Exploring Tranquillity Cracks

Early on Sunday morning a small group of friends and I headed out to the mountain in search of what has been said to be Table Mountain’s biggest kept secret, Tranquillity Cracks.

The Mother City was putting on a display of the most amazing weather, our first weekend with no rain ~ a sure sign summer was on its way. It was still early but you could feel the heat in the air already. From the Camps Bay side we headed up the jeep track that would lead us onto the Pipe Track, warming up our muscles in no time with a rather steep incline up to begin with!

Corridor Ravine ~ That way! The route that would eventually take us to the top of the mountain.

Once we met up with the Pipe Track we turned right and followed it as it hugged the Twelve Apostles. We didn’t really know where we were going, except that we were looking out for Corridor Ravine, which would take us up to the top of the mountain and from there we would follow our basic directions in search of Tranquillity Cracks.

The mountain still mostly shaded, but still offering us beautiful views of Camps Bay and Lions Head in the distance.

Within a short period of time we reached what I always assumed was the end of the Pipe Track and I really should know better than to never ‘assume’ anything! We were getting ready to turn around and go back thinking we had missed the path leading up the ravine when a group of three hikers came around the corner. Judi asked if they knew where Corridor Ravine was to which they replied that was where they were going. We followed close behind them and I got to discover truly where the end of the Pipe Track is! Although I do think the pipes that make up the Pipe Track ended where we met up with the other hikers.

Judi proudly wearing her Barcelona top ~ The only thing missing was our Kili porters!

We were grateful for the shaded side of the mountain we walked in. The air was warm and there was little in the way of a breeze to cool us down. Finally the path started heading up and curved to the left and the three hikers in front of us turned around and said with open arms “Corridor Ravine”. We were well on our way to finding what we searched for.

Nearly at the top, we stopped to catch our breath while still in the shade and to admire the view unfolding before us.

 

The climb to the top was steep but again we were grateful for the shade offered by the mountain slopes.

Reaching the top with Cape Town far, far below, with the far-off noises of the city we had a welcomed break to rest our calf muscles and replenish energies after the steep ascent while taking in the breath-taking views all around us. The wind had picked up a bit by now and we welcomed the air it blew over and around us, cooling us down. After a short break we turned left and began to follow our simple instructions I had on how to find Tranquillity Cracks.

We followed the path along the plateau for a short while keeping our eyes alert for the hidden path off to the left. We walked a few steps passed it when we went back to check again. Rather overgrown as not many know about it, it could be a path. All in agreement it was the path we were searching for we followed the secret path that led to the hidden Cracks or at least we hoped led to the hidden cracks. This is where our adventures truly began. The path was quite well hidden in places and my legs today bear the brunt of ‘bundu bashing’ on the overgrown path in search of this hidden mystery.

Twice we came to forks in the path where we stood for ages with Judi reading the instructions to us again and again and again. I for one wasn’t listening too carefully for some reason and eventually asked her to re-read them one more time! Eventually we chose a path and headed towards what we thought would hold these secret passageways inside the mountain!

Judi, caretaker of the instructions, standing at the fork in the path reading to us where to next….!

Beautiful views across the top of Table Mountain ~ probably the reason why I wasn’t paying attention to what Judi was reading!

After some boulder hopping and getting lost underneath the overgrown pathway and seeing a few places that could be cracks we could get into but then upon closer inspection realising we wouldn’t fit in there or we didn’t think that was the way, we turned back still hugging the rocky outcrop in hope of finding the secret “doorway” that would lead us in.

At this point we found some nice rocks to rest on where we sat back and enjoyed a nice snack break while deciding where to look next.

Literally sitting right next to Tranquillity Cracks, we stopped to have a bite to eat while we decided which way to go next. This is me and two of my Kili team members, Judi and Simon ~ so awesome to be back on the mountain with them both again!

After refuelling our bodies, Nikki climbed over and around some small trees and some shrubs to check out the opening in the mountain behind us to see if she could get through, with no luck. We retraced our steps and then took a sudden turn off the undefined path we were on onto another undefined, overgrown path, all the while looking out for the Yellowwood trees that would give us an indication we were on the right track. Good thing someone in our party knew what a Yellowwood tree looked like!

