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Cape Town’s Table Mountain sits majestically in the background – to be marveled at in its enormity on clear days and in wonder on overcast days when the South Easter winds create the ‘tablecloth,’ shrouding the plateaued top in clouds. But the best way to experience one of the most famous mountains in Africa is from the top of it.
The Table Mountain elevation at the plateau is 3500ft (1,067m) – and the view from Table Mountain is simply spectacular. Visitors to Cape Town, South Africa can complete a strenuous Table Mountain hike – or swiftly arrive to the plateau using the Table Mountain Cable Car.
History Of Cape Town’s Table Mountain
Table Mountain was formed 520 million years ago – making it 6 times older than the Himalayas. Table Mountain has a history of inhabitants that stretches back 2000 years – but it was in 1503 that the first European climbed the mountain and named it Table of the Cape. In the late 1700s, the British built three blockhouses on the mountain.
In the early 1900s, five dams were built on the mountain (with the help of the steam engine train that carried materials across the plateau) to provide Cape Town with water. In 1929, the first Table Mountain cableway opened, which ran until it was overhauled in 1997. In the 1930s, there was a campaign to establish a national park, but it wasn’t until 1998 that South African President Nelson Mandela created Cape Peninsula National Park.
Many fires have raged on the mountain – the most notable in recent times in 1986, 1991, 2006 and 2015. Table Mountain is part of what is now known as the Table Mountain National Park – and the range extends to the southern end of the cape. It’s also included as part of the Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site and, in 2011, it was added to the list of New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Table Mountain Cable Car or Table Mountain Hike?
There are many Table Mountain activities, but most visitors either choose walking up Table Mountain or riding the table top mountain cable car. There are several Table Mountain hike routes that lead to the top, but we were a little uncertain about hiking Table Mountain without a guide (more on Table Mountain guided hikes at the end of the article).
Although Table Mountain routes are clearly shown on the Table Mountain hiking trails map, we felt the hike exceeded our level of comfort – as we had not packed hiking gear for our trip. The Cape Town Table Mountain cable car provides an easy and quick way to the top…no trekking gear required!
Table Mountain Cableway Facts
Before you go to the cable car to Table Mountain in Cape Town, there are a few things you should know.
Table Mountain Cable Car Prices
Table Mountain prices for the cable car depend on several factors – including time of day, age of visitor and single ride/roundtrip. Note: The Table Mountain entrance fees stated are valid from October 2023 to September 2024.
The Cable Car Cape Town prices for an adult roundtrip ticket in the morning (from 8:00am to 1:00pm) costs 420 rand (about $22 USD) and are the most expensive Table Mountain cableway tickets sold. In the afternoon (1pm to close), the adult price is reduced to 320 rand (about $19 USD). A one-way ticket for the cable car up Table Mountain (or just down) is 240 rand (about $13 USD) regardless of time of day. The rate for a child (age 4 to 17) roundtrip ticket in the morning is 210 rand and in the afternoon is 180 rand. A Cape Town cable way one-way ticket for children is 130 rand. Children under 4 years of age ride for free and there are also reduced rates for seniors.
Cable Car Table Mountain Specials
In the summer months (November to February), visitors can purchase a ticket for the Table Mountain cable car sunset special. Roundtrip tickets are half-price after 6:00pm.
Table Mountain Tickets Online
To make a Table Mountain cable car booking, tickets should be purchased online. Tickets are valid for 7 days from the date chosen and can be refunded within those 7 days via credit card if not used.
Cable Car Table Mountain Opening Times
The cable car operating hours varies by season, with the first car up at either 8:00am or 8:30am and the last car coming down at 6:00pm (at the height of winter) or at 9:30pm (at the height of summer).
How To Get To Table Mountain Cape Town
The Table Mountain cableway can be reached by car, public bus, tour bus or private tour. If using public transport, check the Table Mountain bus schedule. The City Sightseeing Cape Town Tour Bus makes several stops at Table Mountain daily – learn more about the bus as an ideal option for Cape Town visitor transportation!
Table Mountain Weather
The weather at Cape Town Table Mountain can change quickly – and drastically! It can be clear and sunny in the city and the mountain can be covered in clouds. Wind can cause the Table Mountain cableway to stop running without too much warning. For the best view from Table Mountain, you want to be sure to visit on a clear day. You can view the Table Mountain live webcam but still check current weather forecasts in advance.
