Table Mountain Cape Town South Africa

The most prominent feature of Cape Town, South Africa is a flat-topped mesa which soars from sea level to a height of 1,084 metres (3,558 ft), and is so awesome that is has even given its name to a constellation which can only be seen in the southern skies.

Table Mountain is a massive and magnificent bit of rock which dominates the Cape Town skyline. Yet whilst it looks barren and foreboding from a distance, Table Mountain actually thrives with life and Table Mountain National Park is considered to be the richest single floristic areas on the planet.

It is a place where lions and leopards used to roam, but, alas, no more. However, the most common mammal to be found on the mountain, the dassie, or rock hyrax to give the animal its correct name, looks like a guinea pig, and is about the size of a rabbit, but is closely related to the elephant.

Most people use the cable car to ride to the top of the mountain. The five minute ascent allows for fantastic 360° views of the surroundings as the cable car actually rotates during the journey. Points of interest include Cape Town and the ocean beyond and the two peaks, Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak which flank either side of the mountain. It is a regular service with cable cars leaving the bottom and top termini every 10-15 minutes. Each car can carry 65 passengers at capacity, and services may be disrupted in the vent of heavy winds.

Table Mountain is about 260 million years old and much of it consists of sandstone, so most of it has actually weathered away over time. The plateau at the top of the mountain is quite large and there are several walking trails you can negotiate. There is also a restaurant on top where you can enjoy the stunning views as you eat your meal.

It is always wise to take warmer clothes when ascending to the peak, as it can be cooler there than on the plain. Also, Table Mountain is often covered in thick cloud, which the locals refer to as the tablecloth, so a good view is not always guaranteed.

You can also walk and climb the mountain, and there are several trails with a varying degree of difficulty for you to negotiate. Depending on your level of fitness an ascent by foot can take from one to three hours. If your interest is in viewing the marvellous flora and fauna that can be found on the slopes there are many trails which take you through the Botanical Garden and other areas.

For those who wish to spend a lot of time getting to know the mountain in greater detail there are multi-day hikes you can do which are operated by the South African National Parks service.

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