No trip is complete without at least one adventure activity. Whether you’re a thrill seeker or a worry wart, abseiling down Cape Town’s Table Mountain is one of the best choices you can make!
Abseil Africa runs abseils at the top of Table Mountain every day, weather permitting. If you’ve never been abseiling or rappelling before, the idea of doing so off the top of a 3,500-foot mountain may seem terrifying, but there is really nothing else like it. Truth be told, I can’t think of a better place in the world to do it. Talk about spectacular views!
The first thing we did on our first day in Cape Town was head to Table Mountain. It was a gorgeous day and we knew we had to make the most of it while we had it. The sun was out, it was clear as could be, warm, no wind — a more perfect day could not be had.
I had already made a reservation with Abseil Africa, but it seems to me most people just wander up to the guides to see what’s going on and sign up on the spot.
When we arrived, there was quite a crowd gathered as a camera crew from the Travel Channel was actually filming a special. I have to admit, watching them get ready to abseil down almost made me change my mind about going. It looked insane! Most people (including those who watched us from above as we did it later) will say the same thing, but that vantage point is always going to make such a thing look scary. What I had to keep telling myself was that I had seen pictures of little kids doing this abseil. (Google it if you need to feel that same relief!)
Before I knew it, I had to ignore the knot growing in my stomach and step into my abseiling gear. I was terrified at first, just climbing down to the edge of the cliff where you go off from. The way the outcrop juts out, you look down and you can’t see the cliff face below. Meanwhile, tourists above are watching you wondering what the heck is going on. Then it’s time to go, and you have to trust, lean back, and jump down hoping your feet grab the side! (Spoiler: They do!)
After the initial jitters, though, it’s pretty amazing. I had to remind myself at first to stop and take a look around (it’s a little nerve-wracking), but about halfway through you end up having a little surprise… I won’t say much except that you don’t really have to “work” anymore and you can just take in the views!
After the abseil you have to walk back up (probably about a 30-minute walk), and it’s definitely uphill but not too bad. You might want to take some water and your camera with you, though (even though they don’t tell you that you can bring anything with you when you abseil down) — the views are pretty magnificent!
HELPFUL HINT: If you are taking the cable car, you will need a return trip. As mentioned above, after the abseil you walk back up to the top of the mountain, so you will still have to get down on your own.
Check out the video below for a glimpse of the abseiling experience. But be forewarned, if you get motion sickness, helmet cams = lots of motion!