There are more than 50 ways you can reach the top of Table Mountain. And as you might expect, each route holds a different magic. Some are more challenging, while others are more forgiving, making them more popular for friends, families and groups. The Skeleton Gorge Table Mountain hiking route falls more to the latter. However, there are some challenges involved and it’s best to find out what they are from your guide. Some of them are discussed later in the article, along with the scenery, the route and length of the trip.
The Skeleton Gorge Table Mountain Setting
The Skeleton Gorge Table Mountain hike starts off at the well-known Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. This is the side of the mountain that enjoys the most rainfall, which means there is a beautiful forest atmosphere. The type of vegetation you’re going to see is incredibly rare, because only 0.5% of the African continent is covered by it. In fact, a big part of the trail is forest related, so get those jungle boots ready.
The route will take you to all the main floral zones, something flower and plant lovers are going to enjoy a great deal. But at the same time you’ll see sections that aren’t visited very much. At the end of the trail you’ll notice that you had the opportunity to look in all directions and view Table Mountain in ways you couldn’t imagine.
What to Expect
As mentioned earlier, the hike starts at Kirstenbosch and the overall trip is somewhat steep. To put this into perspective, we’ll be climbing from the 200 meter mark and reach for 800 meters. And while the first part of the hike only includes stepping, there is a ladder section around the halfway mark. At the rocky water stream we’ll have to start using our hands if we want to navigate the rocks, and after that we’ll link into the Smuts Track.
The incline between the Smuts Track and the highest point on Table Mountain is about 280 meters, and it’s not steep at all. In fact, you can consider the last section of the trip as the easiest part. During this section you should be able to see all the Mother City has to offer in terms of visual beauty. However, the weather needs to play along here. Summer is usually the best time for this hike, but we have to be somewhat cautious due to heavy rainfalls.
At the end of the hike you’ll descend the mountain via the cable car, so you can relax and enjoy the scenery on the way down.
Level of Difficulty
Full disclosure, it’s not the easiest route you can take to the top of the mountain. If you want a hiking trail that will be the least physically challenging, then we suggest the Platteklip Gorge route. However, you don’t have to be a house of fitness to enjoy the Skeleton Gorge trail. Given the length of the trip, just get ready to push yourself at certain sections. What really makes it worth the while is the less traveled sections you’ll get to see, along with the amazing nature scenes.
Length of the Hike
The average time it takes to reach the top of the mountain is about 4 hours, and the distance we’ll cover is about 6km. In terms of elevation, we’ll be climbing 900 meters in total.
Who will enjoy it?
If a dense forest is something that tickles your fancy, in addition to all kinds of rare plant species and lizards, then you can’t go wrong with the Skeleton Gorge Table Mountain hike. Apart from experiencing the exceptional nature that can only be associated with Table Mountain, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of Cape Town. This is the type of trail that will really get you into the spirit of hiking, but won’t leave you heaving halfway through.