FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW DIFFICULT IS THE HIKING?
As easy or as challenging as you like! It’s good old fashioned mountain hiking so there’s always some uphill though there are great hiking trails that are almost completely flat. All hikes use well established, well-trodden single track paths and jeep tracks although some of the more challenging hikes involve little-used paths and boulder scrambles.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO HIKE UP TABLE MOUNTAIN?
Between 2 and 4 hours depending on fitness and route. If you forgo the cable car, you’ll have to walk down too.
HOW LONG ARE THE HIKES IN TOTAL?
WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT?
I have a Professional Driving Permit and offer a transfer service from your Cape Town accommodation to the hike and back. This applies to small groups (4 people or fewer) and is free if it’s a Silvermine or Table Mountain hike. A fuel surcharge will be levied for a Cape Point hike. Larger groups will need to arrange their own transport – I can help you with this.
I provide transport for groups of 1 – 4 for hikers away from the Cape Peninsula (Winelands, Whale Coast and so on). This will involve a fuel surcharge. Again, larger groups will need to arrange their own transport or a transfer service can be arranged at the client’s cost.
WHAT ABOUT FOOD?
On a half-day hike you’ll only need a water bottle and groups of up to 8 enjoy fresh coffee and tea plus an out-the-oven croissant as part of the deal.
You’ll enjoy the hot drinks and croissant on a full day too but we’ll also need lunch. You are welcome to bring your own or you can delegate the responsibility to me. My lunches comprise fresh bread rolls, cheese, cold meat, boiled eggs, raw vegetables and snacks – prices are per person.
Overnight hiking obviously involves more catering and all food is my responsibility.
HOW SAFE IS IT? WHAT ARE THE DANGERS?
Hiking in mountains always involves a degree of risk: here are the most relevant ones we face in the Cape Mountains.
- Weather: the weather here can change dramatically and suddenly at any time of year – have the following items of clothing in your pack: a light rain jacket; a sun hat; sun block; and a warm top. I can supply items if necessary.
- Security: there have been occasional muggings on the lower slopes of Table Mountain in areas close to the city. I do not go to these places.
- The terrain: there are steep slopes, rough paths and boulder scrambles on some of the wilder routes. No technical climbing is involved but you’ll need a head for heights.
- Snakes: the Cape Mountains are home to over 20 species of snake but they are uncommon, shy and rarely seen, especially in winter. Snakes are way down on my list of worries!
- Bees: please tell me if you have an allergic reaction to bee stings as there are places on the mountain where wild bees have hives.
WHAT GEAR DO I NEED?
A few items are non-negotiable: a light rain jacket/wind breaker; a sun hat; sun block; warm top plus appropriate footwear. Trail runners/sports shoes are fine for a half-day or even full-day hike but boots are better for multi-day hikes. The rest is up to you though of course you’ll need a water bottle. You are welcome to bring your own back pack but I carry a large pack and can pack items you need but don’t want to carry.
WHAT WEATHER CONDITIONS CAN I EXPECT?
Cape Town’s Mediterranean climate generally means good weather but its famous ‘4 seasons in 1 day’ tag is certainly well-earned here. Hikers are at the mercy of seasonal weather systems though certain routes are more sheltered than others and a change of itinerary may be offered. Winter (June – August) has the wettest and coldest weather; summer (December – March) has the hottest, driest and windiest. The months of September, October and November as well as April and May offer mostly dry, warm and wind-free hiking conditions.
WHAT AM I LIKELY TO SEE AND EXPERIENCE?
You’ll enjoy dramatic views of oceans, mountain ranges and blue skies at nearly every turn of the path – and that’s before you look at the plants. From a distance, the Cape Mountains appear barren but a closer look reveals an astonishing variety of flowering plants – orchids, irises, geraniums, heathers and proteas – with something in bloom all through the year. Many trails include patches of beautiful indigenous forest while hikes away from the Cape Peninsula allow you to access some incredible wilderness areas. Wildlife is hard to spot but there is enough out there to add to the experience. Birds, reptiles and insects are the most commonly seen on these mountains but Cape Point hiking gives you the chance to do some genuine game viewing for antelope, zebra and baboons.
IF THE HIKE IS CANCELLED DUE TO BAD WEATHER, DO I GET A REFUND?
Yes you do – click on this link for more information on my terms and conditions.
WHY SHOULD I USE A GUIDE?
Good question, after all there are several clearly marked trails plus good maps available. A qualified and experienced guide however will add so much more to the experience:
- A guide will choose the trail most relevant to your needs and fitness.
- A guide is trained and equipped to deal with problems and emergencies.
- A guide can interpret what you encounter whether it’s a flower, animal track or bird call.
- A guide will know where to walk to avoid the worst of bad or very hot weather.
- A guide can carry your spare clothing, food and other personal items.
- A guide can provide all logistics and food, and can easily arrange multi-day hikes with overnight accommodation bookings.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THINGS GO WRONG?
Registered guides are required by law to hold a valid and current First-Aid Certificate. A comprehensive First-Aid kit is taken on all hikes and clients are requested to inform me of any pre-existing medical complaints or conditions before we walk.
I carry a cell-phone with all relevant emergency numbers and leave a description of my route and estimated finish time with a co-ordinator who will alert authorities if we are not back by a certain time.
Note that the Cape Mountains are well served by an excellent Mountain Search and Rescue organisation.