the centuries it has become one of South Africa's most famous landmarks.
It is visible from as far as 125 miles out to sea on clear days and is often
covered with cloud called the tablecloth.
Table Mountain is a sandstone plateau rising
up above the Cape Flats. The top is approximately 1.8 miles wide, and at its highest
point, Maclears Beacon, rises to 3038 feet.
The steep cliffs and rocky outcrops of the mountain play
home to a number of plants and animals.
The mountain is more than a place of dramatic scenic beauty, it is also a place
of richly diverse flora.
The mountain is home to approximately 1470 species of
plants; more than the entire British Isles! Complimenting this vast array of
flora is a stunning range of fauna, some, like the Table Mountain Ghost Frog,
being found in no other place in the world. Consider yourself lucky if
you saw Cape Town from this majestic mountain.
A revolving cable car carries visitors up and down in about 5 minutes and
numerous walking and hiking paths lead up and across the mountain. Spectacular
views of the city, the Cape peninsula, the coastline and the ocean can be seen
from 11 viewpoints on the summit.
The views on the way up and
from the top of Table Mountain are phenomenal, and there are some good easy
walks on the summit.
There’s a small self-service restaurant and shop at the top, where you van also
post letters and send faxes. For an adrenaline rush like no other consider doing
The cable cars don’t operate when it’s dangerously windy, and there’s obviously
not much point going up if you are simply going to be wrapped in the cloud known
as ‘the tablecloth’. Weather conditions permitting, they operate every 10
minutes in high season and every 20 minutes in low season. The last car down the
mountain leaves at 10pm. The best visibility and conditions are likely to be
first thing in the morning or in the evening.
It’s also possible to ascend (and descend) the
mountain from the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens side or the City Bowl side.
Climbing Table Mountain looks deceptively easy. Over 300 routes up and down the
mountain have been identified, perhaps giving you a clue as to how easy it is to
get lost. Bear in mind that the mountain is over 1000m high and conditions can
become treacherous quickly. Thick mists can make the paths invisible, and you’ll
just have to wait until they lift. It is advisable to climb with an experience