INDIA VENSTER HIKE UNDER TABLE MOUNTAIN CABLEWAY
South AfricaPosted by Jason Crowther | Sep 23, 2019 | Hiking Trails, Table Mountain
3 – 4 hours One Way
India Venster is regarded by many as one of the best hikes up Table Mountain. It boasts stunning, unique views, dramatic topography, and a few steep scrambles which will put your vertigo to the test.
This is a dangerous route and is not recommended if you do not have a fair level of hiking experience, and physical and mental fitness. If you are attempting this route without a guide, I would recommend taking along a good map that you have studied prior to the hike and starting as early as possible before it gets too hot. You should also exercise caution with regards to the weather, always pack something warm (even if it’s a sunny day) and do not attempt this route if it is windy.
WHERE DO YOU START?
There are two options to get you started on this trail. Option 1 begins on the right-hand side of the lower cable station on Tafelberg road, which is easily accessible if you are using the MyCiti bus. Option 2 (which I will cover in this post) starts a little lower down on Tafelberg Road at the Kloof Nek Water Treatment Plant. This is also the start for Kloof Corner. (You can find a small parking lot on your left after the first hairpin bend going up the mountain.)
UP KLOOF CORNER
The path starts off with a steady incline heading towards Camps Bay before turning back in the direction of Table Mountain. After a fairly straight section there is some light zig-zagging where you will make your way up approximately 215 steps. Once you reach the upper countour path with the fire lookout to your right (a popular sunset spot for locals) take a second to enjoy the view and the overhang (around the corner).
When you are ready, take the contour path along the base of the mountain to the start of the India Venster hiking trail. After about 10 minutes of light walking you will reach the junction where the trail up from the cable station meets the contour path. You should see a green sign warning you that this is a dangerous ascent and recommending Platteklip Gorge as a safer option. This is the path that you will take!
Head up the mountain and be sure to keep your eye out for the yellow footprints painted on rocks along the trail. These are a good indicator of whether you are still on the right path. If you haven’t seen any for 5 – 10 minutes, you should check yourself before you wreck yourself.
THE START OF INDIA VENSTER
The path starts out steep, heading up the right side of Venster Buttress. The trail here is fairly well worn so it shouldn’t be too hard to follow. There is a bit of scrambling involved, but nothing that is technically difficult.
Once you have reached the crest, the path levels out considerably, giving you a good breather and a chance to see where you are heading. Follow the trail round the base of the cliffs, through India Ravine, and underneath the Table Mountain cableway towards Arrow Buttress. Once you have reached Arrow Buttress the scrambling begins and this is essentially your last chance to turn back if you are having any doubts.
SCRAMBLING UP ARROW BUTTRESS
This is the steepest section of the trail and, although not very long, it can take around 30 minutes to complete. The slower the better I would say. Take a deep breath and brace yourself for what’s to come. But more importantly - enjoy it! Just be careful and follow those yellow footprints. There are a few chains and footholds to help you out.
Once the scrambling is over you will reach a flat section of the trail. This is a good place for a rest, especially if you have a case of the jelly legs. (No shame, my friends!) From here it may look like the climbing has only just begun but in fact, for the most part, it’s over. Not too bad after all, right?
THE FINAL STRETCH
Heading directly towards the cliffs you will have a steep drop to your left and a rock face on your right. You may also spot some brave climbers spider-manning their way to the top. The path now heads up to the right and you will find yourself heading to the top of Kloof Corner Ridge. Here the path turns in the direction of the twelve apostles giving you splendid views of the Atlantic Seaboard.
You will now continue in the shade behind the Western Table. After a much welcomed stroll you will encounter another short climb. It should be a breeze after what you have already accomplished, although a bit scary for those suffering from a fear of heights. Once you’re up, the hard part is over, and the final stretch is quite gentle. You should start to see and hear many of the tourists who took the easy way up.
You now have full bragging rights.
It’s up to you where your adventure leads from here. Either follow the crowds to the Cableway and take a ride down (R200 one way) or descend via Platteklip Gorge. If you’re up for it and time allows, take a look at going down Diagonal or Kasteelspoort, but bear in mind, this will add +- 4 hours to your trip. One thing we would not recommend is going down the same way you got up. Descending via India Venster is more dangerous and is not advised. Happy Hiking!