india venster hike views.

The view from underneath the Cable Car on India Venster.

India Venster hike: Everything you need to know

Beautiful, difficult, challenging, breathtaking. Many words describe the India Venster trail. All of them are right.

india venster hike views.

The view from underneath the Cable Car on India Venster.


Advice: India Venster is not recommended if you do not have some hiking experience and a moderate level of fitness. Don’t do this route alone unless you are experienced with scrambling. If you don’t know what scrambling is, definitely do not attempt this. You can do this route alone if you’ve not done it before, provided you go with a group that is confident and fit. The route is easy enough to find and follow – look out for the yellow footprints.

What to bring: Water – at least 2l per person. Partly freeze the bottle so that it does not heat up too much. Some snacks, if you want. Sunscreen – lots of it, even if it is cloudy. And a jacket of sorts – temperatures on top of the mountain can be very different to below and can change quickly.

Shoes: You don’t need hiking boots, trail shoes or a sturdy pair of trainers will do.

Time: Between two to four hours, depending on level of fitness and rest breaks.

Scrambling: There are a number of moderate scrambles on the route. One section offers chains and ladders, but for the most part, it’s just you, the exposed cliffs and their natural grips.

Fitness level required: Moderate fit, good legs and a bit of upper body strength required.

India Venster is one of the most epic ways up Table Mountain. It’s a tricky, but incredibly rewarding route. The panoramic views, the scramble up the exposed cliffs, the changing scenery and the workout on the legs makes this one of the best ways to hike to the top.

But India Venster can be brutal and dangerous. If you’ve done a bit of reading about this route, you might have read something like: DON’T DO THIS YOU’RE GOING TO DIE. That’s partially true, people do fall to their death on this route. But, if you use logic, you will be fine.

However, no amount of reading will quite prepare you for the actual experience. You will spend a lot of the hike pretending to be a mountain goat or a dassie. Stick with it.

There are two ways to access the route – via Kloof Corner or directly underneath the cable car. There is plenty of info out there on how to follow the route, but the rule of thumb is this: follow the yellow footsteps and well-worn rocks up to the concrete path and then ignore the sign that says “safe route via Platteklip this way”.

Many of the yellow footprints are faded and you have to do a bit of searching for them along the route, but the well-worn rocks should be an indication that you are on the right track.

Straight up and onto the contour path, the Cable Car whizzes above your head every so often – and if you’re lucky, you might get some waves and cheers from the crazy people dangling from a wire in a glass box.

Much of this part of the route is exposed – both the climbing of the cliffs and in direct sunlight. Start early to avoid being exhausted by the heat. And there is a lot of scrambling up cliffs. You shouldn’t need any climbing gear, provided you are of good fitness and have some strength. If you’re short – you might need a leg up from a mate in a couple of spots.

Once the route snakes across to the back of the mountain, you have a fair bit of very welcome shade for the remainder of the climb.

For the average person, India Venster is not easy. But it’s worth every second.

Find a good map, save the Mountain Rescue emergency number or attempt this route with somebody who has climbed it.

It will be an utterly unforgettable experience.

Once you’ve huffed and puffed all the way to the top, consider taking an easier route – like Platteklip – to the bottom. Or, get your annual Cable Card for quick and easy access to that glass box.