Table Mountain is one of South Africa’s most popular natural features. Very few places in the world can say they have a mountain in their city, it is one of the most photographed places in the world and it is said that even ships can see Table Mountain from 150 km away. Table Mountain is a popular visitor destination in Cape Town, and approximately 800 000 people visit it each year.
Table Mountain offers many characteristic features and is unique in many ways. It has a flat top that stretches 3 km from side to side, surrounded by steep cliffs and impressive rock formations. This flat top mountain lies between Lions Head and Devils Peak forming an impressive backdrop into the city of Cape Town.
Table Mountain is part of the Table Mountain National Park, it has a height of 1,085 meters above sea level and boasts incredible 360 degree views over the city, Atlantic Ocean and Cape Peninsula. Table Mountain marks the most northern end of the Cape Peninsula which runs about 50 km south to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. The mountain is divided into 4 main features namely Constantia Neck, Back Table, Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak.
The highest point on Table Mountain is marked at Maclear’s Beacon where it climbs to a further 1088 meters in height, this is also the highest point of the Cape Peninsula. Maclears beacon is a stone cairn built in 1865 and today a popular and frequently visited landmark on Table Mountain.
Table Mountain gets it’s name from it’s flat top. It is often covered by clouds formed by the south easterly wind which is known as the Table cloth, a well known feature and magnificent sighting. Over the years Table Mountain gained the name “the sleeping giant” because of its shape and structure; it literally looks looking like a sleeping giant. Back in the day the Khoi and San people use to refer to it as “Hoerikwaggo”which is translated to ‘Mountain of the Sea’.
Table Mountain is thought to be one of the oldest mountains in the world. Some rocks of the mountain are approximately 500-million years old and consist primarily of granite, graafwater rock and sandstone.
It is home to a variety of fauna and flora that are indigenous to the country. Over 2200 plant species live on Table Mountain and today plenty of flora species remain such as the rare Fynbos, which is a protected species. Table Mountain is part of the Cape Floral kingdom.
Table Mountain is home to some smaller creatures such as dassies (Rock Hyrax), rare amphibians like the Ghost Frog that are exclusively indigenous to Table Mountain, porcupine, tortoise, snakes, birds and lizards to name a few. Back in the early days, even before the 18th century, lions still prowled the mountain, as well as hippos, leopards and animals related to the buck species. In those years water supply on the mountain was plentiful. It is said that the last lion was spotted in 1802.
Table Mountain and has been recognized by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, making it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 2012 marked a memorable achievement for CT and South Africa as Table Mountain was nominated one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, and this goes without saying because it is by far one of the most beautiful features of the Western Cape South Africa and in the world. Having competed against several worldwide runner ups for the title in an international vote that brought in over 100 million votes, Table Mountain took the win coming in at 7th place for the New 7 Natural Wonders of The World.
Another thing that makes Table Mountain special is the Cableway. The cable car is one of Table Mountains’ oldest and much enjoyed experiences as it gives you the opportunity to enjoy 360 degree views that are a must for your picture collection. The cable car is loved by locals and visitors alike and has been part of the mountain’s tourist attractions with the first car tested in the early 19th century. To ensure the utmost safety of these cable cars undergo regular upgrades and service. Many hikers use the cable car as a way back down after their hike.
With a visit to Table Mountain, you will find yourself in a hikers paradise and you could also enjoy excellent mountain biking trails, taking in the breeze of nature as you leisurely pedal your way through rugged terrain. There are impressive cliffs and rock formations all around the mountain, which makes a popular rock climbing destination. There are many options for outdoor activates on Table Mountain and are regularly enjoyed by local and international visitors all year round.