Platteklip Gorge looking down to the Cape Town City Centre

Table Mountain National Park: India Venster

If you know¬†Rob and I, then you know that we love to hike! We met on a backpacking trip, so I would say that’s a no brainer. While in Cape Town, we¬†took¬†every opportunity we could find to explore the many trails/hikes scattered throughout Table Mountain National Park. Rob had done quite a bit of reading about a route called India Venster, and quite honestly, I felt a little nervous to venture out on this route, because the reviews seemed very conflicting. Some saying the hike was moderate with little to no skill required, others suggesting you should be an experienced climber to attempt this hike. Honestly, I think the mixed reviews only made Rob more intrigued and curious, so I was certain we were going to attempt this intimidating beast; even if the only intimidating factor was the uncertainty of its nature.

We started this hike pretty late one Saturday afternoon, later than we planned. The trail began with a steep uphill climb for over 1.5 miles. I was doing alright for the first while, but Rob was struggling with the relentless upward slope. We took breaks often and slowly traversed up the side of the mountain until we reached a beautiful spot where we could see all of Lion’s Head and the surrounding city. After a short rest and some lunch to refuel, we continued upward. Every part of the trail seemed longer than we anticipated. I grew a bit impatient, because my body was beginning to feel the pain of the taxing hike. We finally rounded the other side of the mountain and saw others on the top of the table, which gave me hope that we were close to the aspired destination.

We made it to the top of the table just in time to see the sunset – the view was stunning. Seeing the view from up there made every painful step fade away into the gorgeous colors of the sunset. As the sun went down we headed to the cable station, planning to take the last cable car ride down off the mountain, but when we saw the price of the tickets, we had to re-think our plan.¬†Quite frankly, I was not happy about it. We talked through our options and a decision was made. I angrily accepted that we were going to hike down the switchbacks of Platteklip Gorge, the canyon we were most familiar with, in the dark. I wasn’t really upset about having to hike down, but more anxious and worried about having to make the hike down in the dark. I had heard terrible stories about things happening to people in the mountains after dark, and that made me more than a little nervous. As we approached, I saw the opening to the canyon and I almost couldn’t believe my eyes – I saw the enormous moon radiating in the sky, lighting the whole canyon and the entire city below. The city lights looked awesome, twinkling like Christmas lights in the moonlight! My eyes began to water as I beheld this huge tender mercy from our Father in Heaven. From that moment on I felt peace and a special feeling of protection in what I thought would be a dark and unsafe canyon. The hike down in the night with the glow of the moon lighting our way turned out to be one of my favorite things we ever did in Cape Town. This was such a special and beautiful moment in the mountains for me, and an awe-filled experience for Rob and I, as we had front row seats to one of the most stunning sights we ever could have imagined. I am so grateful for this enchanting, peaceful evening in the mountains.

This experience was a powerful reminder for me that no matter how dark things may seem, the Lord is aware of every one of His children, their concerns, fears, anxieties, at all times, and He can bring all things into light, for He is the light of the world. He can turn all things for good, as He did for me this very night.

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