Cape Town

About India Venster hike up Table Mountain

Start: at the cable car behind the tour buses
Finish: at the top, if you're going to take the cable car back down
Duration: three to four hours
Fitness: relatively fit as there is a lot of scrambling
Our tip: go with an experienced guide

India Venster comes with terms and conditions. Be careful, hikers say, this is the most difficult, albeit the most fun way of scrambling to the top of Table Mountain. Next to India Venster, Platteklip may well appear sedate.

You might want to have conquered your fear of heights before you do the trail, and be prepared to climb over boulders and inch your way along ledges that appear a little unreliable.

The trail runs right under the cables of the cable car and gets its name from the shape of the ravine, which at a certain angle (and from a particular viewing point) resembles the continent of India (venster is Afrikaans for 'window').

Whilst the first half of the hike is relatively straight forward - following a good stepped section up to the contour path, with yellow footprints and blue dots to guide you on your way – on up the gully to the Venster buttress, and to the left side of the amphitheatre - don't be seduced into thinking that the rest of the hike is as tame.

Getting lost, weather that changes suddenly, fires, and heading up the mountain without water are the main reasons people have met with rather dire consequences. Regular hikers on the mountain argue that it isn't the severity of the hike so much as going unprepared onto the mountain that catches people.

Whatever the weather take water (at least 2 litres each), a hat, sunscreen, head torch, wind/waterproof jacket and snacks.

Need to Know

WhereStart at the cable car behind the tour buses at Table Mountain, Cape Town

WhenThis hike requires an experienced guide.

How muchPrices on request.

OvernightThe closest town is Kloof Nek, in Cape Town

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