Information About Table Mountain | All There is to Know (2022)

A visit to Cape Town wouldn’t be complete without a trip up to Table Mountain. Whether you’re just on a short getaway to Cape Town or on a wider overland Africa trip, make sure to add Table Mountain to your list. Table Mountain is Cape Town’s number one attraction; boasting panoramic views of the city, lion’s head, and the never-ending deep-navy ocean. Here’s all the essential information about Table Mountain that you need to know before you pay a visit.

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Table of Contents

  • 1 Information about Table Mountain
  • 2 How to get to Table Mountain
  • 3 Entrance cost to Table Mountain
  • 4 Table Mountain cable car
  • 5 Other tips and information about Table Mountain
  • 6 Where to stay in Cape Town
  • 7 Essential resources for travelling in South Africa

Information about Table Mountain

Table Mountain derives its name from its unusual flat-top shape. It is one of just 12 flat-top mountains around the world. Cape Town’s top attraction, standing at over 3,500 feet tall, is thought to be over 600 million years old. In 1929 the cable car system was brought to the mountain to make easy access for visitors. Today, the cable car is a popular alternative to reach the top, in comparison to the strenuous and steep rocky hike.

Once visitors reach the top, they are greeted with a 2-mile leisurely walk from one end of the mountain to the other. On this leisurely walk, visitors can see out to the stunning Atlantic Ocean and vibrant Cape Town city. Lion’s Head and Signal Hill are in view too. As you stroll around, make sure to look out for the distinct range of plants and wildlife that inhabit the mountain top. Table Mountain is home to over 2,000 species of flora.

In December of 2012, Table Mountain was announced as one of the official 7 Wonder of Nature. It is the only one on the list in an urban surrounding.

(Video) Story of Table Mountain

Information About Table Mountain | All There is to Know (2)

The legend of the table cloth

Devil’s Peak gets its name from the local folk tale. It goes like this. A Dutchman, called Jan Van Hunks, lived at the foot of Devil’s Peak and loved to smoke a pipe. So much so, his wife would regularly expel him from the home because of the amount of smoke he would generate throughout the house. He would then climb the mountain and smoke by himself.

One day, on the peak of Table Mountain, he encountered a mysterious cloaked man smoking a pipe. They each bragged about how much they could smoke, which quickly turned into a pipe-smoking contest. Puff after puff, the men created clouds of smoke surrounding the tip of the mountain. Eventually, the smoke was so thick that Jan Van Hunks could no longer see the mysterious man in front of him.

By the time the smoke dissipated, the mysterious man was lying unconscious. The hood from his cloak was removed, revealing 2 horns on his head. It was then Jan Van Hunks realised he had defeated the devil himself. Legend has it, that when a thick cloth of smoke covers the mountain (known as the table cloth), the devil is practising his pipe-smoking techniques, eagerly awaiting a rematch with Jan Van Hunks.

Information About Table Mountain | All There is to Know (3)

How to get to Table Mountain

There are several ways to reach Table Mountain. As it’s one of the top attractions in Cape Town, along with , there is no shortage of transport and tours that are running daily to the attraction.

Public bus & free shuttle – You can take the MyCiti bus that runs from the V&A Waterfront and stops at the top of Klood Nek Road. From there you can hop onto the free shuttle that will take you to the lower cable car station. The free shuttle service stops running at 7 pm.

City Sightseeing bus – The City Sightseeing bus offers routes that include a stop at Table Mountain. If you have purchased a hop-on hop-off pass, make sure to use it to get there. This will save you money on a tour. Day passes for the City Sightseeing bus start at 220 Rand ($11.87).

(Video) Cape Town’s Table Mountain, Explained

Taxi – Sometimes it is just easier and quicker to hop into a taxi. If you choose to take a taxi, we recommend ordering an Uber. Uber is safe, reliable, and you know how much it will cost before getting into the car. We opted for an Uber from 91Loop Hostel and it cost just 55 Rand ($2.97) to the lower cable car station.

