Platteklip Gorge must surely be the most popular route for hikers up Table Mountain. I always joke that on a nice day it is busier than Adderley Street in Cape Town. People come up here in their droves from before sunrise till way after dark.
It never ceases to amaze me how blasé many people tackle the route up Platteklip Gorge. People think that this is a little hill in the backyard of Cape Town and therefore come completely unprepared for it.
You can spot these people a mile off, mostly tourists, wearing incorrect clothing, such as jeans (and there are plenty of them), incorrect shoes and no drinking water! The last time we climbed Platteklip, we even saw a guy coming up wearing formal clothing. By that I mean a neat long pants and BLAZER, not to mention his “formal” shoes. Oh yes, he also had a plastic carrier bag in his hand. Surely walking up Table Mountain must have been an afterthought for these guys.
The average hiker ascends Platteklip Gorge in roughly two hours, and that’s at a fairly relaxed pace. So, if you do not have any water with you, I don’t think that you will completely dehydrate on the way up. However, on a hot summer’s day this can make for a very uncomfortable experience.
Putting it mildly, Platteklip Gorge is very steep. If you thought the first hour was hard going, you are in for a big surprise. As you get to the beginning of the actual gorge, the going gets even steeper!
If Table Mountain has its “table cloth” hanging over it (click here to see the origin of the cloud) the gorge is usually where the cloud starts, but the cloud could come halfway down the mountain, right onto the road. It is never a good idea to walk Table Mountain when it is covered with clouds, as getting lost on the mountain is very easy.
If there are clouds draped over the mountain, this also means that there is a good possibility of an unpleasant wind. In winter this can be quite icy. Once you are through the gorge and on TOP, you are about ten minutes walk to the view points and restaurant.
When doing this walk, make sure that you have warm clothes with you. Take along a small day backpack. We have been at the summit where the temperature down at the vehicle was 12°C, and the temperature at the top was 4°C! This was at 9H30 — see the thermometer at the telephone booth at the top cable station. Add the wind chill factor to this and it is really freezing. One cannot believe that it can get so cold in the heart of Cape Town.
If we don’t pack a breakfast we usually have something to eat at the restaurant. On those really chili winters days it feels like you are walking into a cozy sunroom with all the gas heaters on.
There is only a buffet breakfast on offer. Your food gets weighed and you pay per gram. We found that the prices were quite reasonable and the food was good.
For those that don’t feel like making the steep descent back down Platteklip (which is really tough on the legs), there is always the alternative of going down with the cable car. Ensure the cable car is operating as it often shuts down in high wind.
|Platteklip Gorge, Table Mountain|
|Nearest Town||Cape Town||Max Persons||Virtually unlimited|
|Distance from Town||7km, 11 mins||Overnight Shelter||N/a|
|Map to start of hike||View Map||Brochure|
|No of days||Approximately 3 hours up and down||Trail Type||Usually linear, but one can descend with many other routes|
|Tips and things to do|