Journey to the Top of Table Mountain

To really understand just how spectacular the Cape Town coastline is you need to see it from above.

View of Table Mountain with its Table ClothTable Mountain with its tablecloth of cloud

The best way to do this is to take the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain. It is fairly expensive so some people prefer to go up Signal Hill, which is free and you can drive there.

While the view from Signal Hill is superb, I'd suggest you still pay for the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain. Doing both Table Mountain and Signal Hill gives you a better idea of the beauty of this city but, if you've only time to do one, then make it Table Mountain.

Don't want to pay for the cable car, but want to experience the view from the top? Well then you can walk up. It isn't that difficult if you are reasonably fit, and takes around two to four hours depending on the route. The weather can change quickly on the mountain though so the best and safest way is to do the hike with a guided tour – this is a good one.

Cable Station - Table MountainView from the top of Table Mountain - the cable station is on the left

About the Cable Car

Cable Car - Table Mountain, Cape TownCable Car

The Cable Car rotates on the way up, giving you some spectacular 360 degree views on the way to the top.

The biggest problem, apart from the price, is that the crowds are overwhelming on sunny days, parking is hard to find and the wait to buy tickets is lengthy.

My advice would be to buy your tickets in advance. You can buy your tickets directly online from the people who run the Cableway on - it'll save you standing in a long line but it will still leave you with the parking problems I mentioned.

Things to Remember

  • The weather can be a lot colder on top of the mountain so bring something warm to wear just in case.
  • During the height of summer the last car down is at 9 p.m. and I'd suggest arriving around 4 p.m., exploring a bit, and then watching the sun start to set over the Atlantic Ocean before heading down.
  • Bring a picnic with you - the restaurant up top is expensive.
  • The Cableway only operates in good weather so if it is very cloudy, raining or super windy then it probably won't run.
  • On a hot day wear plenty of sunscreen, the sun can really burn you up on top.

While on Top of Table Mountain

Once you get up to the top it is amazing how big the mountain is. There's a whole little world going on up here with animals and plants living out their entire lives on top of the mountain. The weird and wonderful plant species number over two thousand...that's more than the entire UK!

The best way to admire the views, plants and animal life is to take one of three easy and well marked walks. The shortest (The Dassie Walk) takes 15 minutes, but I'd recommend you also do one of the longer ones – the most popular for good all-round views is the Agama Trail and it only take 35 minutes.

Where to Stay

Visiting Cape Town and need somewhere to stay? If you're on a budget try the Breakwater Lodge or, if money is no object and only the best will do, the Table Bay Hotel.  

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