How to get there
When you think about Cape Town, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? For most people around the world, the answer is Table Mountain. This is arguably South Africa’s best-known landmark, but what many people don’t know is that it’s also a hiker’s paradise with numerous trails, amazing views and plenty of interesting things to learn. Oh, and it’s part of a national park, too! All this in the heart of South Africa’s ever-enchanting Mother City.
South Africa’s most famous landmark, Table Mountain, is more than just a pile of rocks in the bay. A protected national park, it has some remarkable features that make it a fantastic destination for nature-lovers, deserving of more than just a quick cable car ride to see the view from the top (although that is totally worth it).
The mountain forms part of Table Mountain National Park, which is globally recognised for its biodiversity what with its truly unique and incredibly beautiful fauna and flora. The park encompasses the Table Mountain chain stretching from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south including the seas and coastline of the peninsula.
If you’re not up for a good hike, but still appreciate a breathtaking view, The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway will smoothly fast track you to the top. Since its opening in 1929, more than 22 million people have taken the trip to the top of Table Mountain.
At the upper cable station you will find a restaurant and a curio shop as well as a network of footpaths to explore the table top. Get your camera ready, though. The views are simply stunning all around the top of the mountain.
If hiking is your thing, then you’ll find plenty of hiking trails from the Camps Bay side of the mountain, as well as from the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, and even from the city centre itself.
Calling it an adventurer’s paradise is no understatement. You can walk it, you can climb it, or you can even abseil down it, depending on your expertise and fitness levels. Take caution, although the mountain may look tame on any given day, people perish every year as they set off under-prepared for a sudden change in weather. Always hike in a group and carry water and warm clothing with you. Better still, hire a guide or ask an experienced hiker to take you along. It’s something you will never regret and always remember!
South African National Parks (SANParks)
Tel: +27 21 487 6800
Fax: +27 21 487 6859
Email: [email protected]
Table Mountain is easily accessible by car, taxi and bus. You can even take a City Sightseeing bus to the foot of the mountain. The Platteklip Gorge hike starts from the lower cableway station at Table Mountain, less than 3km from the Cape Town city centre.
A return trip for one adult on the Cableway costs around R205 at the ticket office or R185 online (plus, buying your ticket online means you’ll skip long queues during popular summer days). Hiking is free and if you don’t feel like walking back down, take the cable car for R105. The cable car will close if the weather is inclement so always be prepared to hike down.
Bear in mind that the temperature on top of Table Mountain can be up to six degrees colder than at the bottom. During summer (October to April) a plentiful supply of water is essential, while waterproof clothing will most likely be necessary during winter (April to October).
There are four tented camps on Table Mountain if you wish to complete your mountain experience by staying the night. Call SANParks to book.