With the addition of Alaska and Hawaii to the Union, the geographic centre of the…
Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa. It is a significant tourist attraction, with many visitors using the cableway or hiking to the top.
We had planned to reach Table Mountain early in order to beat the crowds, but as is often the case things didn’t work out to plan.
After some research, we decided to take the hop-on-hop-off bus from Citysightseeing. We went to their shop front on Long Street in the city centre of Cape Town where we also bought tickets for the Table Mountain Cableway.
We hopped on a red route bus. The second planned stop on this route was the cable car’s base station. Along the way, we plugged into the guided tour audio guide on the bus to learn more about the area we were passing through.
I was glad we had pre-purchased the cable car tickets as there was a large queue of people waiting to buy tickets. It didn’t take long for us to be standing in the station waiting for the car to arrive. The cars were large and could get about 65 people in them comfortably. Most people crowded around the outside, we preferred to be a little way in! The car set off and we were soon treated to spectacular views of Cape Town and the ocean beyond. One of the nice things about the cable car at Table Mountain is that it rotates as it moves, so without having to squeeze around to get a different view you stand in one place and the views come to you!
It didn’t take long to reach the top station.
Table Mountain rises 1,084.6 m (3,558 ft) above Cape Town, it is the city’s most famous landmark and the most visited tourist attraction in South Africa, drawing around 4.2 million visitors annually. The plateau, flanked by Devil’s Peak to the east and by Lion’s Head to the west, forms a dramatic backdrop to Cape Town. The top of the mountain is a National Park and has about 2,200 species of plants found on Table Mountain and 1470 floral species. Many of these plants and flowers are endemic to this mountain.
You can hike your way to the top and there are several routes up. Some are easier than others, but they are all steep and require a degree of fitness. There are some trails that will require a bit of scrambling. Getting up will take one to three hours.
Most people, like us, chose to take the cable car, which has carried 24 million visitors since it first opened in 1929. Significantly revamped in 1997, the cable cars now carry up to 65 passengers per trip. The cars depart from the lower station (and consequently the top station) every 10 to 15 minutes and the journey takes It is good to check whether the cableway is running before you set out as it doesn’t operate if the wind is too strong or the visibility too poor. We had no such issues when we visited!a
You are treated to some of the most amazing views as soon as you get out of the cab. It was a gorgeous day, with clear blue skies, although we could see below us that some areas of Cape Town, especially down by the shoreline had a sea mist covering them.
On top of Table Mountain are trails that take you around, giving you different views out towards Lions Head, along the range of sandstone mountains heading south, with a series of peaks called the twelve apostles and outwards the towns of the Western Cape.
Visiting Table Mountains is not all about the views, although they are pretty good, the fauna on the mountain is stunning, with a wide variety of plants and flowers. Things get quite blustery on top of the mountains so most of the plants are ground-hugging. We spent about 90 minutes walking around the paths, taking lots of pictures.
Planning your visit to Table Mountain
Public Transport – The MyCiTi Bus
Do the right thing for the planet and your pocket. The Cableway can be reached by public transport. The MyCiTi bus route that runs from Camps Bay stops at the top of Kloof Nek Road (route number 106 and 107), (Civic Centre / Camps Bay). The bus departs from the Civic Centre in Hertzog Boulevard. There are a number of MyCiTi bus stops in the city centre.
Every passenger needs their own myconnect card loaded with money/MyCiTi points, except for children under four years old and less than one metre tall, who travel free. Cash is not accepted on the buses.
City Sightseeing’s Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus
A quick and easy way to reach the Cableway is on the City Sightseeing bus. This “hop-on, hop-off” service runs every 20 minutes and stops at other major tourist attractions in Cape Town.
It’s a 90-minute round trip that starts at the Two Oceans Aquarium, passing the Clock Tower at the V&A Waterfront and the Cape Town International Convention Centre, before heading up Adderley Street, stopping at City Sightseeing’s Long Street tour office. From there the bus continues directly to the Cableway. You can also get your cable car tickets directly from their offices or bus drivers.
|Classic One-day ticket: R220|
|Premier Two-day ticket: R320|
Meter taxis are available for hire across the city centre. You can either flag down a taxi or call one of the numerous taxi companies. They charge per kilometre, and this can vary from R10 to R20 per kilometre.
Tip: you can negotiate a price with some drivers, and it is a good idea to ask for an estimate before you get in.
