Disas galore on Table Mountain

Posted by Imogen Searra on 16 February 2021

Steve Lake and his family traversed Table Mountain on February 14, taking the cable car up and trekking to Maclear’s Beacon. Along the way, his family of five found flourishing flora and fauna.

They began their adventure at 9 am loaded with snacks and water for the journey ahead.

In terms of fitness, Lake said: ‘If you are in no rush, then you don’t need to be extremely fit. We had some friends who came along that are very unfit and managed fine, not to say they didn’t feel it the next day, but they loved it.’ He also added that his children had an easier time than him and his wife.

‘Our kids are 10, 13 and 15. It’s a great family hike with lots to see and explore. They would need to be a little fit, but the kids certainly did it easier than my wife and I.’

A view to behold. Image: Steven Lake

‘We started the hike at 9 am, purely as the cable car only starts running at 9am at the moment. We took a good variety of snacks and lots of water with us and finished at 2:30 pm. We certainly did not rush and spent a lot of time enjoying the views, flowers, birds, animals and taking pictures,’ explained Lake to Getaway Magazine. 

When asked about the busyness, Lake explained that around the cable station there was a fair amount of people but along the path the family were predominantly alone.

After arriving at the top, the Lakes set out with one goal in mind: To find the Pride of Table Mountain.

The South African orchid species is a spectacular sight. The flowers bloom in shades of red, pink and sometimes yellow during summer, from December to March. The peak flowering period occurs mid-February.

Once reaching Maclear’s Beacon the family moved along Smuts track to the aqua ducts in search of the red disa.

‘We got to the waterfall just below the aqua ducts stopped for picnic and to enjoy the pools. We then crossed the pools and followed the path towards Echo Valley and took the first right back to Maclear’s Beacon. The goal was the red disa,’ said Lake.

‘From Maclear’s beacon it took about 45 minutes to get to the disas,’ said Lake. Seeing the disas has been a long-time dream of Lake’s, who has never seen them in flower.

‘It was something we really wanted to see, so we spent plenty time enjoying them, they were quite widely spread so each area had its own beauty.

He said that the group spent an hour at each stop.

The Pride of Table Mountain. Image: Steven Lake

Mother Nature at her finest. Image: Steven Lake

Red disas galore. Image: Steven Lake

A Mountain Pride butterfly feeding on the Crassula coccinea. Image: Steven Lake

Enjoying the sweet nectar. Image: Steven Lake

South Africa’s national flower, the King Protea. Image: Steven Lake

A Cape sugar bird enjoying the flowering King Protea. Image: Steven Lake

A yellow disa in bloom. Image: Steven Lake

Lake said that the hike back up the path from the waterfall below the aqua ducts is somewhat strenuous, ‘but even this wasn’t too bad.’

The easiest stretch, explained Lake, is the walk from the cable car to Maclear’s Beacon, on the back path and along the front of Table Mountain.

‘This is a lovely hike without going down to see the disas, if families just want to hike to the Maclear’s Beacon and back. It is flat and 6km round hike,’ said Lake. It takes roughly two hours.

‘It is a great family outing hike, take a picnic and enjoy the stops and views, no rush. If we were rushing we would have missed the Yellow and the orange cluster disas,’ Lake continued.

‘We spotted the Himalayan tahr on our way back from Maclear’s Beacon and we were the only ones there. We could not see anyone in front or behind us.’

‘It was funny when we first spotted the Himalayan tahr as I jokingly said to my kids it was a Cape mountain lion and I didn’t realise that they believed me, so they were a little nervous until they figured out I was joking.

The family also spotted three klipspinger.

In 2004 there was a plan to wipe out the Himalayan tahrs but some managed to escape. Image: Steven Lake

A trotting tahr of Table Mountain. Image: Steven Lake

Tahrs are generally reclusive mammals. Image: Steven Lake

‘It really is a very memorable outing, to say you have been on the highest point of Table Mountain (1086m) at Maclear’s Beacon, to see the disas and the animals, things the kids wont forget (nor the adults),’ concluded Lake.

Need to knows:

  • Book your cable car tickets online because you can go in the fast lane when you’re waiting in line and they are valid for 7 days.
  • Plenty of water, good hiking shoes, sun block, snacks for picnic, warm clothing (temperatures can change quickly on the mountain and in case of injury), a little first aid bag, battery pack as you take loads of picturess with your phones and the battery dies quickly.

To stay up to date with Steven Lake’s adventures visit his pages here:

Instagram: @stevemlake


His portfolio can be found here


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