The Table Mountain, Cape Town, is one of the best travel destinations in South Africa. It is unique, beautiful and so attractive. Or, that’s how I perceived the mountain when visiting Cape Town for the first time in my life.
On that spring afternoon in September 2013, the atmosphere looked a bit misty and surreal. Travelling in a super luxury bus on the N1 freeway, the sight of Table Mountain was unmistakable. I immediately recognised the mountain from the many pictures of Cape Town I had seen before.
Cape Town is synonymous with Table Mountain! Table Mountain is what makes Cape Town Cape Town! They are both among the best travel destinations in South Africa.
Brief History: Table Mountain
The history of Table Mountain and Cape Town goes a long way. We may not all agree what happened in the past, like who lived there first. Some of us put forward opinions that place ourselves at an advantage over others. But we all agree; Table Mountain is a beautiful gift to all of us.
We also agree that Table Mountain has been there for millions and millions of years. It has been a spectacle to Cape dwellers and people that visit Table Mountain alike for ages.
Table Mountain and Cape Town
On that September afternoon, approaching Cape Town along the N1 Highway, the mountain looked a bit smaller than I had imagined. I could tell it was Table Mountain alright, but it looked smaller. Disappointing!
Then I became immediately aware; I was approaching the mountain from north east, faced with a smaller side of the mountain.
You get the best sight of Cape Town’s Table Mountain when you look from Blouberg area and Robben Island. From these areas the mountain looks impressive, the top unnaturally flat. The flat area is between two pointed uprisings on both sides.
On the left is Devil’s Peak, covered in mist most of the time. On the right side is a slightly detached, smaller uprising called Lion’s Head.
From this vantage point, you may think that Cape town’s Table Mountain is only about what you see. But, there is a lot to Table Mountain than what meets the eye from this point.
What you’d see is only a front of a range of mountains that stretch backwards till Cape Point in the Cape Peninsula.
Table Mountain From Cape Town International Airport
If you’d approach from Cape Town International Airport you may not be able to recognise the mountain. from this side you are met with a panorama of rugged, forbidding mountain range that extends from Muizenberg and FishHoek areas up to the eastern side of Devil’s Peak.
This side offers one of the most beautiful sights of Table Mountain range.
The Cable Station
From Cape Town CBD, about halfway up the mountain there is a cable station. This is one of the two cable stations on the mountain. The lower station is the gateway to the top of the mountain. The other station is a stop station at the top of the mountain.
There are two cable cars exchanging directions up and down the mountain rock face.The cable car trip to the top takes about 5 minutes.
The Top of Table Mountain
As I have mentioned, it starts at the Cape Peninsula, running through the Table Mountain National Park to end at head-like platform we all know as Table Mountain.
The pinnacle of the beauty and uniqueness of Table Mountain is to be discovered on the top of the mountain. Table Mountain boasts the highest range of fynbos flora in the world with over 1400 species of the plant.
Here you will see sandstone forms that you will only find in few other areas in the world. The rocks here are said to have been around for over 600 000 000 years, making Table Mountain Cape Town the oldest mountain on earth.
The uppermost point of Table Mountain is Maclears Beacon. It stands at 1085 metres above sea level. The place is covered in mist most of the time (except during warm summer), adding to its mysterious nature!
The cable cars operate the whole day till 21:00 in the evening. Remember that this will vary from day to day depending on whether the weather allows it. Before the last descend of the evening, a siren goes off to make all aware that the last ride is about to start.
There are always measures in place in case the descending cable car rides become impossible.
The recent upgrades have made the top of the mountain more hospitable and tourist-friendly. There are boardwalks that make walking about easier and safer. Sign posts are erectated to lead visitors to interesting spots. There are also public telescopes that anyone can use to bring far-lying sights closer.
There is a restaurant where you can buy food refreshments, and other shops where you can buy gifts and mementos.
Top of The Mountain Adventures
The top of the mountain is not for sightseeing only. There are other activities for adventure lovers. You can follow one of the 3 hiking trails to explore the area further. Alternatively, you can join guided family-friendly walks that start daily at 09:00 AM.
If you have even more of the adventurous nature, book for an abseiling experience down the mountain cliff.
There are also several caves that can be accessed and explored from different spots around the mountain. It is important to visit the caves with someone that knows the area well.
Table Mountain Cape Town Visitors
Photographers, tourists, hikers and abseilers from all over the world travel to Cape Town each and every year. Most of them won’t go back home without making the trip up Table Mountain.
Most visitors come to Table Mountain and Cape Town during summer, from November to February. This is when Cape Town is most warm.
During this period weather disruptions, at the cable stations are minimal. For a convenient and fast experience, buy your cableway tickets on the Table Mountain Cape Town website HERE.
Table Mountain Cape Town: Best Travel Destination in South Africa
If you are planning to tour South Africa in the near future, a visit to Table Mountain and Cape Town will surely enrich your experience. These are both the best travel destinations in South Africa.
- Please remember that the top of the mountain is cold. So, bring something to keep warm.
- If going to hike or join a family walk, bring along refreshments or plan to get some at the restaurant before departure.
- If visiting during busy times (between November and March), you may experience shortage of parking. It may be more convenient to take free shuttle bus or use public transport.
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