Whether it is covered in a blanket of moody clouds or showing off against a crisp cloudless blue sky, Table Mountain is always a spectacular sight. It dominates the Cape Town skyline from almost every angle and with good reason, was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2011.
The City takes its mood from the Mountain and no visitor should ever return home without taking the trip to the top, usually via the cableway. After a considerable refit in 1997, the cars now carry up to 65 passengers per trip. The trip takes about five minutes and the cars rotate through 360 degrees as you go, providing spectacular views of the City and the Bay. Cars depart from the lower cable station on Tafelberg Road every 10 to 15 minutes, but you can expect a long wait during the peak season.
The Mountain is often shrouded in cloud, the famous “tablecloth”, and since one of the objectives is to enjoy the view from the top, you should take the first opportunity you get. Otherwise you run the risk that you never get a perfectly clear day. The cableway doesn’t operate if the wind is too strong or the visibility too poor, but you probably wouldn’t want to go there then anyway.
Whilst the cableway is the gentle route to the top, some people actually climb the mountain face itself! Platteklip Gorge is probably the most popular route, it is quite steep but relatively straightforward, taking between one and three hours depending on fitness level. There are other routes but none that I am qualified like to comment on! If you do decide to hike up, please go in pairs and leave enough time to get down before dark.
Once you get to the top, there is a small curio shop for a cool drink and a snack, and there are at least three easy walks you can make. You will also come across a number of large rodent like animals, usually basking in the sun on large rocks. This is the famous Dassie, otherwise known as the rock badger, an animal which is commonly believed to be the closest related relatives to the Elephant. Can you believe that?