- The route starts on Tafelberg Road, just over 1.5 km from the lower Cable Station. Park or get transport to the information hut at the base of Platteklip Gorge (GPS co-ordinates 33° 57’ 19.55” S / 18° 24’ 56.84” E). You will see a small waterfall cascading over smooth granite rock into a fenced off pool. Next to this there is a clear route sign indicating the path. Following the stone steps up, the path runs next to the Platteklip stream, which during winter will be in full flood cascading down, while in summer slows to a trickle. As you walk up you will notice soft brown rock underfoot, know as mudstone, this is quite soft and crumbly and forms a band, encircling almost the whole Table Mountain chain. You will quickly climb up to the level of the contour path (see alternate start) coming from the lower cable station. The path turns sharply left at the signpost and climbs onto a short section of the almost level, contour path. …. Continued below
- Alternate start: Using this route takes a bit longer. Follow the path to the right hand side of the lower cable station. It ascends steeply up to the contour path close to the first cliff face. A sign post indicates the direction to take to Platteklip Gorge from here – do not follow any alternative paths, these are dangerous routes. Follow the contour path for about 1.5 km, across the face of the Mountain until you cross the stream that flows down the Gorge. At this point there is a sign indicating Platteklip Gorge ….. Continued below
…… . Keep to this path for a short distance to another sign indicating a right hand turn up to Platteklip Gorge. From here on there are no obvious splits in the path until you reach the top. The zig zag of the path is fairly long lower down with shorter Z’ds as the path goes higher into the narrow gorge. There are a few short, steep climbs where the stepped path changes to follow the natural sandstone rock incline. As you get nearer the top, the cliff faces either side of the Gorge get closer together and path winds around large sandstone boulders and outcrops. At various points along the path there are fenced off sections to keep hikers on the designated path and prevent erosion caused by people taking short cuts. Close to the top the path straighten and leads through the gully to the cairn in the small valley between the Western Table (where the cable station sits) and the Central Table (where you will find Maclears Beacon and the highest point of the mountain (GPS co-ordinates 33° 57’ 43.09” S / 18° 24’ 27.54” E).
To the cable station: From the top of the Gorge (1 020 metres) the right hand path leads to the Upper Cable Station, after a small scramble, assisted by a chain barrier (that even most of the cable car riders can cope with) there is a 10 minute walk to the cable station.
To Maclear’s Beacon: From the top of the Gorge turn left and follow the path up to the broad flat section of sandstone rock. It is clearly signposted to this point. Follow the yellow footprints along the path to Maclear’s Beacon. The foot prints are a bit worn and you will need to look out for them if the weather is misty. In clear weather the path is easy to follow.
Maclear’s Beacon (1085m) is the highest point of the Mountain and in itself a rather unspectacular pile of rocks. In clear weather the views of the surrounding Mountain and the Table Bay & Robben Island below are quite spectacular. It is also close to the location of a memorial plaque to the members of the Mountain Club of South Africa who died in World War 1.
If you have a good head for heights and the weather is clear, take the alternate path back along the front face of the Mountain. The path can be clearly seen from the memorial plaque. This is a good clear path in good weather, sufficiently set back from the cliff face for most hikers, but should be avoided in windy or misty conditions.
For guided walks on this route or other Table Mountain paths contact Frank: firstname.lastname@example.org