Table Mountain Cape Town
Over the years, the image of Table Mountain has become one of South Africa's most famous landmarks. This picturesque sandstone plateau rises up to a height of 1085 meters above sea level. The top is approximately 3 km wide and the surrounding mountain side is home to an immense diversity of fauna and flora. The unique shape of the mountain with its flat top makes it very distinguishable from the surrounding mountains and the magnificent sight of the towering blue mountain can be seen from virtually anywhere in Cape Town, further enhancing this cosmopolitan city's beauty.
For many, the Table Mountain experience is simply about getting to the top. The breathtaking views of the bay and of the city are hard to beat and the whole experience gives you the feeling of being on top of the world. Once at the top, you will be able to purchase refreshments, enjoy a meal or even send a postcard to a relative. Or you can enjoy some of the short mountain top walks and get more familiar with the local flora. The local dassies (rock hyrax) are quite friendly and will take tidbits from visitors. It should be remembered, however, that this curious little creature is wild and attempting to touch or cuddle the creatures is not recommended as they may retaliate out of fear.
Getting there is another part of the experience. Most people take the revolving cable car up the side of the mountain. The cableway was opened in 1929 and it carries approximately 600 000 people to the top of the mountain every year. You may need to pre-book if attempting to ride the cable car during the holiday season. If you would prefer a more adventuresome way up the mountain, there are over 100 scenic ways to get to the top. Walking and rock climbing are very popular but are also very challenging. Whatever you choose, remember to take a jacket as temperatures at this height can be somewhat extreme and can also change very suddenly. If you have a choice, the best time to make your way up the mountain is when it is clear and sunny. However the thick, curling layer of cloud - Table Mountain's 'table cloth' - can descend at any time and usually does so within a matter of mere minutes.
Once back at the foot of the mountain, you may be prompted to explore some of the mountains amazing diversity. Here you will find approximately 1470 plant species as well as a vast array of natural wildlife. Some of the wildlife, such as the Table Mountain Ghost Frog, is unique to this geographical wonder and is not found anywhere else in the world. The area surrounding the foot of the mountain has been designated as a wildlife reserve. Walking trails, mountain biking routes and a few car trails are available to help the public gain access to this truly phenomenal natural paradise. Kloof Nek, Lion's Head and Signal Hill make for some superb sight seeing opportunities and Signal Hill has an interesting historical side to it as well.
Truly, no trip to South Africa would be complete without a visit to Cape Town and the splendid Table Mountain.