Table Mountain is one of Cape Town’s top tourist attractions, known for its flattened-top overlooking the city. With an elevation of just over 1000m, most Capetonians will be able to tell you that if you know where the mountain is, you won’t get lost… although I suspect this is debatable!
Table Mountain is famous for a couple reasons:
- It’s one of the world’s 7 wonders of nature
- The mountain is approximately 260 million years old, originally it connected the Cape Peninsula to the Hottentots Holland Mountains forming an extensive mountain range which was eroded over time.
- Within the mountain there are sandstone cave systems, the Wynberg Caves are the largest and most notable.
- On the mountain, you can find the rock hyrax (“dassie”), which despite being a relatively small animal is the African elephant’s closest living relative. The dassie is native to the Middle East as well as in Africa.
- Table Mountain is found within the Cape Floral Kingdom and has a high biodiversity of fauna, with approximately 1500 species found on the mountain.
- On a hot summers day with the South-Easter wind blowing, cloud gathers on the top of the mountain forming the famous “Table cloth”.
There are a number of different hikes available:
- Skeleton Gorge
- The pipe track
- Woodstock caves
- Platteklip Gorge
Hiking with a guide or a group is advised. Cape Town has changeable weather with mist and clouds which can cause hikers difficulty navigating the paths. It is also safer hiking in a group and if you can go with a guide, even better. Pack enough warm clothes, proper walking shoes, water, food, a map of the route you plan on taking, hat, sunblock and raincoat.
For the less adventurous, there is a cable car which takes you up to the top of the mountain and back down again. It’s recommended if you plan to take the cable car, buy tickets online to beat the queue. It’s always recommended to monitor the weather before you go to the mountain. In high winds, low visibility or heavy rain conditions will be poor and the cable car will not run. The Table Mountain Website will also give information if the cable car is down for maintenance, as well as the first car up and down for the day.
At the top of the mountain, there are tours available to give you more information. Table Mountain Café has a variety of meals, drinks and snacks available. There is also a gift store where you can buy souvenirs. There are beautiful viewpoints along the top.