The most famous site in Cape Town is the flat mountain that overshadows the city, a mountain so flat you could eat your dinner off it! In 2011 Table Mountain was named as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. 1,086m high, Table Mountain is a major attraction for hikers and tourists alike.
There are a few options of how to get to Table Mountain. If you’re making your own way there you’ll want to search “Table Mountain Aerial Cableway” on Google Maps for directions. Public transport will drop you at the Lower Tafelberg Road stop or a DiDi/ Uber or regular taxi can drop you at the Upper Tafelberg Road stop. I actually walked down from the cable car past Kloof Corner to the main road and it was a semi paved and winding road down. I also noticed that the City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off bus was dropping people when I came down from the mountain so there is another option if you’re located around the CBD area.
Table Mountain Cableway
If for whatever reason you are not wanting to hike up Table Mountain, then the Cableway is your only other option. Once you have reached the aerial cableway car park you can buy your ticket from the kiosk, or if you have already purchased online you can continue to the cableway.
A warning here that on a normal summers day or even European summer and Cape Town winter you can be expecting to queue for quite a long time. So make sure you head up there early and if not be prepared to queue for up to an hour! Also do check the weather forecast before you go as the cableway will close in bad weather or high winds.
The journey up Table Mountain is very quick, so get those cameras ready to snap some pics of the mountain and city views before you reach the top. The cableway opens at 8.00am in summer and 8.30am in winter, I went up at about 8.45am just after the first car left and I had the whole car to myself…well and the conductor, is that what you call the operator of a cable car. What a great work view though right! They say it takes about 5 minutes to get to the top, but it’s definitely less, more like 2 and a half minutes with the rest of the time waiting for the all clear and for other passengers to get on. The cable car is circular and has two windows on each “side” so when there are more people you are asked to stand still whilst the floor rotates. Yes the floor rotates. It’s very strange, this happened to me on the way down. I found that you couldn’t really get good photos when there were lots of people because the ride was so quick, by the time you got to the open window you missed the good shots. But still an enjoyable experience.
Adult (9h00 -13h00) Return: R380 (US$26.30)
Adult (9h00 -13h00) One Way: R200 (US$
Adult (13h00-closing) Return: R300 (US$20.75)
Adult (13h00-closing): One Way: R200 (US$13.80)
*Student Discount – show a valid student ID both international and local, 7 days a week and it costs R200 (US$13.80) for a return ride.
I really love that they do this student discount for international students as well. Travelling is expensive enough but when places don’t provide student discount for international students I find this really frustrating, and that has been the case around a lot of Cape Town’s attractions unfortunately.
Top of the Table
I was not sure what to expect at the top of Table Mountain. Sometimes these natural tourist attractions can be a little artificial but I think they perfectly balanced the touristy vibe with the natural mountain experience. When you come out of the entrance there are more structured paths and walkways with railings, along with a cafe and a souvenir shop.
I read before going that you can spend anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours at the top of the mountain and this is perfectly true. If you wanted to just stay in this more commercialised area you could, but I highly recommend heading further off the beaten track. I went up at 8.45am and reached the bottom just after 11am.
When you leave the wooden railings behind you also lose some of the people. Not that there were any people when I first went up, was just me another couple and the Table Mountain staff. But walk along the mountain and you can expect to see spectacular views such as these below.
The best thing about Table Mountain are the views. Views of everything you could ask for. Look out over the downtown area, spot the famous oval shaped Olympic stadium and stare into the endless ocean and beautiful coastline. If you somehow get bored with this view (don’t see how you could) then you can head to the other side where you can see all along the coast I think I could even see Slangkop Lighthouse, which is about 47km away. Some views for you to see below including the CBD, Robben’s Island, Cape Town Stadium, Maiden’s Cove, Camps Bay Beach and all the way down to Slangkop Lighthouse.
I won’t provide a fully comprehensive guide to hiking up Table Mountain because I haven’t personally done it and don’t wish to share false information. But from what I have read there seems to be numerous hiking options around Table Mountain. Below are some of the ones I have most commonly read about:
a) Skeleton Gorge to Table Mountain Summit
Rough Time: 2.5 to 3 hours
b) Plattekip Gorge to Table Mountain Summit (one of the most popular routes)
Rough Time: 3.5 hours + 45 minutes to upper cable station
Rough Time: 2-4 hours
No visit to Cape Town is complete without a trip up Table Mountain. Whether you hike up or take the cable car be sure to save plenty of time to take in these spectacular views of such a stunning city.