Little Hikes: Taking Kids To Higher Ground

After the children were born, escaping into the mountain was a way to recharge and find respite from the demands of early motherhood, but as the children have grown, I’ve felt the desire to share the magic of Table Mountain with the strong little bodies lighting up my life.

This year, my oldest has expressed a need to push his body to its limits as it begins the journey of growing and building muscle.  Deciding they were ready, we put them to the test on one of my favourite hikes on Devil’s Peak.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-2-35-20-pmI wanted to challenge them to do more than our regular mild meander through the forest, exploring the rivers for nature’s treasures. If I got it right, we’d have an enjoyable walk for the adults, that wouldn’t overburden the kids. The month before, I’d been exploring shorter routes on the western side of Devil’s Peak and, after careful consideration, I was sure I had found the perfect introduction to inspire the little ones.

The route I chose bursts with magical sights to keep the little legs motivated and moving. With the all-important briefing on the golden rules of safety dispatched, we set off from Tafelburg Rd up to the Saddle.  At the top of the climb, we came to a crystal clear spring where we cooled our feet and filled our water bottles. Those daring enough, clambered up the big boulder and waved their arms shouting “Look at me”!  Once everyone had cooled down, we walked round the front of the cliffs along a ledge with just enough exposure to be exciting but not dangerous. The path led us to the ruins of an old guardhouse at the Oppelskop Viewpoint. We could see the whole of Cape Town from Kloof Neck to Salt River and pointed out our favourite places to visit, like the squirrel (Company) Gardens and Nana’s house!  The eastern path marked “Exit to Tafelburg Rd” was our way down. After passing some shallow cave shelters and another river, we stopped just underneath a small forest with an intriguing bolt hole for supper and watched the sun set in the small piece of sea visible between Lions Head and Kloof Neck.  In a few weeks, the sun would have moved farther South and would no longer be visible through our window, but for this day, we could enjoy its descent into the sea.

As we wondered home along the wide jeep track, the sky darkened through a kaleidoscope of colours, the city lights came out and little bodies started running around or walking slower; expressing tiredness in their own, unique ways.  As we tucked them into bed, my oldest rolled over and said:

“Mommy, next time can you show us the bigger cave? I want to go again.”
Yes my boy. What a wonderful idea.