After being refused entry to Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve (read about that here) I needed a backup plan for my run. After a week in the Winelands region of South Africa I was booked to stay that night in Cape Town as I would fly to Johannesburg the following day. Therefore I immediately started to plan a run up its famous flat-topped mountain.
In the late afternoon I parked my car at Cecilia Forest, which provided me access to gravel roads that wound there way up to the top of the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. I would use different routes for my ascent and descent, and I tried to remember my preferred direction from previous runs. I climbed up Nursery Ravine, and reached the “top” realising how much lower I still was than the peak. As I started on a circuit around the top some low cloud started to move in, and I decided that it would be wise not to waste any time.
As I headed towards one of the best viewpoints on my route I removed my phone from my pack for a photo as the cloud had cleared for the moment. Then when I was a scant few metres from stopping for a photo I was enveloped in cloud once more. I climbed up to the high point at Maclear’s Beacon, before making my way to the top of Skeleton Gorge for my descent. The descent was slippery at the top, but definitely preferable in my opinion to the loose rock at the top of Nursery Ravine.
I ran up Table Mountain for the first time just a few months ago back in September, following the very popular Platteklip Gorge to the top of the mountain.
Finding myself back in Cape Town again I was provided with the opportunity to climb Table Mountain once more … or maybe even twice more.
Staying in the suburb of Observatory, on the east side of the mountain, I took off on the first morning from Cecilia Forest and climbed from there to traverse above the Kirstenbosch Gardens. I climbed up another popular route, Skeleton Gorge, and then continued to climb to the highest point on the mountain, Maclear’s Beacon. For my return journey I made my way to Nursery Ravine, and descended from there before returning to my car.
I arrived in Cape Town for my third visit feeling guilty that on my two prior trips I had not made it to the top of Table Mountain on foot. Heading up to the mountain top in 2011, just two days prior to the 56 km Two Ocean’s Marathon I had opted to let the cable car do the work for me. It was time to add a climb of Table Mountain to my running log.
I was in Cape Town on a tour and the day would start by taking the group up to Table Mountain before heading south along the coast. The tour group would be bussed up to the bottom of the cable car, but would also be given the opportunity to hike to the top. I felt it would have been cheating to miss out on the first 300 metres of climbing to the base of the cable car, so instead I handed a change of clothes to the tour leader in the morning and set off running from our accommodation in Sea Point.
My run from Sea Point took me towards Camps Bay before I commenced the climb up Kloof Drive towards the cable car. I reached the cable car just as our tour group arrived, greeted the tour leader, and then continued on to Platteklip Gorge. I commenced my climb up the gorge, which was suggested to be a hike of 2.5 hours with quick hikers completing it in 1.5 hours. Running on the easier sections and power hiking the steep steps I exited the gorge onto the top of the mountain after 40 minutes.
It was cloudy, windy and cold at the top, so I hiked to the cable car building and its associated cafe where I enjoyed a hot coffee. Then I returned to the top of Platteklip Gorge. I avoid out-and-back routes wherever possible, so instead of returning down Platteklip I turned in the other direction and headed towards the west side of the mountain. As I made my way along the top of the mountain on a route that varied from flat trails to stairs to ladders the clouds began to clear and the sun made an appearance.