Entrance cost to Table Mountain

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Hiking up Table Mountain is FREE, but you will need a good level of fitness and stamina for the hike. The most popular and direct hike route is the Platteklip Gorge Path. This route should take around 2 hours to reach the top. Check here for more information on different hikes!

If a hike isn’t for you, like it wasn’t for us, then you can simply save yourself some leg-ache and emotional drain of the steep hike by taking the cable car up within 5 minutes. You can opt to buy tickets for the cable car online on the official Table Mountain website, or buy your tickets at the ticket counter. During peak season, it may be better to buy your tickets in advance to avoid the crowds, but we went in June (winter) and there were only a few people in line to buy tickets.

Ticket prices include amenities that are available at the upper cable car station; a free guided walking tour, an audio tour, and free wi-fi access at the lounge and cafe.

Table Mountain cable car

After purchasing your tickets, you will need to go through the turnstile where a member of staff will scan your ticket. You will then simply need to wait for up to 10 minutes for the next car to arrive. There are no seats in the cable car, so be prepared to stand and be squished by the herds that are rushing to rub their nose up against the windows for the views. No need to worry though, if you’re not one of the select few to get a window view in the circular car, the views are better at the top anyway, and the ride only takes 5-minutes before reaching the top.

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Other tips and information about Table Mountain

Check for updates on the official site

Before making the trip to Table Mountain make sure to check for any updates on the official website. The running of the cable car is weather permitting. If it’s too windy or cloudy, the cable car will not be in operation.

Choose a clear day

The whole point of going to Table Mountain is for the breathtaking views once you reach the top. Make sure to choose a clear day, there is no point in going if all you can see are thick dark clouds.

(Video) The Ghosts of Table Mountain.

Decide if you want to go in the morning or afternoon

The cable car ticket only permits one ride up and one ride down. Unfortunately, this leaves visitors with the choice of admiring the sunrise over the city or watching as the skies turn pink during sunset. We opted to go in the morning, as there were no clouds and we didn’t want to risk clouds rolling in later in the afternoon.

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Wrap up in winter

Wintertime at the top of Table Mountain is FREEZING! You must know what to pack for a trip to South Africa. It may feel like the sun is beating lightly down on you when you are on the ground, but once you get up there, expect to feel like your fingers and toes have got frostbite. We truly wish we had a pair of gloves and a hat. We would have spent much longer up there if we had.

See also Swaziland to Durban | How to Make the Journey Overland

Get creative with photos but remember safety first

There are tons of lookouts and photo opportunities. However, remember that nothing is more important than your safety; not even a cool selfie! We saw way too many people standing close to the edge, and one big gust of wind could’ve been the difference between life and death.

Don’t forget water if you’re hiking

If you choose to hike up the mountain, make sure to bring plenty of water to avoid dehydration. There are no shops or cafes along the way. Once you start the hike, the next chance you will have to replenish will be at the cafe located at the top of the mountain.

Want more mountain mania? Check out the mystical Tianmen Mountain in China!

Where to stay in Cape Town

91 Loop Boutique Hostel – The city has tons of hotels and hostels for everyone’s needs, but 91 Loop has to be the best place to stay in Cape Town. They offer all types of rooms; dorms, male dorms, female dorms, and private rooms. They even offer pod-style dorms that make for the perfect mix between a social environment and a private space. They also have a bar and games area downstairs too, meaning you never need to leave the hostel if you don’t want to.

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(Video) The 5 Dams Of Table Mountain/Table Mountain Hike 2022 Cape Town

Essential resources for travelling in South Africa

Travel Insurance – No matter where you’re travelling to, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re covered for any accidents or losses. We spent days and weeks searching for insurance, but most insurers would not allow us to take out a policy as we were already abroad. Our personal choice is Safteywing. You can opt for automatic monthly payments, just like a subscription. More importantly, it is available in 180 countries and can be purchased whilst already travelling. There is no cap on the duration of travel.

