You can’t miss Cape Town’s most recognisable landmark – in fact, most Capetonians orient themselves by it daily. Its seemingly flat-topped shape is to the Mother City what the Statue of Liberty is to New York, or the Eiffel to Paris.
Composed mostly of sandstone, this improbable wall of rock is 1 086m at its highest point, Maclear’s Beacon. The ‘table’ slopes down to the city bowl on one side and the beautiful seaside villages of Camps Bay and Clifton on the other.
Table Mountain National Park as a whole, meanwhile, extends from Signal Hill in the north all the way to Cape Point in the south, and incorporates the Cape Floral Kingdom, the world’s smallest but most biologically diverse floral kingdom.
It takes between four and eight hours to hike up and down Table Mountain, depending on your level of fitness, the route you take (try one of our top five) and how long you spend on top (once you’re up, there are free guided walks to spectacular viewpoints, leaving from the upper cable station).
Looking for a somewhat less strenuous route to the top? The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway promises spectacular bird’s-eye views of Cape Town, and has attracted more than 20 million visitors since it first opened in 1929. Once you’re on top, you can walk to various lookout points, spot dassies (rock hyraxes) or simply sit and marvel at the 360º views. Enjoy a light meal at the Table Mountain Café, canapés and cocktails at the trendy Summit Lounge, or pack your own picnic.
Adult fares are R215 return (R110 one way), kids under 18 years pay R105 return (R55 one way) and under-fours travel free. Tickets are available at the lower and upper cable stations, or buy them online via Webtickets at slightly discounted rates.
Go to www.tablemountain.net or call +27 21 424 8181 for more info.
Photography Kendall-Leigh Nash/HSMimages.co.za