This is the route for the no-nonsense let's-climb-this-thing hikers. A few hundred metres on from the cable car station on Tafelberg Road is an innocent looking hut and modest sign: it's the start of the trail and there is only one direction - upwards.
Allow two or three hours for this gasper – a series of steps ascend a great cleft in the city-side of the mountain – but the views are stunning and once at the top you can turn right for the cable car or left for Maclear's Beacon – Table Mountain's highest point at 1 086m.
A return journey via Platteklip is the easiest, but if you have arranged for transport, then head down to Kirstenbosch by way of either Skeleton Gorge or Nursery Ravine.
Don't let the tranquil atmosphere of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens fool you: a gentle winding path quickly develops attitude and suddenly you're scrambling up ladders and negotiating boulders – the grimly named Skeleton Gorge.
It's a tough hour-and-a-half through indigenous forest but once at the top you'll feel on top of the world, which in a sense you will be as you gaze out over the peninsula.
Return to Kirstenbosch via the slightly more forgiving Nursery Ravine (a four-hour round trip), or carry on along the contour path to Maclear's Beacon and eventually onto the Tabletop.
If you still have the energy, come down Platteklip Gorge; if not, the cable car will happily twirl you to the bottom. This route will take about five or six hours.
You'll need to arrange transport for this southern suburbs secret – but you won't regret it. Leave the shady pines of Constantia Nek behind and head up through the forest, the tall trees giving way to the sun-drenched fynbos (Cape's unique, shrubby vegetation) of the Back Table.
At the top the incline flattens out and it's an easy circuit around the dams (four-hour round trip) or – providing you have a map/guide – an hike through deserted valleys to the Tabletop - allow a full day for this walk.
Come down via the cable car or, if your legs will bear it, Platteklip Gorge. An alternative is to cut across to the contour path that hugs the eastern slopes and head down into Kirstenbosch via Skeleton Gorge or Nursery Ravine.