Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
Table Mountain is a symbolic
landmark in Cape Town. The level plateau, surrounded by steep cliffs with
spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, the city, sand dunes and silhouette of mountains in the distance.
Table Mountain is also a World Heritage site.
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The highest point on Table Mountain is at the eastern end of the plateau which is
3,563 ft above sea level. The flat top of the mountain is sometimes covered by clouds or fog and its spill over
give the mountain the effect of a table cloth. Though, it is lovely to see the table cloth effect away from the
mountain, it will be disappointing to be at the top of the mountain when it happen.
There are two ways to get to the top of the mountain. One is by cable car and the
other is hiking. The Table Mountain Cableway station lies about mid range in the mountain. The cableway has been in
operation since 1929 and it was extensively renovated in 1997. The cableway carries 65 passengers to and from the
summit and the ascent to the top is about 10 minutes. The glass window which rotates 360 degrees gives passengers a
panoramic view of the city and the mountain. The cleverly constructed glass panel with 2 sections that is without
glass allow passengers to take pictures without any obstruction. The cableway is mostly standing space with a few
seats near the control and it is usually full.
Hiking in Table Mountain is another
popular way to get to the summit. There are a number of trails ranging from
easy to difficult. However, it is good to note that a considerable level of fitness and stamina is needed to
complete the hike. As there are many steep cliffs around the summit, the time taken to reach the summit varies
according the route taken and the fitness level. The straightforward route is the Platteklip Gorge and it takes
about 1 to 3 hours to ascent to the summit. The other route which is a longer route to the summit is from the south
of the main plateau starting at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (an interesting place to explore different
types of local flora and fauna). Another popular ascent is from
Kasteelspoort which is a gorge from the Atlantic side of the mountain.
The top of the mountain offer different
spectacular view point like Cape Town, Cape Pennisula, Cape Flats and Table Bay. There are 3 different
choices of walks on top of the mountain, they are:
-Dassie Walk with views of north, south and west
-Agama Walk with spectacular 360 degree views of Cape Town and Cape
-Klipspringer Walk with views along the plateau edge to above Platteklip
If you want to know more about the history and its botanical make up. The free guided tours in
Table Mountain is definitely useful and informative. The guided
tour operates at 1000hr and 1200hr. Take a rest at the cafe in the
summit, escape from the heat and continue enjoying the views. There is a magical and yet serene feeling at Table
Mountain. Perhaps it was the flatness at the peak, totally unblocked and the distance silhouette of the mountains
is so picturesque. I could stay on the summit for hours.
There are no tall trees in the summit, it will be wise to bring your hat or carry
some form of shade as it can get very hot. The plants surrounding the summit are mainly alpines and
To get the best of Table Mountain, it is important to check the weather as it can
get foggy and misty and the view will be obstructed. Beware of high winds as it can get chilly.
You can get to Table Mountain on your own by taxis or you can join the local
tours. Alternatively, you can hire a car from the many car rental companies in Cape Town.
The rates for the Cableway from 1 October 2008 - 30 September 2009 is:
Adult - Return: R145.00
Children (under 18 years) - Return: R76.00
Children under 4 years travel free
Opening times vary according to the time of the year and the weather