Visiting Table Mountain – Cape town, South Africa
Table Mountain is a icon in Cape Town and is named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. When we arrived late in the night, everything was dark but we could tell from our drive that we were elevated and heading down into Cape Town. When we walked outside for the first time in day light, we were blown away by the massive mountain looming over us.
It can be seen all over the city, making it the perfect backdrop for every photo. It is also visible outside the city in neighboring areas such as the Cape Peninsula drive and even Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (makes for the most beautiful photos – see those here!).
When it comes to visiting, there are two main ways: a cable car and hiking.
- The cable car – costs vary depending on what you are looking to do. There are round trip ticket options, afternoon ticket options, and one way ticket options that can be paired with the hiking option in either direction. Prices of the tickets as well as booking can be found here. On busy days, it is best to reserve your spot ahead of time.
- Table Mountain via Platteklip Gorge – 4 mile there and back moderate trail with 2293 foot elevation gain that gives hikers the picturesque views of Cape Town below. Most hikers complete within two to three hours.
Normally, we much prefer the hike over a cable car or another non-active method of reaching a peak if an active route exists. However, we were running out of time in our day so it was unlikely we would be successful in completing the hike with enough time to make it to our dinner reservation. It was disappointing as I really wanted to at least hit one hike on this trip but with such little time in Cape Town, I knew some cuts would have to be made along the way. So we decided to “splurge” on the cable car option to the top to Table Mountain since the weather was cooperative for great views. We were told several times during the day that the weather can change very quickly and today was perfect to go to the top due to the clear day.
Well by the time our Uber driver dropped us off, clouds slowly started to roll in. When I had checked the status of the cable cars at lunch, there was no wait so I was optimistic that we could make it to the top with cloud obstruction. Well after not really seeing any tourists all day, we found them all huddled here. There was a line to purchase tickets, then a line to take an elevator up to the cable car (with one party at a time), then a line to get onto the cable car. All to say, by the time we got to the top of Table Mountain, those clouds indeed rolled in. The “table cloth” had arrived.
But we still had a decent view of downtown Cape Town and we were surprised to learn all the walking trails at the top of the mountain. Table Mountain National Park is quite large including many of the surrounding areas of the mountain. Table Mountain itself has been named one of the Natural Wonders of the World. At the top there are lots of walking trails that take visitors through the world’s most diverse and endemic display of vegetation. As we continued a loop at the time, there was nothing visible on the other side of Table Mountain – including the Twelve Apostles.
If we thought the line to get up to the top of Table Mountain was long, the line for the way down was much longer. Once we were done at the top, we took our place in line and waited to get down – it took five cable cars up people but we made it down.
Making the trip up to Table Mountain – no matter which way you take – is definitely something to add to your Cape Town itinerary. While I wish we went up earlier in the day when the weather was pristine, we at least got sunshine over Cape Town while we were up there. It is easy to spend a good amount of time here as the walking trails are expansive and I wish we had more time in our trip to explore them all. I can only image what a 360 degree view looks like from up here!