Skeleton Gorge – the green adventure on Table Mountain

I spent a few weeks in Bloubergstrand, the kitesurfing paradise also called “Table View”. This name comes with a good reason: the view on the famous Table Mountain of Cape Town is breathtaking. The wind, the waves, and the long beaches make the kitesurfing experience of Cape Town special, but Table Mountain in the background makes it unique. You cannot get tired of observing this mountain that looks as if a giant would have flatted it to have a table on which to eat lunch.

In a day without wind, in order to not be restless during the whole day, we rolled out our “Plan B” and headed towards the icon I was taking pictures of during countless sunsets. We decided to hike up to Table Mountain through Skeleton Gorge, which promised a good adventure.

Strangely the hike starts in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, where you need to buy tickets in order to cross the large park. The skeptical feeling vanished quickly when we entered the gate of Kirstenbosch. It was like entering Eden, the perfect garden created by God. An intensively green landscape with healthy trees I never saw before, flowers and grasslands surrounded us. Everything was well organized, with small shields leading visitors on the paths.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

As we found our sign we head left in the direction of the Table Mountain, that gently encircles the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. After the first steps soon the dusty path became steep and rocky. We were surrounded by a dense forest, that in contrast with the Botanical Garden was not growing based on the plans dictated by mankind. Every tree, every small bush, and flower had to fight to access the sun and water it needed to survive.

But what I saw was not a war field. I saw harmony. Large trees hosting plants on their trunks and around their basements. Trees with trunks embracing each other, like lovers. Young sprouts growing inside the trunk of fallen trees. It was a spectacle displaying collaboration and renewal.

The water of the stream playfully rushed down the mountain, creating a continuous sound. It had not rained for months, the whole region was suffering a severe drought. The dams had only 10% of drinking water left. Where was this water coming from? It felt like a miracle of nature to see this natural stream and enjoy the cool it provided.

Skeleton Gorge

The fascination for the beautiful surrounding almost made us forget the fatigue and sweat dripping on our front heads while gaining altitude along the green gorge. We climbed stairs and walked up the boulders of the steep riverbed.

Suddenly we approached an opening of the canopy. The trees started to become wider, letting the hot sun reach our skins. We turned our backs and unexpectedly were blown away by the view. “Woawwww!” Of a sudden I was motionless, captured by observing the little houses, the sea, the contours of the surrounding hills and a few distant clouds. In that moment, nothing else existed. It was a moment of pure surprise and fascination.

I absorbed the beauty of the landscape for a while. Like a sponge, I was absorbing the beauty of that moment through every pore. I felt a deep happiness growing in my heart.

Table Mountain

We moved on. The hike was already totally worth the effort of coming up the steep gorge. But more surprises created by nature kept coming. Along the way towards the top of Table Mountain, we discovered a dry but very lively landscape, with small bushes and fat plants I never saw before. By paying attention, within the harsh rocky landscape we discover flowers with intense colors. The massive rocks had funny shapes. Which forces did lead this huge rock to sit on such a small basement and look like an interstellar vessel ready to take off?

We got to the top of Table Mountain. Well, the flat top. From Bloubergstrand, it looked like a brown desert, but now that we were there, we discovered that there is much life up there. I felt like a child. Happy to scramble on a rock, embrace the universe. Free to run for fun on the flat stones of Table Mountain along the water ponds and the bushes. Free like a birth playing while floating in the wind. I felt so happy and connected to the wild landscape around me, that I could not contain it. Me and my friend Petra, both had a smile stamped on our faces. Our eyes were shining, we felt light despite the physical effort of the hike done during several hours.

That evening I felt so grateful. Grateful for the wind, that did not blow and made me experience something new. Grateful for the company of Petra with whom I shared this adventure. Grateful for the possibility of witnessing the beauty of nature and letting it fill me with so much joy.

Table Mountain

Thank you Petra Hompus for the nice pictures!

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