Table Mountain

Table Mountain viewed from the Waterfront

Table Mountain is the iconic symbol of Cape Town, and has recently been voted as one of the "new seven wonders of nature". The mountain is part of the larger general area of Table Mountain National Park, which is a mountainous area stretching all the way down to Cape Point.

The highest point of Table Mountain, known as Maclear's Beacon, is 1089 metres above sea level. The most often seen picture of the mountain shows the "table top" towering above the City Bowl, with the ocean in the foreground. To the left stands Devil's Peak and to the right are Lion's Head and the greener Signal Hill.

A drive (or ride on the city tour bus) takes you to the lower cableway station, from where you can take a cable car up to the top of the mountain. There is a small cafe at the top, as well as the opportunity to take a number of walks with stunning views. A walk to Maclear's Beacon takes approximately one hour each way from the upper cableway station. You are advised to stick to the marked paths when walking on the mountain.

For the more adventurous, there are a number of routes via which the mountain can be climbed. The most direct and popular is Platteklip Gorge, which rises up the front face of the mountain. The Skeleton Gorge and Nursery Ravine climbs start from Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. There are number of other routes to climb up Table Mountain, however the three listed above are the most recommended for people without some form of rock climbing experience.

Whilst the three routes listed above are the "easiest", they are still very strenuous and you should be physically fit to attempt any of these climbs. Never hike alone, and always take plenty of water, and warm clothing in case the weather changes. The weather can change very quickly on the mountain. It is possible to get one way tickets for the cable car (either up or down), but bear in mind that the cable car may be closed in inclement weather such as strong winds.

A common sight is the "tablecloth" of white cloud which covers the top of the mountain in certain weather conditions.

Photo by Georgio used under a Creative Commons CC BY-SA license.

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