Table Mountain is Cape Town’s iconic landmark. It’s about 3280 feet (1 km) above sea level. India Venster trail is a popular hiking trail worth doing.
Hiking Table Mountain was a top priority on this trip to South Africa because I was unable to hike during my first visit.
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You’ll find the start of India Venster trail near the cable car station.
Enter into Google Maps this address: Table Mountain Lower Aerial Cableway Station, Tafelberg Road, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
I took a Uber to the meeting point so if you have a car, there is some parking available, but it can fill up on a busy day.
INDIA VENSTER TRAIL
Hike Date: January 2019
Distance: 2.5 km one-way (1.6 mi)
Hiking time: 3.5 hours one-way
Level of Difficulty: Moderate-to-difficult
There is no entrance fee to hike Table Mountain itself. It’s open 24/7.
I wasn’t confident going alone so I opted for a guided hike through Airbnb Experiences.
Our guide, Martin, is South African. He has a lot of hiking experience. There were 6 of us, including me and the guide.
Once everyone had arrived, we started the hike close to 7:30 am. The weather remained the same throughout the hike. Sunny, clear sky, and very little wind. Beware that the weather can change.
Because it was a Saturday and the weather was good, there were people throughout the trail. Very few were hiking the trail alone. Most were in groups.
The first 30 minutes or so of the hike will hurt your thighs. It’s like a stair-master. We had a few short breaks before reaching the top of Table Mountain. The trail has very little shade but offers some of the best views.
What I enjoyed about this hike is the range of activity. There was a mix of trekking, scrambling, and instances where we had to use the chains and metal rings attached to the rocks to move up. And of course the stunning views of the city (98% of the hike) and coastline.
Most sites will say that you need to be moderately fit. It will certainly help but just so you know, my fitness level is non-existent and I did ok.
Going with a group that allowed for breaks here and there compelled me to keep going otherwise I would naturally stop more often and go at a slower pace when ascending. I also feel that having a guide to navigate how to scramble and lead the way made everything about this hike easier. Less thoughts about my stamina.
The guide shared stories of past hikes, recommended restaurants in Cape Town, knowledge on the wildlife, flora, and fauna found on Table Mountain.
There are other trails to go back down but going back down this same trail looks challenging. Since the weather was good, we all took the cable car back down. Paid R190 ($14 USD). The line was short and didn’t have to wait more than 5 minutes.
As with any hike, make sure to bring a good amount of water, sunscreen, and snacks.
To book the guided tour with Martin, click here. I paid $45 USD.
ALTERNATE HIKING TRAILS
Table Mountain has more than 50 hiking trails. Below are some of the trails, which have varying levels of difficulty and offer different views.
- Platteklip Gorge
- Skeleton Gorge
- 12 Apostles
- Kloof Corner
- Mowbray Ridge
- Woodstock Cave
- Pipe Track
- Blind Gully
If you don’t want to hike up or down, you can use the cable car. As the cable car goes up Table Mountain, it turns 360°. So everyone will get a good view of Cape Town from above.
The cable car can close at anytime so be prepared. Be sure to check the forecast because if it’s windy or bad visibility, there is the cable car will be closed.
Prices vary if you come in the morning or afternoon, if you have a child who is under age 17, you’re a student, or a South African senior citizen. See rates and specials here. You can purchase your ticket online.
Have you been to Table Mountain?
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