I spent the day hiking on Table Mountain with a friend, Elsa from Holland. Elsa lived near Johannesburg as a child, moved back to Holland during South Africa’s turbulent 1960s, and then returned to South Africa later in life. Elsa began hiking Table Mountain 30 years ago with her husband. She takes it a bit slower these days – fine with me.
It was a hot sunny day and we started at the Kloof Nek parking lot and headed up the mountain through a patch of gum trees. Elsa wanted to explore trails and revisit some vistas she enjoyed years ago. I was horrified when I saw an India Venster warning sign, because I’d heard it makes Platteklip Gorge look like child’s play (scream), I reluctantly followed Elsa up the trail. It certainly WAS very steep but we took a slow pace up the mountain. We stopped just before the part where the hike becomes more like rock climbing than hiking. The views were magnificent and it was a fantastic experience!
The India Venster trail passes under the Table Mountain Cableway, along an area of known as India Ravine. Viewed from the bottom of the mountain the area resembles the shape of India. The ‘venster’ (window in Afrikaans) is a point where the rock forms a little window.
The write-ups on this trail say pretty much the same thing – “India Venster is undoubtedly one of the best walks in the world! BUT it simply cannot be done by anyone who is not accompanied by someone else who knows the route. Whilst this route is not particularly difficult (it has a few scrambling sections), it is VERY easy to lose one’s way and suddenly land up on an F category route. That is why there are relatively so many deaths and injuries on this particular walk.”
India Venster is a favorite Table Mountain hike! The texture of the rock as you get closer is amazing to see and feel and the spring flowers are gorgeous. We only saw three other hikers on the trail and I made friends with a starling – maybe it was the raisins and peanuts – a very satisfying day!