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Constantia Nek Trail - Capetown SA, WW
mini location map2015-08-09
66 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Constantia Nek Trail - Capetown SA, WW 
Constantia Nek Trail - Capetown SA, WW
Hiking avatar Aug 09 2015
Hiking12.00 Miles 2,612 AEG
Hiking12.00 Miles   5 Hrs   57 Mns   2.02 mph
2,612 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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Our first day of hiking on Table Mountain during our four-day stay in Capetown. Of all the hikes I had planned prior to our trip, while Constantia Nek Jeep Trail was be the longest in distance, it was likely the easiest ascent. Since I was hobbling a bit due to a an ankle injury in Tanzania, easy ascent not only sounded like a good plan, it proved to be the correct one.

The first issue of the day was making sure to drive on the LEFT side of the road... easy when there is traffic, somewhat less so when there was no other traffic. Tracey proved to be a good co-pilot, albeit at times a somewhat testy one.
Although we knew it might be a busy Sunday for hiking, little did we know if was the middle of a 3-day holiday. So, think Camelback Mountain on a nice winter holiday... yup, plenty busy. We were very lucky to find a place to park. But, unlike Camelback, the trail keeps on going and going and going so the farther we hiked the fewer hikers we encountered until we were alone for 15-20 minutes at a time.

The hike begins with long switchbacks which get shorter the higher it goes. Once up to the relatively flat top it was just a matter of rugged but rolling hills. All along the top we passed a number of dams and reservoirs. All the reservoirs are closed to the public but that didn't seem to stop folks from bypassing the signs, and two young men even tried swimming.
About the mid-point of our traverse across Table Mountain we came upon the Table Mountain construction museum. Surprisingly with nobody around at all the door was wide open so we took a tour before eating our picnic lunch, the usual PB&J sandwiches, of course.

Back on the trail we continued across following on old narrow-gauge railroad bed to where a cable ran down the western face of Table Mountain in the center of The Twelve Apostles, a series of twelve peaks facing the Atlantic Ocean. After a number of photos we started our wide loop return.

While crossing back to the west side of Table Mountain we met some local hikers who provided us with some very helpful information. They told us that descent I had planned (should have been easier of two options) was very wet and slippery, so although Nursery Ravine was steeper, it was dry. Yes, it was STEEP, wreaking havoc on the knees as well as my ailing left ankle. But we made it down safely, albeit with a few scary moments, tripping on tree roots. Tree roots made up the edge of most of the steps, which meant lifting feet UP as you take a step down. Very counter-intuitive!

We would take a short break once we reached the Contour Trail The Contour Trail is just that, it follows the contour of Table Mountain around the mountain except for about 10% which is off-limits. From there we simply followed the relatively level trail back until it connects with the lower section of the Constantia Nek Trail, and finally back to the start.

This will turn out to be the longest of our Table Mountain hike in both time and distance, which was a good thing because as the days went by and my ankle felt worse the hikes would get shorter. But since this very likely will be the last time I'll be in Africa, as long as I could still walk we were going to make full use of the time we had.

That said, if there is any way possible we can swing another trip to Africa we will stay in the same luxurious cabin at the foot of Table Mountain again.

Additional photosets from this hike:
Table Mountain Museum
Nursery Ravine Trail
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