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The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Se7en + 1 Climb Table Mountain to the Top…

May 12th, 2014 · 18 Comments

I know I am going on about it, but last week we climbed Table Mountain… we have become hikers and we are excited about it. The thing about Table Mountain is that it is huge and there are many routes abounding all over it… So when you are visiting Cape Town, or one of your children idly enquire, how do you get to the top of Table Mountain… there are many ways to go.

The very top, the highest point, is Maclear’s Beacon. If you can get past “getting to the top” it is a giant national park with walks of all levels, for super athletes and ambling families, available right in the centre of the city. On the other hand if like us, you have a child whose dream it is to climb to the very top… then to the very top you must go.

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We didn’t choose the quickest route, we chose an easy route. We made the decision to take all day and go comfortably at the pace of the shortest legs… it was a good decision. Over the course of the last year we have done more and more hiking, slowly getting our head around the idea and finding our rhythm for a great family day out in the mountains.


The Pipe Track

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We began with the Pipe Track. On it’s own it is a lovely and easy walk along a contour path above Camps Bay. We used it as a first step in our hike to get to our route to the onwards and upwards section of our journey.

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This is really a lovely easy walk, with lots to look at and talk about as your legs get warmed up and ready for action…

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Above you looms the Cable Car Station…

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And below you a sleeping Camps Bay…

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And alongside you the pipes…

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As the track starts to steepen you reach the turnoff…

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KasteelPoort

Follow the sign and the backpacks in front of you and head up KasteelPoort…

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It is steep, but not too difficult and before you know it you will have covered a lot of ground…

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With much more still to go…

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The views are spectacular…

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And the backpacks ahead… well they might get away from you…

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But slow and steady…

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And you will get there…

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On your way up you might wonder why you have never gone up Lion’s Head before… do not get distracted!!!

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And if you start early enough you can get all the way up in the shade… so well worth it… because the view…

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That’s the gang at top of Kasteelpoort where they had a clamber on the ruins from the old Cable Station, that carried equipment up the mountain during the building of the reservoirs.

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The Table Top

At every major meeting of paths on top of the mountain you will find a circular map…

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This isn’t the tippy top, but it is a great place to be…

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We checked out our map…

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And had a little rest…

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Before discovering a tap and filling all our water bottles and a gentle amble over to the museum…


The Museum:

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Who knew that there was a museum on the top of Table Mountain. And the main feature is a railway engine that used to transport materials across the top of Table Mountain from the old cable car to the reservoirs. If you have a train enthusiast amongst your kids then this would definitely be worth a visit…

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There are artefacts. Inside and outside and you can learn about the building of the reservoirs.

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And from the museum there is a gentle amble over to the reservoirs…

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The Table Mountain Resevoirs…

Right now it is the end of summer and the dams are pretty empty…

And the whole area has the look of a surreal planet…

A quick march…

And a clamber…


The Top of Skeleton Gorge

Once we had wandered around the reservoirs we stopped at the top of Skeleton Gorge, above Kirstenbosch. My kids had never heard of it before and are all desperate to try a climb called Skeleton Gorge.

Anyway we were at the top and we enjoyed our lunch and looked at the incredible views and surroundings…

And proteas everywhere…


Jan Smuts Track:

This was the final stretch to get to the tippy top and for the first time we had to do some hard work. Once again I was reminded that climbing Table Mountain to the top is not for the faint hearted…

We met a lot of friendly hikers along here and there was a feeling of camaraderie as students and visitors from overseas worked towards the same goal as us, Maclear’s Beacon.

There is a lot of up… and every time you think you have reached the top there is more… Here it looked like we were walking towards a wall of rock…

But in actual fact, there were stairs…


Lots of little rests and stopping to see if we would be able to see home, way down south, kept us inspired…

There are lovely rocks to look at and explore…

And mountains as far as the eye can see…


Maclear’s Beacon

And suddenly, we run out of mountain and reached the very top…

We actually made it!!!

And then there is a long flat walk across the top of Table Mountain…

With tired legs…

Beautiful little distractions…

And the city below…

We took a look down on our hike from last year…

It doesn’t look nearly so hard from the top… and we actually planned to go down there…

But it was getting dark and I can’t want to clamber down the mountain in the dark with a heap of tired kids…

So we took the very pricey option of…


The CableWay

The cableway closes at sunset, about 6pm right now, and the whole way across the top of the mountain we heard: “last call for hikers…” We got our tickets just in time!!!

And we got to watch the sun going down…

The mountains turn pink…

And the city light up…

And that was us… to the very top of Table Mountain and back again…

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Tags: Cape Town · Outings · Saturday Spot

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