on November 17, 2005
Table Mountain rises up south of Cape Town and offers great hiking trails and stunning views over the city and its surroundings. ** SEA DRAGON According to a legend, the mighty sea dragon Nganyamba tried to prevent Qamata, an African mythological figure responsible for the creation of the world, from creating dry land. Djobela, a one-eyed earth goddess, assisted Nganyamba. She casted a spell that created four giants to guard the north, south, east, and west. ** WATCHER OF THE SOUTH Many battles raged and eventually the giants were defeated. Before dying, the giants asked earth goddess Djobela to turn them into mountains to watch over the area. The Watcher of the South, Umlindi Wemingizimu, became Table Mountain. ** 50 MILLION YEARS Scientists have another explanation. Hundreds of millions of years ago, when the Cape was part of the supercontinent geologists call Gondwana, the feature that is now Table Mountain was a flat, empty plain. As the vast landmass shifted and heaved, the plain slowly subsided under the sea. For 50 million years, fine sediment built up, layer after layer. Then the earth's plates buckled again, and the layers of sediment were thrust upward to what are now Table Mountain, Devil's Peak, and Lion's Head. ** LIONS AND HIPPOS The mountain nowadays is over 1,000m (highest peak = 1,087m). Once upon a time, the mountain range and surroundings used to be the home to a variety of wild animal species, from lions to hippos. Unfortunately, they disappeared as man encroached on their habitat. Only the smaller ones remain on the mountain: the little grysbok, porcupines, tortoises, and hyrax or dassie, a creature that is the closest biological relative to the elephant. ** 1000 PLANT SPECIES Table Mountain’s flora mountain is varied. Botanists estimate that more than 1,000 plant species are found here, ranging from Regal Protea to ground-hugging ferns.
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