On a few occasions, I have to double back and find the trail again after hitting a dead end. More and more climbing, at one point coming through a crack in the rock almost resembling a tunnel, I contemplated turning around a few times yet always finding a good hold for hands and feet and being able to carry on.
Finally I found myself standing on a narrow ledge with a sharp drop off to the left about 100m or more (300ft) and looking at the uppermost part of a steep ravine with nowhere else to go but up, I have to admit the only thing that got me to continue was the simple fact that climbing back down seemed even more sketchy than climbing up the ravine.

Obviously, I made it, though slowly and consciously, and always keeping three limbs on the rock, cautious not to slip on the wet and muddy spots and staying away from the grass and bushes barely finding grip with their roots in the superficial soil.

As usual, after completing a route like this, the feeling coming out at the top is indescribable, that last stretch really got some adrenaline pumping and I enjoyed the aftermath of the rush while making my way across the table towards the station on the western side.
A friendly woman at the coffee bar kindly refilled my water bag and soon I made my way down the mountain, once again following the India Venster route, that admittedly felt very timid and easy compared to the adventures coming up. Please see previous posts in referens to that route, ok?

Arriving back at the hotel I had been out moving for just over seven hours and had definitely earned my dinner, and this being my last night I went for a fantabulous Prime Rib to close off an intensely fun day filled with adventures in nature!

Thanks for checking out the post, please leave a comment below and let me know what You think, ok?

Peace be the Journey // Claes

Hike around Robberg outside Plettenberg Bay, ZA, January 5th, 2019

Totally recommend this hike around Robberg, my friend Jim did the shorter one by Witsand, while I rounded the entire peninsula.

The trail was mostly well marked and easy to both find and walk, stretches are rather steep and You need to take Your time, yet as long as You’re reasonably fit, You should be able to get around the longer trail. Just be forewarned that a few parts involve more or less climbing up and down rocks and hillside, and You need a certain degree of agility to manage those stretches.
Most of the first half runs along the top of the northern cliff ridge of the peninsula, opening up a stunning view of the bay with a beautiful beach stretching far towards the horizon and, of course, the city of Plettenberg Bay, in season overflowing with tourists and summer guests while more or less empty the rest of the year.

You will probably hear the sound of seals from the cliffs below and be able to view them from quite a few spots along the trail, just make sure to stay on the trail as I’m unsure about the conditions of the cliffs. The rock looks like it could be brittle!

At the halfway point You get a fantastic view of the Indian Ocean and will probably notice the contrast between the rather calm bay and the ocean to the west. The trail continues over rocks and cliffs closer to the shoreline, before turning back up the hillside and a stunning view of the coast to the west.

Gotta love the irony of, at some points, having to virtually use Your hands to scramble and climb up rocks and cliffs, and a little later walking on boards and down a wooden stairway. Personally, I don’t really get the thinking behind that…

Along the west side of Robberg, there’s a cabin for an overnight stay, a permit must be obtained ahead of time, and I have no idea how long in advanced the place is booked. Definitely gonna look into it for my next visit in this area. Falling asleep to the sound of the waves crashing over the rocks must be just awesome!!!

Passing over a fantabulous sandy beach, the trail soon leads back up the hillside for quite some elevation on the way back to the ‘Gap’ and farther on to the parking area.

The signs at the trailhead recommend 4 hours for the round trip, I did it in just under 2 without hurrying through, and I think most people will find their true time somewhere in between. Just bring water and, unless You’re reasonably fat adapted, maybe some snacks, take Your time and enjoy the view and the adventure – it’s all good!

Let me know what You think and Peace be the Journey!!!

Much Love // Claes

Table Mountain on the India Venster Route, January 2nd, 2019

After a really good nights sleep, I felt the urge to compensate all my sitting on a plane the day before with a good chunk of hiking.
Staying at a hotel downtown and with local transport being more of a joke, it seemed just right to start by walking the few km’s up to the trailhead.
Already on beforehand I decided to hike up India Venster, definitely my favorite access way to the mountaintop from last time I was in Cape Town.

Lucky enough, the wind was too strong for the cable car to operate and so I already suspected that the top would be nice and quiet.
Not many people on the trail, I passed two couples pretty soon after starting the hike and then didn’t meet anyone until close to the end of the trail, when two guys who originally came up Platterklip gorge and had planned for the cable car on the way down, passed by in the opposite direction.
Here I decided to backtrack my way down to the starting point once having checked out the upper station.

I was pretty keen on a coffee and have to admit being a little disappointed when it turned out nothing had opened up for the day… The thought that all the people working up there, of course, got transported with the cable car, hadn’t crossed my mind, and I had built up some expectation of the tasty Flat White I would enjoy once finishing the climb. Anyway, water did have to suffice and soon after my arrival I headed back down, only wearing shorts and a t-shirt was quickly getting chilly in the wind.

Lots of fun going down the same route, just take it easy when it gets steep. You might have found out Yourself it’s sometimes faster going up than down when the gig involves some climbing 😉

Met a few people coming up the trail and passed a group going down after having climbed the Platterklip Gorge and originally wanting to go down by cable car.
Frankly, I was a little baffled by the choice to take this route as an alternative to the cable, it’s definitely not the easiest one!

Anyway, once at the contour path crossing I decided to call it a day and return to my hotel, naturally making a stop for some good coffee on the way!

Please let me know if You tried this route or plan to do so!

Peace be the Journey // Claes