A fine glass of a 1994 Rhine Riesling.
Table Mountain water, circa January 31st, 2010.
An anonymous commenter queried the wisdom of drinking water flowing from the mountain on our hike though Orange Kloof. With the spectre of darkest Africa, and many waterborne illnesses, bacteria, viruses and protozoa lurking in our collective consciousness, it's a reasonable question.
My own habit is formed not by science but by what I have seen other practised hikers do, over many years. Moving water, neither crossed by paths higher up nor subjected to other discernible human activity above the collection point, is safe to drink. I first drank it as a twelve year old and I am still here to tell the tale, though it may pass my lips but once or twice a year. I find it pure and delicious.
Sunday's water in Orange Kloof came from the De Villiers dam, a reservoir high above us whose sluice must have been opened to cause such a rush of water. There was no path above our source. But of course one doesn't know what could have happened out of sight. A dead animal, baboon droppings, human activity...it was just unlikely, though not impossible. On a more trafficked route like the front of Table Mountain, I would probably not drink.
But for now, Cheers!
I'd be curious to know what other Table Mountain (and Western Cape) hikers think. If you happen to read this, please add your opinion.