Approaching Cape Town by cruise ship past Robben Island, the first sight is a massive, flat-topped mountain that bestrides Table Bay like a giant colossus.
Hiking the 12 Apostles Cape Town
Few visitors accept the challenge to climb it. If they do, they discover they are standing on a mere 7% of a 70 kilometre-long mountainous peninsula called the 12 Apostles stretching out beyond it into the distance.
The flat top mountain descends behind it to a wonderland of open reservoirs built as the city expanded. This is a paradise few residents of Cape Town know, and the preserve of those who come to commune in nature. This part of the Cape Fynbos wilderness belongs to dassies, small buck, a myriad of birds and small mammals, and giant eagles wheeling overhead on thermals.
Reservoir on the Back Table
On the far side of a small mountain pass, the landscape becomes a mountainous chain of twelve small peaks before it descends to Cape Point Reserve seventy kilometres away where some say the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. On the shoreline on either side of the narrow peninsula are golden sands and rocky shores. Alone above these on one of the 12 Apostles Cape Town, nothing seems to matter except for birdcalls singing on a gentle breeze.
View Towards Cape Point from 12 Apostles
The seaside village of Scarborough with misty cliffs makes a convenient stopover for the night, in a variety of accommodation choices to suit all tastes. It is also an opportunity to leave boots and packs behind, and hobnob with locals over beer in authentic South African pubs. The Galjoen fish they catch on lines offshore from tiny wooden boats are perfect for an ocean barbeque.
Cape Point Nature Reserve
A few hours south of Scarborough the next morning, the mountainside descends to Cape Point Nature Reserve. Here, rusting shipwrecks compete for attention with a lighthouse perched impossibly above crashing waves. Your hike is over, you have come home to nature. You have hiked the 12 Apostles Cape Town mountain chain.