Visa – Before you travel to any country, make sure to check if you need a visa. iVisa is a fantastic website that is super easy and quick to use. Just type in where you are from. and where you are going. to check if you need a visa. If you do, you can quickly make an application online.

AccommodationBooking.com is our go-to when looking to pre-book accommodation online. Booking.com tend to almost always have the best rates and have a FREE cancellation policy for most properties.

Tours & activities – If you want to book tours and activities online, make sure to check out Get Your Guide. Get Your Guide takes the stress out of booking activities abroad. You will also find a range of benefits, such as skip the line passes, lunch included in your tours, and so much more.

Travel tips ebook -Before you head off on your adventure, make sure to download our free ebook. It has a whopping 109 budget travel tips to help you make your hard-earned cash go further. Click here to download your FREE ebook.

Make cash on the road – If you’re on a long trip, you may want to start earning whilst on the road. One way to do this is to teach English online. One of our favourite companies for this is Palfish, as the schedule is super flexible. You can open and close slots, as and when you choose, meaning you don’t have to commit to the same days and hours each week. Just make sure you are TEFL certified to apply!

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FAQs

Information About Table Mountain | All There is to Know? ›

Map of Maclear's Beacon

Did you know facts about Table Mountain? ›

Table Mountain is featured on Cape Town's flag and on the City's logo; Table Mountain got its name because of its flat top; The highest point of Table Mountain is 1 086m (3 563 feet) above sea level. It's called Maclear's Beacon after the man who built a stone cairn at the site in 1865.

What made Table Mountain famous? ›

Table Mountain is perhaps best known for its flat top which, because it resembles a table top, has garnered the mountain its now famous name. The largest cave is the Wynberg Cave, a cavernous crack which runs alongside one of the mountain's small rift valleys.

How Table Mountain got its name? ›

For those who don't know, Table Mountain got its name for its uncanny resemblance to a table. And the man who first made the connection was Portuguese explorer, Antonio de Saldanha. In 1503, he became the first white man to hike up Table Mountain and named it Taboa do Cabo – Table of the Cape.

What is inside Table Mountain? ›

The mountain has 8,200 plant species, of which around 80% are fynbos, meaning fine bush. It forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, and part of the lands formerly ranged by Khoe-speaking clans, such as the !Uriǁʼaes (the "High Clan"). It is home to a large array of mostly endemic fauna and flora.

What animals are found on Table Mountain? ›

The most common mammal on the mountains is the dassie or rock hyrax, and Table Mountain is also home to porcupines, mongooses, snakes, lizards, tortoises, and a rare endemic species of amphibian that is only found here: the Table Mountain ghost frog.

How long is the top of Table Mountain? ›

Flanked by Devil's Peak and Lion's Head, Table Mountain makes up the northern end of the Cape Fold Mountain range. It's hard to imagine, but the mountain's distinctive flat top – a three-kilometre level plateau – was once the bottom of a valley!

Who is the owner of Table Mountain? ›

Riaan Vorster - Owner - Hike Table Mountain | LinkedIn.

Why is Table Mountain flat on top? ›

Around 300 million years ago the mountain was still at sea level during an ice age and ice sheets flattened the layers of sandstone creating the flat surface that today we call the 'Table Top'. When the continents split apart, stresses and pressures built up in the earth's crust.

Who Discovered Table Mountain? ›

Dutch settlers Jan van Riebeeck and his crew found the prestigious Table Mountain an incredible sight when they arrived in the Cape during the 1600's.

How old is the Table Mountain? ›

-It calls one of the oldest mountains home: Yes, Table Mountain at 1067m above sea level and about 360 million years old, is eons older than the Himalayas and the Rockies. – It's an eco-diva: Responsible Tourism lies at the heart of all that the Cableway does.

How tall is the Table Mountain? ›

Why is Table Mountain one of the 7 Wonders of the World? ›

De Lille described Table Mountain as “a symbol of permanence in a world that is full of change. It is a symbol of the heritage that we are privileged to have. And it is a symbol that reminds us that we are privileged enough to live in an incredible country with incredible assets, giving us hope for the future.”

