Hike Up This Popular Africa Mountain For Breathtaking Views Of The Atlantic Ocean

South Africa is one of the most popular countries for tourists on the continent of Africa with good reason. The continent's southernmost country is filled with fun adventure, vibrant wildlife, and an unmatched food and wine scene. One of the most sought-after cities in South Africa is Cape Town, located on the coast where both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.

If you want to take in the unbelievably stunning views overlooking one of the continent's most picturesque cities, a hike up Table Mountain is in order. Table Mountain is consistently ranked as one of the top attractions in Cape Town, and it's no surprise as to why. This towering mountain has a unique shape and is the central feature of the sprawling Table Mountain National Park. It is a highly recommended activity for those looking for a great hiking destination with a serious reward at the end of the trail. The reward, in this case, is having the best views of the city and its surrounding coastline.

How difficult is the hike?

Hiking Table Mountain is not for the faint of heart. While there are several different routes, ranging from moderately easy to difficult, the weather conditions can be unpredictable, often leaving hikers with a slippery, muddy mess of a trail. One of the more popular routes is Smuts Track up Skeleton Gorge. Give yourself at least five hours to complete this trail, and be aware that some parts are extremely steep and involve ladders, which can be treacherous in the rain. Another popular and slightly easier option is Platteklip Gorge. The trail is known to be quite rocky, but it's a much faster hike than Smuts Track, at only around two and a half hours one way.

To hike Table Mountain, you should be in decent physical shape, but as long as you maintain a positive and motivated mindset, your chances for success will be heavily increased. Some factors can provide a more enjoyable experience, like wearing proper hiking boots and bringing a rain jacket since, as mentioned, weather conditions can vary.

An alternative to hiking is to take the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway for a scenic ride. Prices range from $3.74 to $22.44, depending on factors like your age, the time of year, and if you are purchasing a one-way or return ticket.

What else to do in Cape Town

Table Mountain aside, every traveler's priority should be to learn about some of the horrendous historical events that have occurred in South Africa. A trip to Robben Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site once used to house political prisoners including Nelson Mandela, can be eye-opening. Visitors interested in learning more about the country's history will also want to head to the Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum. The museum is located in one of the oldest known homes in the neighborhood, tracing back to the mid-18th century.

On a lighter note, South Africa is a great destination for wine tastings. Consider a Franschhoek hop-on hop-off wine tram tour to get a sampling of some of the best wineries near the city, or visit nearby Stellenbosch for easy access to countless world-class wineries.

Cape Town is also home to one of the world's best beaches: Boulders Beach. It's well known for its large colony of African penguins, making it a must for any animal lover.

Another must-visit is the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, where visitors can enjoy indigenous flora and fauna along scenic walking trails. The beginning of the Skeleton Gorge trail is through the gardens, so there's little reason to skip them, especially if that's the route you choose for Table Mountain. And while we're on the topic of scenic activities in Cape Town, don't miss out on Victoria & Alfred (or V&A) Waterfront overlooking the harbor while listening to local live music.