With visitor numbers up by 128% year-on-year and a recovery rate of 65% compared to pre-pandemic levels, the Western Cape anticipates a bumper holiday season.
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The Mother City‘s many attractions have spent the last few months gearing up for an influx of holidaymakers from around the country and from all corners of the globe, eager to experience all that the region has to offer.
Foremost on many travellers’ itineraries is a visit to the iconic Table Mountain – the quintessential symbol of the Cape of Good Hope, and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Wahida Parker, MD of Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (TMACC), attributes the Western Cape’s strong recovery in the tourism sector to a proactive, participatory approach, as well as the determined, inclusive efforts on the part of the government, industry officials, right through to the citizens and families of Cape Town, whose friendliness and hospitality are legendary.
“We’re excited to be welcoming local and global travellers to the Western Cape once again, and we encourage them to include a visit to Table Mountain in their journeys,” she says.
“While we expect a spectacular Cape Town summer, with plenty of idyllic sunny days, the weather patterns around the mountain can be erratic,” Parker cautions.
“Additionally ongoing load shedding in South Africa can sometimes impact the operation of the cable cars. We encourage our visitors to make use of the digital portal at tablemountain.net where we will post updates on the status of the cable car, the weather conditions, and the queue lengths at the lower station.”
Cable car tickets are valid for seven days, she reminds, giving visitors enough leeway to plan their visit for a convenient time, and to avoid the busy periods with lengthy waiting times.
“And even if you do have to wait a while in a queue for this once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she says, “there’s an array of activities to explore at The Lower Station while you wait.”
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The TAP Bar is a popular eatery with the world-class fare, where you can stay hydrated and enjoy a hearty meal for your mountain adventure, and jazzy legend DJ Hilton is set to regale guests with a soulful selection of music from around the world. The visitor centre offers a stunning selection of memorabilia, keepsakes and locally made products.
At times when the Cape wind is just too strong and the cableway has to close, visitors are welcome to try the immersive new Virtual Reality Table Mountain experience which can be found here.
Surrounded by awe-inspiring vistas and abundant natural light, The Lower Station is a favourite location for photographers from around the world, offering breathtaking views of the city.
It’s a great spot to snap some timeless pictures of your unforgettable trip, and to share the incredible beauty of Cape Town with friends and family back at home, wherever that may be. We highly recommend an evening trip to see the sunset over Camps Bay and the city’s lights. The coastline transforms dramatically as the warm summer twilight settles over the Cape, creating a unique and captivating landscape.”
The more intrepid global traveller may prefer to hike to the iconic table-top summit, and there are several scenic routes available.
Platteklip Gorge is the shortest and most accessible of these trails. The Platteklip Gorge route takes about one and a half to two hours, and although the trail is not overly strenuous, the mountain is vast, so hikers must plan accordingly, a reasonable level of fitness is required. It is essential to carry sufficient water and sun protection for your hike (especially as we anticipate a very hot summer this year) as well as sustenance, proper walking shoes, clothing, and equipment. Parker adds that “hikers should travel in groups, and only hike during the daytime when visibility is good.”
“For those who want the assistance of an experienced Table Mountain hiking guide, there are also guided tours available to ensure a fun, safe hiking experience,” Parker adds. These hikes are led by qualified tour guides, who provide an in-depth look at the mountain’s history, geology, flora, and fauna, giving a unique perspective on the mountain’s many wonders as you ascend.
The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is a truly unique experience, offering something for every visitor to enjoy. Come and experience the majestic beauty and vibrant culture of Table Mountain and the Mother City this festive season.