How much is a cable car ticket? ›

Ticket prices
Ticket TypeTimeReturn
Morning: Adults8am – 1pmR390
Morning: Kids (4 – 17 years)8am – 1pmR190
Afternoon: Adults1pm – until closeR320
Afternoon: Kids (4 – 17 years)1pm – until closeR160
2 more rows

What attracts Table Mountain tourists? ›

Its flat summit, breathtaking views and natural beauty make it immensely popular, attracting South Africans and tourists from around the world eager to reach its summit. No trip to Cape Town is complete without going up Table Mountain, so check out this inside guide on everything there is to know about Table Mountain.

How Table Mountain got its cloud? ›

Its flat tabletop is a result of nature as is its unusual cloud cover. The latter is caused by the South Easter winds and is often referred to as a tablecloth.

Are there lions on Table Mountain? ›

Back in the 1800's and before that, Table Mountain was no stranger to big animals like lions, antelope, and hippos. They started fading as years went by, with the last lion spotted on the mountain is approximately 1802.

How many table mountains are there in the world? ›

Fifteen unique table mountains. With its unique layer sequence of different rocks stacked on top of each other, the plateau mountains tell the story of the earth during 150 million years.

What happened to the zebras on Table Mountain? ›

The Cape mountain zebra is still around – just – but its cousin – a half-striped zebra called the Kwagga – was gone by the turn of the 20th century. This animal's whistling call “kwagga kwagga” used to ring out over what are now the wheat fields and vineyards of the Cape Winelands but were once teeming grasslands.

Is it safe to climb Table Mountain? ›

There have been violent attacks on hikers and tourists on Table Mountain. Take care in quieter areas of the Park, especially early in the morning or just before the park closes. '

Is Table Mountain a volcano? ›

Geological Summary

Table Mountain, an andesitic stratovolcano at the NW corner of Lassen National Park, is an andesitic stratovolcano active about 1-2 million years ago.

How much does it cost to climb Table Mountain? ›

Just like hiking up Lion's Head to walk up Table Mountain is free. There is no admission fee for Table Mountain except if you walk up from Kirstenbosch (on the Skeleton Gorge trail), then you pay ZAR 75/US$5 entrance fee to the Botanical garden.

How much does the cable car cost at Table Mountain? ›

Pre-buy your Table Mountain Cableway ticket from the driver before you reach the mountain (at stop 1 outside Two Oceans Aquarium, stop 5 at 81 Long Street or stop 8 on Victoria Road, Camps Bay) and skip the queue at the Cableway ticket office. Adult return: R290, children return: R140 (4–17 years).

How long is the cable car up Table Mountain? ›

The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is a cable car transportation system offering visitors a five-minute ride to the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

Is Table Mountain private or public? ›

Table Mountain National Park, previously known as the Cape Peninsula National Park, is a national park in Cape Town, South Africa, proclaimed on 29 May 1998, for the purpose of protecting the natural environment of the Table Mountain Chain, and in particular the rare fynbos vegetation.

How long does it take to climb Table Mountain? ›

A half-day hike on Table Mountain covers a distance of three kilometres on average and takes approximately three hours to complete. A full-day Table Mountain hike covers about five kilometres and takes around five hours to complete.

What is the best time to go up Table Mountain? ›

The best time to visit Table Mountain is from October to March, the dry summer. The perfect daytime is in the morning before it gets busy and too hot. Either take the first cable car (8:00 am / 8:30) or start hiking early.

Is there a beach on top of Table Mountain? ›

But did you know that there is a beach on top of the world renowned Table Mountain? It is called Skeleton Gorge Beach.

What is the oldest mountain in the world? ›

The Barbertown Greenstone Belt (3.6 Billion Years)

Generally speaking, South Africa and the Americas are home to some of the oldest mountain ranges on Earth. The Barbertown Greenstone Belt, or Makhonjwa Mountains is the very oldest mountain range in the world.

