Photo Credit: Flickr user warrenski
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Hiking on Table Mountain is popular amongst locals and tourists, and a number of trails of varying difficulty are available. Because of the steep cliffs around the summit, direct ascents from the city side are limited. Platteklip Gorge, a prominent gorge up the centre of the main table, is a popular and straightforward direct ascent to the summit. Par for the course is about 2.5 hours but is done between 1â€“3 hours depending on one's fitness level.
Longer routes to the summit go via the Back Table, a lower area of Table Mountain to the South of the main plateau. From the Southern Suburbs side, the Nursery Ravine and Skeleton Gorge routes start at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. The route via Skeleton Gorge to Maclear's Beacon is known as Smuts Track in memory of Jan Smuts, who was a keen hiker. The Bridle Path, or Jeep Track, makes a more gradual ascent from Constantia Nek along the road used to service the dams on Back Table. There are many other paths in popular walking areas on the lower slopes of the mountain accessed from Constantia Nek, Cecilia Park, Kirstenbosch, Newlands Forest and Rhodes Memorial.
On the Atlantic side, the most popular ascent is Kasteelspoort, a gorge overlooking Camps Bay, while the Pipe Track is a level route popular with walkers.
The Hoerikwaggo Trails are four hiking trails on Table Mountain ranging from two to six days, operated by South African National Parks. The original inhabitants of the area, the Khoekhoen and San tribes called Table Mountain Hoerikwaggo â€“ "sea mountain". The four Table Mountain hiking trails are called the People's Trail, Table Mountain Trail, Orangekloof Hiking Trail and Top to Tip Trail.
Rock climbing on Table Mountain is a very popular pastime. There are well-documented climbing routes of varying degrees of difficulty up the many faces of the mountain. The main climbs are located on cliffs below the upper cable station. No bolting can be done here and only traditional climbing is allowed. Commercial groups also offer abseiling from the upper cable station.
Most of the world's important caves occur in limestone but Table Mountain is unusual in having several large cave systems that have developed in sandstone. The biggest systems are the Wynberg Caves, located on the Back Table, not far from the Jeep Track, in ridges overlooking Orange Kloof and Hout Bay.
The slopes of Table Mountain have many jeep tracks that allows mountain biking. The route to the Block House is a popular route for bike riding. Plum Pudding is the name of a very steep jeep track. Bike riders should follow the directional signs on display for mountain bike riders.
Description from Wikipedia under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
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