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February 07, 2012

An Insider’s View of Table Mountain with My Cape Town Ambassador Riaan Vorster

Photo courtesy of Riaan Vorster

Table Mountain, our majestic New7Wonder of Nature, stands tall above our city but how much do we really know about it? What trails are best for viewing our unbeatable sights? Which secret spots are ideal for some self-reflection and appreciation of nature? 

We asked Riaan Vorster, top local mountaineer and tour guide, for answers, and found out why he loves the 540-million-year-old mountain so dearly.

What are your top 5 favourite spots on Table Mountain and why?
In no specific order:
1) Pimple Peak: for its unusual views of the 12 Apostles and the opportunity for utter solitude that it presents.
2) Summit of Corridor Buttress (one of the 12 Apostles): it has a sensational position over a 300m drop.
3) South-eastern rim of Summit Plateau, near Maclear's Beacon: it has stunning views towards the east and forested buttresses. It’s great for solitude too.
4) Ferny Dell (route variation on buttress above Newlands Forest): it has a wilderness feel with its lush, jungle-like vegetation.
5) Summit of Klaasen's Buttress (above Constantia Corner): for its unique rock-formations as well as the excellent views across Orange Kloof and the back side of the 12 Apostles.

Which hiking rules do you swear by?
1) Be willing to turn back if unsure about the way, the threatening weather or your weak physical condition. Be willing to cut your losses and retrace your steps, and come back another day, better equipped and prepared. Leave your ego at home.
2) Respect the mountain, environment and weather.
3) Know your experience, limits, fears and fitness and plan your route accordingly.

Describe Table Mountain in five words...
A wilderness in a city.

How will the mountain being a New7Wonder of Nature help the tour-guiding industry?
The mountain's new status will no doubt bring more tourists to Cape Town, as there are many who wish to visit and experience each of the New7Wonders.

What is your best-kept Capetonian secret?
The magic and secret corners of Table Mountain.

How does Cape Town inspire you?
In several ways, really, from its singular cultural mix to the august presence of Table Mountain and the proximity of nature.

Riaan Vorster is an experienced, qualified and accredited mountain guide specialising in hikes and scrambles on Table Mountain. He has more than 20 years' experience. For information about hikes up our New7Wonder of Nature, please visit www.hiketablemountain.co.za or call +27 (0)21 438 6073.

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