Trying to find a ‘crack’ in the mountain big enough to fit through, we came across this gorgeous view of Lions Head and Signal Hill.

Another gorgeous day in the Mother City! Views of Lions Head and a packed Camps Bay beach below.

Some more boulder hopping and checking out various cracks in the mountain, we finally found the secret “doorway”!!

Trails are not dust and pebbles on a hill,
Nor even grass and wild buds by a lake;
Trails are adventure and a hand to still
The restless pulse of life when men would break
Their minds with weight of thinking.
Trails are peace, The call to dreams, the challenge to ascent;
Trails are the brisk unfolding of release
From bitterness and from discouragement.
Trails are the random writing on the wall
That tells how every man, grown tired at heart
Of things correct and ordered, comes to scrawl
His happy hour down then goes to start
Life over with new eagerness and zest.
Who builds a trail finds labor that is rest!

~ Helen Frezee-Bower

The crack went about 20 metres in and then a corridor to the left and a bit further down another corridor to the right. It was time to explore! We wandered through the maze of Cracks, a labyrinth of natural corridors with mossy Yellowwoods reaching up to the strip of sky above, reaching for the sun high above. It was like a giant, natural playground, bringing back fond memories of my childhood, full of rocks to climb, crevasses to shimmy up, tunnels to crawl through, and wonders to behold!

Oooh Oooh Oooh look what we found!

Heading into Tranquillity Cracks ~ Are you coming or what?!

Suddenly all was quiet and still. The air was cool on our skin. Beauty was all around. We had found the magic of Tranquillity Cracks!

 

Unknown to many and not easily recognised or found from the main path, this really is a jewel of Table Mountain and could easily become my new favourite, favourite on the mountain. We climbed, we laughed, we got stuck, and we squeezed through as we wandered through the maze of cracks. We were enveloped in the beauty and stillness of the place. It was like a little piece of heaven.

Inside Tranquillity Cracks ~ Table Mountain’s best kept secret!

Inside Tranquillity Cracks ~ Yellowwood trees grasping for the light between the cracks.

The girls making the most of the stillness inside this little piece of heaven we found!

All us girls enjoying the tranquillity of our surroundings before much laughter of a self-timer picture so as to include our photographer ~ You try scramble up a high moss-covered rock before the camera timer go off!

Woody Ravine ~ Our chosen path for our descent.

Starting our descent down Woody Ravine after another amazing day on the mountain.

 

An amazing 6 hours on the mountain with fabulous friends for company ~ Today I’m feeling sun-kissed and alive ~ A good dose of food for my soul!

 

~ All Photos By Me ~

Advertisements

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Margii73
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 16:14:52

    Looks glorious :0)

    Reply

  2. yzerfontein
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 08:04:16

    As a Capetonian, I really appreciate you showing me somewhere I didn’t know existed here! I run South Africa Travel Online, and am linking to this post from today’s newsletter (navigate downwards to our famous The Purple Shall Rule section).

    Reply

    • Walking 4 Air
      Oct 03, 2012 @ 09:21:54

      Thanks for reading my blog and for the link posted to your website! Except for 4 years, I have lived in Cape Town all my life and love exploring the hidden gems of Cape Town (when I can find them)! :)

      Reply

  3. cecil dougan
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 10:41:06

    Thanks for sharing this amazing experience with me

    Reply

  4. Wynoma Stockenstroom
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 18:13:13

    It was so greatn to see someone else living by the ” trails are not dust” mantra as i do… my hubby Steve and I did Kili and summited on the 12th July 2011 , a year but a day compared to yours, and it it has been one of my life’d dreams, it finally came true when I got it as a 50th birthday gift … we summited and we eventually got back to put our feet back in SA as my 50th year was ending ! we landed at 23h55 on 14th July 2011 at OR Tambo and that dream could be ticked ….or could it ? I still have the “need” to do it again .. we did MACHAME , and I’d love to try the Western Breach … but I fear my hubby’s dreams now need to be worked on !

    Great going ; onwards and upwards, Wynoma Stockenstroom

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: