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looking back down platteklip gorge

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.


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Plat­tek­lip Gorge, Table Mountain
Con­tact Details
Tel no G.P.S. 33.955305,18.415907
Cell no Email
Fax Web­site
Hike Details
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

These tips will prob­a­bly apply to many camp sites, but this is what we thought should not be forgotten

1.Parking near the start of Plat­tek­lip is almost always dif­fi­cult to find, so your best option is to get there early.
2.For early morn­ing win­ters days I sug­gest you take gloves.
3.Always make sure that the cable car is oper­at­ing if you are plan­ning to come down with it , spe­cially if you are plan­ning a late ascent.

Writ­ten on 25/​11/​2013, 18:26 by Heleen
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