Table Mountain is one of the most recognizable mountains in the world, along with Mount Everest, the Matterhorn, Mount Fiji and the Sugar Loaf Mountain of Rio de Janeiro. Yet Table Mountain is only just higher than 1000 m – quite small in comparison with the mountain giants of the world. When one sees Table Mountain for the first time, however, all statistics fall away. Rising almost straight from the sea to a height of more than three times that of the Eiffel Tower, ending in a virtually flat-topped mesa, flanked dramatically by Devil’s Peak (1000 m) on the left and Lion’s Head (670 m) on the right, this sight is magnificent evidence of nature in all her splendour. But nature does not stop here – she sites the mountain in the middle of the richest floral kingdom in the world and then goes a step further by placing it at the end of the continent, on the tip of Africa.
The Dassie Walk (named after the small furry rock hyrax which is common on the mountain) and Agama Walk (named after the lizard commonly seen here) are short and well paved, running in a circular route along the front of the Western Table and then crossing over to the south side ending at the restaurant. The Klipspringer Walk (named after a small buck that is renowned for its mountain climbing skills) is an extension to these two walks, the only difference is this path is not paved but still easy to walk. This walk takes you to the edge of Platteklip Gorge, then it turns right and meets up with the main path from Platteklip to the Upper Cable Station. All three walks give exceptional views and can be walked in under an hour. The longest walk of the three, the Klipspringer, only ventures 600 m away from the Upper Cable Station and measures about 1.3 km in length.
Do not undertake these walks if the weather may put you in danger (weather check: call 021 424 8181) and always carry extra clothing in case of sudden changes in the weather. Also carry water and additional energy food. Let someone know the route you are taking and your expected time of return: plan sufficient time for your walk. Preferably take a mobile phone but as few valuables as possible as muggings have occurred on the mountain: avoid suspicious-looking people and try to walk in a group, never on your own. Keep to the paths in order to prevent soil erosion and damage to plants. Do not pick or disturb flora or fauna. Do not start fires or deface rocks. Take your litter home with you. Use the toilets at the Cable Station before beginning your walk. The rule of thumb is to leave the mountain as you found it.