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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 of the plateau is 1,067m – and the view from Table Mountain is simply spectacular. Visitors can complete a strenuous Table Mountain hike – or swiftly arrive to the plateau using the Table Mountain cable car.
History of Table Mountain
Table Mountain was formed 520 million years ago – making it 6 times older than the Himalayas. The 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 the city 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 (now Table Mountain National Park). Many fires have raged on the mountain – the most notable in recent times in 1986, 1991, 2006 and 2015.
A Few Interesting Facts about Table Mountain
Table Mountain is part of the larger 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 post!). Although Table Mountain routes are clearly shown on the Table Mountain hiking trails map, we felt a table top mountain 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 head 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 until September 30th 2020.
The Cable Car Cape Town prices for an adult roundtrip ticket in the morning (from 8:00am to 1:00pm) costs 360 rand (about $20 USD) and are the most expensive Table Mountain cableway tickets sold. In the afternoon (1pm to close), the adult price is reduced to 300 rand (about $17 USD). A one-way ticket for the cable car up Table Mountain (or just down!) is 200 rand (about $11 USD) regardless of time of day. The rate for a child (age 4 to 17) roundtrip ticket in the morning is 180 rand and in the afternoon is 150 rand. A Cape Town cable way one-way ticket for children is 100 rand. Children under 4 years of age ride for free.
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
The Table Mountain cableway can be reached by car, public bus, tour bus or private tour. Use this link to Google Maps for directions. If using public transport, check the Table Mountain bus schedule here. 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 check a Table Mountain live cam (link here!) and check online for current weather conditions.
Table Mountain Pictures: View 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 images of Table Mountain, Cape Town on the clearest day during our visit to Cape Town in November.
Below the Cable Car
The Table Mountain cableway cars can carry 65 people per car up the mountain in a quick 5-minute ride.
View from Table Mountain to Camps Bay
Looking down on the white, powdery sand of Camps Bay.
City Views from Table Mountain
View from Table Mountain to the Cape Town Stadium, V&A Waterfront Harbor and Cape Town CBD.
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.
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.
View of from Table Mountain to Hout Bay
The southern viewpoint from the plateau features views to Hout Bay and beyond.
View of the 12 Apostles Mountain Cape Town
The 12 Apostles mountain range extends south from Table Mountain along the stunning western coastline.
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.
Table Mountain Lizards
Colorful bright green lizards are a common sight on Table Mountain; this is a Southern Rock Agama basking in the sun – but they are often found among the plants on Table Mountain.
Cape Town Tours to 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!
Looking for other Cape Town adventure activities? Search here for adventures like paragliding, canyoning and snorkeling!
More For Your Trip To Cape Town: Read our top tips and detailed guides for Visiting Penguins, A Cape Town Walking Tour, Best Cape Town Beaches, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town Wine Tasting and the Best Cape Town Itinerary!
We want to know: What is your favorite view from Table Mountain? Did you take the Table Mountain cableway or hike up? Give us your best tips and advice in the comments!
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