We spent a long time poring over Hike Table Mountain's website to see which of the many route options we wanted to try - from botanical splendour to heart-stopping scrambles, there were so many sides to this magnificent mountain. Eventually we settled on the 12 Apostles route - simply because of the spectacular views it offered, changing all the way up the ascent, from Lions Head to ocean and city. A 3 hour hike seemed just right without too much difficulty as neither of us were really experienced mountain hikers.
We knew that Cape Town weather was unpredictable and we needed to call to confirm the day before. As the weather looked a little ropey, we did just that and Riaan text back to say it was going ahead despite looking a bit overcast. Looking at the forecast the rest of the week (bright sunshine) we were a bit worried about going ahead. But we decided to trust the experts and our guide Liesl came to pick us up at 6.45am the next day. Perhaps because of the weather, it was just the two of us with our guide so it was a great private hike.
Driving part way up the foothills behind Camps Bay it became pretty clear that we were not going to get the views we'd hoped for. The entire mountain was completely shrouded in dense fog and remained that way for the three hours of our trek. Of course we were disappointed, however we soon realised that a hot sunny morning would have made for a very difficult climb. And the sections where we were scrambling close to the edge or clambering up iron ladders on a sheer cliff face could have been a little scary if we weren't cosseted in our cool blanket of fog. Liesl did her best to explain what the views would have looked like, with good humour, and we got some great footage of the fog rolling through the valleys - it was very atmospheric and beautiful. We had to stop to catch our breath quite a few times and learned a lot about the endemic plant species whilst we did so. We never did spot one of those tiny ghost frogs though (they're the size of your fingernail!)
Reaching the summit felt like a real achievement, even if we couldn't see more than a foot in front of us, let alone the city and ocean below. We waited for a while at the top to see if the teasing fog would open up as forecast but it never did. So we scaled back down on the cable car - finding out then and over the next couple of days that weather-wise it's really only the wind you need to worry about with Table Mountain. If that cable car was closed for high winds, we'd have been hiking all the way back down again!
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