Results 1-10of 16 Reviews
London, England, United Kingdom
October 2, 2011
From journal South Africa: What to See and Do in Cape Town
ashbourne, United Kingdom
April 12, 2010
From journal South African Road Trip
Oxford, United Kingdom
October 21, 2009
From journal Visiting the Cape Peninsula
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
December 4, 2004
The Cape Peninsula’s most prominent feature, Table Mountain, has been a welcome landmark for travellers. Its impressive front wall, as well as the surrounding buttresses and ravines, is a spectacular natural wonder. The rock formations and twisted strata indicate turbulent geological processes that span a millions-of-years history. A mass of sedimentary sandstone and large areas of granite forms the Cape Peninsula’s mountain chain. The sandstone sediment, which forms the main block of the mountain, was deposited about 450 million years ago when the peninsula, then a part of Gondwana, lay below sea level. After the subsidence of the primeval ocean, the effects of wind, rain, ice and extreme temperatures caused erosion of the softer layers, leaving behind the characteristic mesa of Table Mountain.
Over 1,400 plant species of the 2,285 that make up the Cape Floral Kingdom of the Peninsula can be found in the protected natural habitat of Table Mountain. They include Disa uniflora (also called Pride of Table Mountain), which mostly grows near streams and waterfalls, and several members of the regal protea family. Wildlife, consisting mostly of small mammals, reptiles and birds, includes the rare and secretive ghost frog, which is found in perennial streams on the plateau.
The high plateau affords superb views of the Hely-Hutchinson reservoir, the Back Table, and southwards to False Bay and Cape Point. In 1998, extensive upgrading of the Table Mountain Cableway, as well as the lower and upper stations, resulted in special reinforced viewing platforms at strategic vantage points.
Table Mountain’s Tablecloth: An old local legend tells of the Dutchman, Jan van Hunks, who engaged in a smoking contest with a stranger on the slopes of Devil’s Peak. After several days, the disgruntled stranger had to admit defeat and revealed himself as the Devil. Vanishing in a puff of smoke, he carried van Hunks off with him, leaving behind wreaths of smoke curling around Devil’s Peak -- which is where the cloud begins pouring over the mountains -- forming the famous tablecloth.
Tips for Walkers: Several well-marked trails, graded according to their degree of difficulty, lead to the summit. All hikers must wear proper walking boots and are advised to check with the Lower Cableway Station before setting out, as weather conditions may deteriorate without warning. Winds at the top can reach over 80km per hour, so hiking on windy or misty days is not recommended.
The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company:Daily departure at varying times.Tel: 021/424-5148
From journal Two Oceans ~ One Hope
by Linda Kaye
San Antonio, Texas
August 12, 2002
There are two ways to the top, climb or take a cable car. Only the very daring and brave choose the former. The circular cable car, called the Rotair, carries up to 65 passengers and rotates a full 360 degrees as it ascends to the top Table Mountain in only 76 seconds, giving everyone on board incredible views.
Once on top of Table Mountain, there are pathways and trails, benches and seating areas. If you are lucky, and the weather is good, you will be able to see almost forever. The lofty heights of this table top is nothing short of spectacular. We could see in all directions- ships at sea headed toward the harbor, numerous bays, and the City of Cape Town itself. We could see Lion’s Head Peak, Devil’s Peak, Signal Hill and even the towering formations of the Twelve Apostles. We could see Robben Island, the island maximum-security prison when Nelson Mandela spent so many years during the Apartheid.
Several types of tickets are available, one-way (if you are planning to climb down), round trip and combination tickets. We purchased the Lunch Package ticket. This combination ticket was not advertised and we had to ask for it. The $13.50 USD ticket included the round-trip ride on the Rotair, and a self-serve buffet lunch. However, it was not the typical "all you can get" type arrangement. At end the buffet line, our plate was weighed; if it was over-filled, there was an extra cost. Luckily, none of our plates went over the limit. Lunch is offered between 11:30 to 3:30. Drinks, sandwiches and salads are available, or bring your own and have a picnic is one of the most interesting setting in the world. I think we could have stayed there all day just looking at the world below.
Table Mountain is also handicapped accessible, providing space for wheelchairs on the Rotair and eleven of the thirteen overlooks on the top are wheelchair accessible.
Table Mountain Website
From journal Cape Town, South Africa's Mother City
Mexico City, Mexico
March 1, 2002
Table Mountain is probably the most instantly recognizable
mountain in the world - you can confuse Mt. Fuji with half a dozen other
volcanoes, Mt Blanc with a couple of other Alpine peaks and Mt. Everest with
various other Himalayan summits, but Table Mountain with its flat top is unique.
Although only 1,086 meters high, it raises seemingly from nowhere and almost
vertical to its flat top.
The views from the top are spectacular and the easiest way
since 1929 has been to use the cable car. The current cars date from 1997 and
car makes a 360-degree turn going up so there is no need to push for the best
viewpoints. Check the website
for times, prices (less than $10) and directions.
