You’ll be surprised to learn that before the cableway to the top of Table Mountain was created, a railway line was proposed. In 1870, plans to build the railway were halted when the Anglo-Boer War broke out, and in 1926 new plans under the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (TMACC) were submitted and approved.

The construction process was treacherous and difficult as materials, as well as the workers, had to be ferried to the top pf the mountain in an open box contraption on a temporary rope line. It is astounding that no injuries or deaths occurred during the two year construction period.

The construction of the Cableway.

The project was completed in 1929 by Norwegian engineer Trygve Stromsoe and the cableway made its maiden voyage up the mountain on October 4, 1929. The first cablecar could just about carry 19 passengers and was made of wood and steel – a stark contrast to the current car which boasts a 360° view from a revolving floor, which can carry 65 people.

The first cableway could carry 19 people.

It was upgraded again when new owners took over the TMACC in 1993 and in 1997 after a serious overhaul in design, the shiny new cableway was unveiled. To date, the cableway has transported over 27-million people to the top of Table Mountain and remains the most sought-after adventure for visitors to the Cape.

These days, it takes around four to five minutes to reach the top and if you’re a local you can enjoy a free ride on your birthday.

 

The upgrade after the first cableway.

 

The Table Mountain aerial cable way station in 1990.

 

Pictures: Table Mountain Cableway and Gallo Images

Article written by

Nidha Narrandes

Nidha Narrandes is a food-obsessed travel addict with 19 years of journalism experience. She is happiest on a road to nowhere without a plan. A masterchef at home, she can't do without chilli - because chilli makes the world a tastier place.