Table Mountain Pictures: 9 Best Views From Table Mountain
The Table Mountain Plateau has numerous trails that allow visitors to take in the vistas from various viewpoints. Plan to spend a couple of hours at the top. We took these 9 images of Table Mountain, Cape Town on the clearest day during our visit to Cape Town, South Africa in November.
#1 Below The Table Mountain Cable Car
The Table Mountain cableway cars can carry 65 people per car up the mountain in a quick 5-minute ride.
#2 View From Table Mountain To Camps Bay
Looking down on the white, powdery sand of Camps Bay. One of the best beaches in Cape Town!
#3 Cape Town City Views From Table Mountain
View from Table Mountain to the Cape Town Stadium, V&A Waterfront Harbor and Cape Town CBD.
#4 View Of Devil’s Peak From Table Mountain Plateau
The name, Devil’s Peak, originates from folklore. According to legend, Van Hunk, a pirate, was smoking his pipe on the mountain when he encountered a man who challenged him to a smoking contest. It turns out, the man was the Devil and every time the mountain is covered in the ‘tablecloth’ the two are battling each other.
#5 View Of Lion’s Head And Signal Hill From Table Mountain Plateau
Looking at Lion’s Head (left peak) to Signal hill, with Cape Town in the foreground and Sea Point in the background. Robben Island can be seen in the distance.
#6 View From Table Mountain To Hout Bay
The southern viewpoint from the plateau features views to Hout Bay and beyond. On a clear day you can even see some of the Chapman’s Peak Drive.
#7 View Of The 12 Apostles Mountain Cape Town
The 12 Apostles mountain range extends south from Table Mountain along the stunning western coastline. This Table Mountain view is absolutely stunning and was our favorite spot!
#8 Table Mountain Dassies
Small, gopher-like Dassies are often spotted sunning themselves on the rocks of the Table Mountain plateau. Interesting fact: Although they are small creatures, they are a relative of the African Elephant.
#9 Table Mountain Lizards
Cape Town Tours Of Table Mountain
There are many Cape Town excursions that lead visitors to the top of Table Mountain. Visitors interested in guided Table Mountain walks to the plateau can choose from several routes up Table Mountain and half- or full- day guided Table Mountain hiking tours.
We researched Table Mountain hiking tours and found these highly-rated tours – you just need to decide how long you want to hike Table Mountain and on which Table Mountain walking routes!
Private Table Mountain Guided Hike – Enjoy a private hike with a professional guide on a tour that fits your fitness level and interests. The guide will tailor the tour to the Table Mountain walking trails that best fit your needs. Find out more!
Table Mountain 4-Hour Hiking Adventure – Hike the India Venster trail (one of the most popular Table Mountain hiking routes) with a guide who will help you use your hands and feet to scurry up the mountain. From the top, take the easy way down in the Table Mountain cableway. Get the details here!
Table Mountain 2-Hour Platteklip Gorge Hike – Follow a guide up the Platteklip Gorge – the shortest of the Cape Town Table mountain hiking trails to the top! Enjoy the incredible views and ride the Table Mountain cable car back down. Learn more about this hike!
Full-Day Table Mountain Hike – Begin in the picturesque Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, where this Table Mountain trailhead is found, and hike up Skeleton Gorge to the top of Table Mountain – then come down by cable car. Find details here!
What You Will Need For Your Visit To Table Mountain
We a few tips and packing hacks to make your visit to Table Mountain go smoothly.
Proper Travel Shoes
Travel Camera & Binoculars
It is best to capture the beauty of Table Mountain with a good travel camera that has a zoom lens. We use a Canon Rebel with an everyday 18-135mm lens, although we wished we would have brought along our zoom 55-250mm lens so that we could have taken better photos of the amazing Table Mountain view. Binoculars are another item we regret not having!
Cape Town Travel Insurance
Trip insurance may help cover expenses incurred for a wide range of things – such as injuries, illnesses and flight delays or cancellations and even lost luggage. Find rates and a full list of coverages at World Nomads.
More For Your Trip To Cape Town: Read our top Cape Town tips and detailed South Africa travel guides for Visiting Penguins, A Cape Town Walking Tour, Best Cape Town Beaches, Cape Town Wine Tasting and our Complete Cape Town Itinerary!
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