What is the history of Table Mountain? ›

The original name for Table Mountain was “Hoerikwaggo” meaning “Mountain in the Sea”, given to it by the Khoisan. This later changed when, in 1503, Portuguese explorer, Antonio de Saldanha, hiked the mountain (the first recorded hike in history) and renamed it Tabao de Cabo (“table of the Cape”).

Who Discovered Table Mountain? ›

Dutch settlers Jan van Riebeeck and his crew found the prestigious Table Mountain an incredible sight when they arrived in the Cape during the 1600's.

How tall is the Table Mountain? ›

What kind of mountain is Table Mountain? ›

Table Mountain, Afrikaans Tafelberg, flat-topped mountain in southwestern South Africa, overlooking Cape Town and Table Bay and dominating the northern end of the high, rocky Cape Peninsula. Its tabular shape results from nearly horizontal layers of sandstone exposed by vigorous wind and water erosion.

Why is Table Mountain flat on top? ›

Around 300 million years ago the mountain was still at sea level during an ice age and ice sheets flattened the layers of sandstone creating the flat surface that today we call the 'Table Top'. When the continents split apart, stresses and pressures built up in the earth's crust.

Why is Table Mountain one of the 7 Wonders of the World? ›

De Lille described Table Mountain as “a symbol of permanence in a world that is full of change. It is a symbol of the heritage that we are privileged to have. And it is a symbol that reminds us that we are privileged enough to live in an incredible country with incredible assets, giving us hope for the future.”

How Table Mountain got its cloud? ›

Its flat tabletop is a result of nature as is its unusual cloud cover. The latter is caused by the South Easter winds and is often referred to as a tablecloth.

Is Table Mountain a volcano? ›

Geological Summary

Table Mountain, an andesitic stratovolcano at the NW corner of Lassen National Park, is an andesitic stratovolcano active about 1-2 million years ago.

What can you see from Table Mountain? ›

There are 360-degree views of the entire Cape Peninsula. You can see the stunning beaches around Clifton and Camps Bay, the Table Mountain range, the City Bowl, the harbour and Waterfront, and the unspolit wilderness of the Table Mountain National Park—all just by turning your head.

How many table mountains are there in the world? ›

Fifteen unique table mountains. With its unique layer sequence of different rocks stacked on top of each other, the plateau mountains tell the story of the earth during 150 million years.

How long does it take to climb Table Mountain? ›

A half-day hike on Table Mountain covers a distance of three kilometres on average and takes approximately three hours to complete. A full-day Table Mountain hike covers about five kilometres and takes around five hours to complete.

Where is Table Mountain found? ›

Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town, South Africa is unique in the world in that it is almost entirely located in a rich and vibrant metropolitan area. Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town, South Africa represents part of the smallest and richest floral kingdom in the world.

Is there a beach on top of Table Mountain? ›

But did you know that there is a beach on top of the world renowned Table Mountain? It is called Skeleton Gorge Beach.

What are table top mountains called? ›

A tepui /ˈtɛpwi/, or tepuy (Spanish: [teˈpuj]), is a table-top mountain or mesa found in South America, especially in Venezuela and western Guyana. The word tepui means "house of the gods" in the native tongue of the Pemon, the indigenous people who inhabit the Gran Sabana.

What is the oldest mountain in the world? ›

The Barbertown Greenstone Belt (3.6 Billion Years)

Generally speaking, South Africa and the Americas are home to some of the oldest mountain ranges on Earth. The Barbertown Greenstone Belt, or Makhonjwa Mountains is the very oldest mountain range in the world.

How much is a cable car ticket? ›

Ticket prices
Ticket TypeTimeReturn
Morning: Adults8am – 1pmR390
Morning: Kids (4 – 17 years)8am – 1pmR190
Afternoon: Adults1pm – until closeR320
Afternoon: Kids (4 – 17 years)1pm – until closeR160
2 more rows

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