Short Trip On Table Mountain

Once you arrive in Cape Town, whether you arrive by plane, train, boat or spaceship, the iconic Table Mountain is there to welcome you. Looking at it from below is one thing, but it is quite another to be atop the mountain, from where one is afforded such wonderful views of Cape Town, Robben Island, the Peninsula and beyond.

This flat-topped mountain overlooking Cape Town is not only a huge tourist attraction but rather a symbol where Cape Town gets its true identity. For political prisoners at Robben Island, it stood as a sign of hope. Its highest point is 1,086 meters (3,563 ft) above sea level and an estimated 2,200 species of plants are found on the mountain alone. Although animals such as the cape lion, mountain zebra or the leopard are no longer found here, the park is still home to caracals, rock hyraxes or chacma baboons. This mountain hides many surprises that wait to be discovered. It is much more than a scenic photograph background or a place from where you can take a breathtaking photo of Cape Town. One can, of course, walk up, but for the fit and agile many marked hiking trails are available which take between 1-3 hours to the top. But getting to the summit of Cape Town’s mountain is not taking candy from a kid. For some of us, the cable car way seems to take much of the troubles away. The journey takes a little more than 5 minutes and the high tech rotating cable car offers the best views of the city.

Here a few quirky facts about the Mother City’s majestic mound

  • It is the only South African and only natural site on the planet to have a constellation of stars named after it. The constellation is called “Mensa”, which means ‘table’ in Latin.
  • At over 260 million years old, Table Mountain is older than the Andes, the Alps, the Rocky Mountains and the Himalayas.
  • The Khoi people used to call the mountain Hoerikwaggo (Mountain of the Sea).
  • The Table mountain cableway was opened in 1929 and today each car can carry 65 passengers at a time to the top.
  • More than 70% of all the plants found on the mountain are endemic, meaning they are not found anywhere else.
  • It only looks flat from one side, the overlying mountains to the South West are known as the Twelve apostles.
  • For the really brave abseiling is also available for the brave! It’s currently the world’s highest abseil at 112m high.
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are on the east side of the mountain. The rainfall on this side is much higher than on the other faces, hence the dense vegetation
  • With over 800,000 people visit it each year, it is the most photographed place in South Africa

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