Hike 1: Kloof corner, Table Mountain

What do Capetonians do at the first sign of spring? They head outdoors – to the beaches, mountains, wine-estates, organic food markets and also their own back yards. This city is an outdoor lovers’ paradise – so much to do, simply pick a direction and an activity – beach, hike, market…the options are endless.

And that’s just what my friends and I did on the first weekend of October, bright and early (ok, I lie, me not so bright) on a Saturday morning. Our common goal: to get outdoors, off the couch, get some type of workout while doing it. Our first hike was a gentle hike up Kloof corner on Table Mountain and back down again – 60 minutes max. It’s a gradual ascent for about 40 minutes and gets rather steep just before you get to the top. If you’re unfit, like I am, you end up stopping quite a lot to catch your breathe (and ask yourself wtf you’re doing on a mountain at 8am on a Saturday morning) and check that you’re not about to have a heart attack because your heart is pounding so hard in your chest. Fortunately I am not the only one in our group at this stage of physical fitness, so I always have company – they do say “misery loves company” don’t they? LOL. And while we’re standing there trying not to “look up” cos there’s about 100 rock steps ahead that you still have to climb there’s always some skinny white girl in a crop top, boy leg shorts  and a thigh gap running past you UP those 100 steps with not an ounce of fat or flab or a bead of sweat! And – no backpack, just a small bottle of water. Why? Could she not just walk, slowly, like us normal people?! Why run? That’s just showing off man. We don’t need that on the mountain. Obviously our 60-minute trudge is her 15 minute warm up!

Anyways, let me not be a hater. The views of the city, Table Bay, Lionshead and Atlantic seaboard from the “breakfast rock” on Kloof corner are spectacular. Obviously there must be a breakfast rock. Its not like we black people are going to run up the mountain and down again just for “fun”. No, there must be the partaking of food and beverage as a reward for getting our asses out really early on a weekend and walking up that mountain.  That’s why you will see each one of us carrying a backpack. No bottle of water will do it for us, oh no sirree. Hence we find ourselves a nice big rock and pack out AAAAALLLL our padkos – man-man ‘n backpack vol! It’s grapes and super-sweet strawberries, biltong and mixed nuts, frittata and worsies – we’ve evolved from boiled eggs and frikkedelle – and of course a bottle of “organic” Tangled Tree wine and a few locally-brewed beers to sample, very upmarket (no chip rolls for us, we’ve arrived). And the skinny white people running past us with only a bottle of water always look at us funny like they’ve never seen so much food on the top of the mountain before. Jirre, must they make a person feel so bad when you’re feeling so good? I mean, Frittata and beer tasting on the top of the mountain is normal, right?

Eish and then we have to lug our asses and now empty backpacks down again, step by step. This is when the legs start to jiggle, ever so slightly, with each step down. And again a skinny white person running past at the speed of light! Really?!

Not to be put off we made it all the way down in the allotted hour. We survived our first hike. Actually we enjoyed it! We were euphoric (but that could just have been the altitude). It was not all that bad, we had so much fun (going down), we agreed to do it again the next weekend! I’m already planning my menu!

Next hike: Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch….

Tips for Kloof corner hike: Drive up to Tafelberg Road (the road that takes you to the cable way), park at the second parking area (it is right on a bend so drive slowly to find a spot). You will see a sign post for the start of the trail. Start early, ie. no later than 7am in the middle of summer because of the heat (there is no shade on this walk) and also because this is a busy road with lots of tour busses and traffic and parking becomes a mission. Lots of water, hat, sunscreen. Hiking boots not required but proper trail shoes (non-slip) a must. Beer and fritatta a must!

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