What to expect when you’re on top of Table Mountain

There are plenty of interesting facts about Table Mountain – height, how to walk up there, the cable car –  and we (us Cape Tonians) are proud to have it included as one of the 7 Wonders of Nature but we thought you might actually like to know what it’s like on top once you get there.

What to take: warm jacket, sun-tan cream, good walking shoes, money, camera for making the most of fantastic photographic opportunities, sunglasses and water.

So lets presume you choose to take the Cable Car up (yes, you could walk, but let’s face it! The Cable Car is way more fun and a lot faster!). You’ve finally found parking along Table Mountain Road and already you are completely in awe of the views. In fact (little secret shared here) if you carry on driving about to the mid point of Table Mountain road, there’s a lonely tree and some benches and it’s ever so quite. You can just sit and take in the view! Breathtaking.

Right – so you have parked and you are headed to the queue to get to the top. We would totally recommend you pre-purchase your tickets online (or have us arrange these for you! It will mean you can fast track the queue somewhat and you just have to wait for your next cable car chariot). FYI  a ticket will set you back about R200 for adults and about R100 for children (if you’d like to book online, click here)

As you step onto the Cable Car to take you up, you suddenly become aware that you’re about to travel more than 1000m above sea level, at a speed of 10m per second (that’s a rather quick trip up to the top!) There are only three Rotair cable cars in the world: one in Switzerland, one in the United States and the cable car in South Africa. Our cableway is infact Swiss-made – it’s high-tech, full-lock coil, designed to keep moisture out while retaining internal lubrication …who knew! Thankfully, the two cable cars counterbalance each other – as one goes up, the other comes down.

You arrive at the top and step out into the wonderful sunshine (yes, in this story the sun shines and the wind has not yet picked up!) but you are immediately aware that the temperature up top is rather cold! (pack those jackets folks! You’ll need them!) There’s actually quite a hub of activity on the top of the mountain. The top of Table Mountain is flat, and the thick, white mist that often drapes it, is called the “tablecloth”. As you meander around you come across many look out points from which to take in the magnificent coastline. On a clear day you can look as far as down to Cape Point.

There’s a little restaurant called the Table Mountain Cafe where you can buy snacks, a selection of alcoholic and non alcoholic refreshments or even sit down and enjoy a light lunch.

What’s also worthy of mention is that there is so much flora and fauna, you really are in for such a treat! Our World Heritage site is the natural home to fynbos, a unique, yet endangered, collection of shrubs and plants.The Cape has the highest known concentration of plant species – 1 300 per 10 000km squared!

Once you have lapped up the views, enjoyed a relaxed cup of coffee or soaked in the sunset to a chilled glass of wine, you slowly start to consider heading back down to your parked car. You might find that you need to wait in a queue to catch the next cable car down to the bottom (and you will be eternally grateful for that jacket you chose to take along). The journey down is swift and pleasant and your walk to the car is not as long as you thought it would be.

The Cable Car is open most days, but for more information on opening times click here. It does not operate in strong winds. we do suggest you call their Information line on +27 (0)21 424 8181 to ensure that we are open on the day of your planned visit.