14 March 2011

Up & Down Table Mountain

On Sunday a friend and I went up Table Mountain, while over 32 000 cyclists were making their way around the Peninsula on the Argus cycle tour. Luckily the road closures still permitted us to get to Camps Bay, the start of our walk.

The weather was perfect: wind still and cool. We walked up in the shade of Kasteelpoort, stopping a few times to catch our breath and take in the views. Once at the top, we went to the Valley of Isolation, which offers great views south down the length of the Peninsula. Below one can see the end of the Woodhead Dam, and Grootkop on the right.

After an early lunch on some comfy restios we climbed out of the Valley of Isolation, and turned left (west) on a little-used track going down Ark Valley. We were using Mike Lundy's walking guide, but missed an even less-used turnoff, so ended up right on the edge of the escarpment. Just then the clouds set in, swirling around us, offering partial glimpses of the world below.

Yikes - there were steep butresses and precipitous cliffs everywhere - were we really meant to go down here?

We decided to play if safe and went back to the route description and found a path which took us back to the Valley of the Red Gods. Along the way, in a damp kloof we came across this little cluster of blue disas.

Disa graminifolia

And then we started a spectacular descent known as Diagonal Route. The path starts at Barrier ravine, crosses Jubilee ravine and after a short traverse one dips into Porcupine ravine. It offers breath-taking views, but is quite exposed in places - not for those with a fear of heights.

And then the real downhill started: a steep descent on rock which looked like it would be a little stream in winter. Mike suggested that 'when one runs out of terra firma (in the ravine) one should look out for a path along a bushy ledge' - and we did just that, which took us around Porcupine buttress and back down to the Pipe Track.

Thanks Jana - that was a great walk.


  1. Wow! That disa! Stunning walk, thanks Marijke...

  2. Thanks Marie - it's funny because I'd forgotten that they're actually quite small. Very pretty.