Man, 71, hikes Table Mountain 1 000 times
By Travel Reporter 22m ago
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Rising 1 086 meters above sea level, Table Mountain is Cape Town’s most recognisable landmark.
It’s home to an immense amount of fauna and flora, an abundance of biodiversity and a one-of-a-kind landscape and creates a rewarding hiking experience.
Robert van Zyl, a 71-year-old hiking enthusiast, is testament to the magnetism these hiking trails have.
He completed his first hike in Table Mountain on New Year’s Day in 2002.
Van Zyl has since climbed up the mountain over 1000 times.
He said he has competed against fellow hikers in friendly races towards the top and accomplishing personal best times for the Skeleton Gorge and Platteklip Gorge trails at 42 and 47 minutes. Van Zyl believed his good health is as a result of his weekly hikes.
“I hope to motivate others to do the same. I am living proof that age is but a number and you can do anything that you put your mind to.
“What better way to stay healthy than enjoying all that we have to offer in Cape Town. After all, Table Mountain is the most beautiful, free open-air gym that’s situated right on our doorstep.”
Van Zyl takes the cableway back down. “At my age, it still takes me less than an hour to reach the summit. In the last 10 years, I mostly hike via Platteklip Gorge and save my knees the pounding of hiking back down by using the cableway.”
Managing director of Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (TMACC) Wahida Parker encouraged hikers to be observant and to follow rigorous safety precautions when hiking up Table Mountain.
“It is important that hikers prepare and plan their trips up the mountain, as the weather can change very quickly.
“Never hike alone, dress warmly, carry water with you, and keep emergency numbers saved on your mobile phone," she advised.
Plenty hikes to choose from
The most well-known of these is the Platteklip Gorge hiking trail, almost a direct route up to the top of the mountain.
With its emerald ravine, lush jungle, and moss-covered slopes, the Skeleton Gorge trail takes hikers through a nature wanderlust before reaching the highest point of the mountain, Maclears Beacon.
Other trails leading towards the summit include the India Venster hiking trail, which runs straight up the front of the mountain and right underneath the cable car route.
The longest route is the 12 Apostles trail and is popular amongst hikers who not only want to get to the top of Table Mountain but would like to enjoy the scenic journey too.
For more information on how to plan your trip to one of Table Mountain’s various hiking trails, visit www.tablemountain.net.