The most exciting route up Table Mountain in Cape Town is the India Venster, which should be attempted in good weather, with a guide, and wearing footwear with a good grip.
It can take between two and four hours to make the climb and the vertical gain is around 687 metres. The route starts along the steps at the lower cable car station and heads upwards under the path of the cable cars.
There are painted markings on the rocks but these are not always clear hence the need for a guide. Hikers should always be looking back at the views of the city to check if any clouds aren moving up the mountain.
Roughly half an hour after leaving, the lower cable car station the path becomes slightly steeper and begins to traverse the contours around to the left. After a further 25 minutes, there are three vertical sections where metal staples have been securely fastened into the rock. This is where visitors need good shoes and help from a guide.
Once hikers have ascended these sections under the upper cable station the path passes around to the right behind the mountain. There are amazing views of Camps Bay, the Atlantic waves breaking on the shore, and the Twelve Apostles range stretching towards the Cape of Good Hope.
After another 15 minutes and one further tricky five-metre ascent, the path reaches the top of the Platteklip Gorge, which is the quickest way back if you are hiking down.
Julian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at http://www.photographersdirect.com/sellers/details.asp?portfolio=13734