It is also not particularly difficult to climb the
mountain. There are various routes ranging from not much more than walking to
pure rock climbing. The fastest route from the back of the mountain takes just
more than an hour. A favorite route from the front is up Platteklip Gorge, where
the mountain seems to be split in two. This route takes about two hours and was
the route taken for the first recorded ascent of the mountain in 1503. Weather
conditions change rapidly so it is important to be prepared for bad weather even
on a seemingly calm sunny day.
Botanists will be impressed by the more than 1400 species
of plants on the mountain - many unique to the Western Cape. Fauna is more
limited with the most famous being dassies, small hamster like animals
whose closest relative is the somewhat heavier African elephant.
On the mountain at the Upper Cable Car station is a
restaurant / souvenir shop but it is more interesting to take your own picnic
lunch and enjoy it away form the crowds. In summer it is most popular to go up
in the late afternoon and watch the sun set into the Atlantic Ocean. Postcards
mailed at the top is franked with a special mark. The highest point, Maclear’s
Beacon can be reached in a 45 min walk from the station.
Table Mountain is often covered by clouds - referred to as
its tablecloth. There is an old Dutch legend from colonial times describing the
source of the clouds as a smoking competition between an old man and the devil.
(The adjacent mountain to the left is known as Devil’s Peak.) However,
according to meteorologists conditions in the region causes moisture to condense
into clouds above 900 meter and evaporate below 900 meter and Table Mountain
being just over a kilometer high gets caught up in the action. The tablecloth is
a magnificent sight as well, but only if you actually managed to have seen the
clear mountain as well. The cloud cover can last for weeks, especially in
summer, so it is prudent to take photos of the mountain and get thee to the top
at the earliest opportunity!
From journal Cape Town and the winelands
Cape Town, South Africa
November 17, 2005
From journal Table Mountain, Devil's Peak & Lion's Head welcome you to Cape Town!
by Eric Kater
New York, New York
April 20, 2004
This is one of the prime tourist attractions in Cape Town, and so I was a bit reluctant to go, being one of those people who take pride in getting off the beaten track. The steep vertical climb of the cable car to the summit is no joy ride for those who are afraid of heights. I learned on my way up that I was dangling from the longest continuous stretch of cable in the world. The mountain’s plateau affords 360-degree views of Cape Town and its surrounding mountains and coastline, which from this vantage point is not to be missed. The mountaintop is quite large, and lined with paths and benches, so it is quite a pleasant place to leisurely pass a few hours.
From journal Cape Town: A Paradise Complete with a Serpent
December 13, 2003
It’s flanked by Devil’s Peak to the east, the Lion’s Head and Signal Hill to the west, and the Karbonkelberg to the southwest. Further along are the Twelve Apostles, running south along the coast (through small beach-side suburbs like Clifton). (The best view of them is from a sailboat – there are various operators which you can book from the V&A Waterfront, like the Tigresse catamaran – (021) 425 5457.)
Table Mountain looks for all the world as though its maker has sliced off the top of the peak, hence the name the Dutch arrivals gave it -- the best view, and the classic picture postcard, is from BloubergStrand, north east along the coast from V&A, where you can get a great photo across the Atlantic Ocean (just don’t try dipping in your toe – it’s direct from the Antarctic!) of the flat top, whether it’s a clear day or the famous "tablecloth" of clouds is shimmering on the peak.
Assuming it’s not, head up on the revolving cable-car to the top (105pp return) for a cracking panorama over the city -- you can hike up (there are apparently 350 routes up, though it’s not an easy endeavour and can only be undertaken with expert advice, i.e., through the Mountain Club of South Africa or Friend’s of Lion’s Head) but the rotating cable car is quite entertaining in itself. Once at the top, the level summit is 3km long (east-west) and its highest point is 1086m (Maclear’s Beacon, which the astronomer Sir Thomas Maclear erected in 1843 as an experiment more accurately to measure the circumference of the earth) – you are asked to stick to the paths and not to feed the dassies (hydraxes) which live up there. Most entertaining is to wander along the set paths though the fynbos (literally fine bush) of local shrubby undergrowth, including species and protea. There are various birds and the occasional tortoise lurking around. Make sure you take up your binoculars for the excellent views of Cape Town below.
Signal Hill can be accessed by car and gives a good alternative view (especially of the city lights by night or of the sunset – it’s popular for locals for picnics or "sundowners"). The Lion’s Head is also a dramatic sight – it was originally the site of the cannons which announced the entry of ships into Table Bay (since moved into town).
From journal Cape Town Pt 1 - City by the sea
San Francisco, California
May 14, 2002
The aerial cablway that carries you to the top is amazing in and of itself. The large contained tram rotates as it ascends and descends and provides you with a 360 degree view of the area. The summit contains many amenities as well as hiking trails and spectacular panoramic views of Cape Town.
Imclement weather (especially the high winds that can come off of the coast) can lead to the cableway being closed. Always call ahead to make sure that it's open that day. Go early to avoid the crowds.
From journal Cape Town: An Awesome Adventure