Uber or Bolt
Uber and Bolt operate in Cape Town, and anyone who has installed the iOS or Android app can use the private-driver service to get to the Cableway. uberBlack, uberX (slightly cheaper) as well as Bolt XL and Bolt Go (slightly cheaper) options are available.
|Hours:||01 Feb – 30 Apr: First Car up: 08:00 Last Car Down: 19:30|
01 May – 31 Aug: First Car up: 08:30 Last Car Down: 17:001 Sep – 15 Dec: First Car up: 08:30 Last Car Down: 19:30
16 Dec – 15 Jan: First Car up: 08:00 Last Car Down: 21:00
16 Jan – 31 Jan: First Car up: 08:00 Last Car Down: 20:30
|Fees:||Adults: R220 One Way, R340 Return Under 18: R120 One Way, R195 Return|
Best time to visit Cape Town
The best times to visit Cape Town are from March to May and from September to November. These shoulder seasons boast enviable weather, fewer crowds, and lower prices. When planning your trip, it’s important to note that the seasons here are reversed: South Africa’s summer corresponds with America’s winter, and vice versa. That said, Cape Town’s summer is the most popular (and most expensive) time to visit. Hotels and attractions are usually overflowing with travellers. Meanwhile, the Mother City clears out between June and August when chilly weather and frequent rainfall put a damper on tourist activities.
Other places to visit while in Cape Town
1. VICTORIA & ALFRED WATERFRONT
The V&A Waterfront is an iconic 123-hectare neighbourhood which welcomes millions of people from all over the continent and world. We celebrate heritage & diversity, champion art & design, support entrepreneurship & innovation & drive positive social, economic & environment.
2. ROBBEN ISLAND
Robben Island was used at various times between the 17th and 20th centuries as a prison, a hospital for socially unacceptable groups and a military base. Its buildings, particularly those of the late 20th century such as the maximum security prison for political prisoners, witness the triumph of democracy and freedom over oppression and racism.
The Bo-Kaap is an area of Cape Town, South Africa formerly known as the Malay Quarter. It is a former racially segregated area, situated on the slopes of Signal Hill above the city centre and is a historical centre of Cape Malay culture in Cape Town.
3. KIRSTENBOSCH BOTANICAL GARDENS
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch, against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain.
Where to stay Cape Town
1. LUXURY – ATLANTIC VIEW CAPE TOWN BOUTIQUE HOTEL
Atlanticview Cape Town is a privately owned intimate 5-Star Boutique Hotel. It’s perfectly located close to all the main tourist attractions, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain in Fashionable Camps Bay, “The South African Corniche”, packed with world-class restaurants, bars and beaches. The hotel is accessible to the Beaches (2 min), Table Mountain (5 min) Down Town or V+A Waterfront shopping Centre (10 min) and Cape Town International Airport (20 min). The Cape of Good Hope, Penguin Colony and Cape Winelands are less than an hour away.
The hotel has commanding 180-degree magnificent views sweeping from the top of Table Mountain and The Twelve Apostles range that disappears into the sea. It is truly the perfect place to holiday, honeymoon or simply take a break for a romantic weekend. This beautiful property is situated alongside a greenbelt/nature reserve in very quiet surroundings. It is far enough from the noisy crowds of the promenade but close enough to enjoy the beaches, bars and restaurants with spectacular views in all directions.
2. MID RANGE – ANCHOR BAY GUEST HOUSE
Anchor Bay Guest House is nestled on the slopes of Table Mountain within walking distance from the famous restaurants and nightlife of Sea Point. Less than 3.5 km away is the CBD of Cape Town, Cape Town Stadium, and of course, the extraordinary V&A Waterfront – a world-famous working harbour with many speciality restaurants, shops, boutiques, boat cruises, ferries to Robben Island, an aquarium and much more.
3. UNIQUE – THE GRAND DADDY
The Mother City’s most original, convenient and fun place to stay! The luxurious Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel on Long Street bustles with energy.
As well as standard rooms the Grand Daddy has an airstream trailer park on its rooftop. The seven original Airstream trailers each have their own decor theme and collectively reflect a typical South African road trip. Authentic Airstream trailers are incredible works of craftsmanship and their classic shape is unforgettably iconic.
4. BUDGET – LONG STREET BACKPACKERS
Accurately described as “The Soul of Long Street” (Lonely Planet, 2011), this famous hostel is the epicentre of action on Cape Town’s most vibrant street. There are literally hundreds of eating, drinking and entertainment options right on the doorstep.
Sleeping up to 80 guests, this hostel features a lush internal courtyard that’s perfect for braais, ping-pong, chilling, and meeting fellow travellers. The iconic brick building also boasts two large, sun-drenched balconies, with views of Long Street and Signal Hill. There are dormitory-style accommodations, as well as single, twin, and double private rooms, all with shared bathrooms. There is a TV room with satellite TV, a pool table, a well-stocked communal kitchen, and fibre-speed WIFI.