Hiking Table Mountain
Table Mountain is a huge part in what makes Cape Town what it is today. For someone from South Africa, it would be hard to imagine the city without this mountain towering over everything. There is rarely a time in Cape Town when one cannot see at least a small part of Table Mountain, the long mountain that separates the city center from the rest of the country.
After seeing the picture, you can probably imagine where it gets its name. The long, flat top of the mountain looks smooth enough to be a table. When I was trying to figure out what to do in Cape Town, there was a consistent answer from nearly everyone: if you visit Cape Town, you must climb Table Mountain. So I did!
I went with three others, all three staff members. Two of them work on the communications team (social media, photography & video, blogging, etc.), and the third works as the Lifelong Learner coordinator (LLLs are the non-students who are on the voyage, families and individuals who are onboard for the educational experience). The Lifelong Learner coordinator is on his third or fourth voyage, so it was fantastic spending the day with him to get his perspectives.
We woke up at sunrise for breakfast, and we were all discouraged to see that a thick cloud of fog had overtaken all visibility. Knowing that things always change, we grabbed and Uber and took it to the trail head of the mountain. As soon as we were out of the harbor, we were pleased to see that the rest of the city was nice and sunny; it was just the harbor that had the thick fog over it!
The hike up was stunning on this warm sunny day. We had views of the city almost the entire way up, and the steep climb was a challenge. To be in nature on the mountain and being so close to a major city was incredible. This is something that so many people desire, to have a mountain so accessible to hike but also have everything that a city offers.
It took us just under two hours to arrive at the top, where we were greeted with beautiful views in all directions. In the very far distance to the south, we could see Cape Point, Hout Bay, and other places I had visited by car the previous day. Looking over the opposite side, we were towering over Cape Town, Robben Island, the soccer stadium, and the bay.
Wanting to save our knees, we decided to take the cable car down to where we started. The open air cable car was horrifying and fun at the same time, and within 3 minutes, we were back to where we started.