As the cable car traverses the Table Mountain cableway, the panoramic view of Cape Town is breathtaking. The soul reawakens as one marvels at the awesome mountain scenery, lush vineyards and long sandy beaches that make Cape Town in South Africa one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Ascending the mountain via the 1200m-cableway is really an experience. The cable car’s rotating floors ensures that each of the 65 passengers get a 360 degree view of Cape Town Peninsula, Robben Island and the Table Bay. These exciting views, however, become a bit scary – more than scary – as you come so close to the mountain. The sheer drop to the cliffs below churns your stomach.
For a moment you think the car is not going to make it, but then in 5 minutes or so you just find yourself at upper cable station situated at the summit of the mountain.
Exploring Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa
From this point you can stroll along 2 km of well-maintained pathways while enjoying panoramic views of the neighbourhoods from over 12 viewing sites and decks. The waters of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans swirl in front of you and the white ribbon beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay spread out below. All of a sudden Cape Town’s unpredictable weather brings about a beautiful blanket of white cloud – the famed Table Cloth – tumbling over the side of the mountain like a waterfall.
As you explore the 3km wide mountaintop, rising to 1085m at Maclears Beacon – the mountain’s highest point – you feel like a kite floating on air. Within a few minutes you will find out why Table Mountain is regarded as one of the world’s best-known landmarks. All along the pathways, you will find some of the 1470 or so species of plants hosted by the mountain. And if you are lucky enough you may as well spot one of the rare but famous Table Mountain Ghost Frog found nowhere else in the world.
After strolling all over the mountain, visitors return to the upper cableway station’s restaurant for a hearty meal, light snack or a drink before ascending back to the lower cableway station. The self-service restaurant that seats 120 people offers a wide range of foods ranging from hot breakfast, lunch, snack menus and coffee bar.
Those who love their drink can always feel at home sipping some special cocktail while looking out over the bay in the next door Cableway Cocktail Bar. Up to 120 people can be hosted for cocktail parties. Enjoying a sunset picnic and sundowner on the mountain with a few friends can indeed be a rewarding way to end off a busy week in Cape Town.
Visiting Table Mountain National Park & Table Mountain Today
To board a cable car you need to drive to the lower cable station situated at the base of the mountain. Once you reach the station you will find taxis and cars lined up as far as the eye can see. Driving past the station further along Tafelberg Road takes you into the Table Mountain National Park with even more astonishing views of the city. Driving further along the road will take you to Devilspeak (the pyramid shaped eastern corner of the mountain); the perfect spot to park your car before turning back to the station.
The cable way is open daily from 8:30am to unset, with the best time to go up in the afternoon when the sunset colors are spectacular. The cableway operators, however, do not take bookings due to the fact that the operation of the cable cars is weather dependent. Operation is stopped if it is rainy or the mountain is too overcast.
Over the years, the cableway has carried some of Cape Town’s most illustrious visitors including King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Andrew, Margaret Thatcher, Oprah Winfrey, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tina Turner among many others.
For more information or to book a trip up to Table Mountain, please visit: www.africapoint.com.
More About Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Co.
The cableway, run by the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Co. Ltd., opened its doors to the first visitors on 4 October 1929. The opening ceremony led by the then mayor of Cape Town attracted 200 guests. Since then over 18 million passengers have ridden the cableway to the top of the mountain. Around 800 000 visitors use the cableway to reach the top of the mountain annually.
In 1997 the cableway underwent major upgrades that saw the acquisition of new machinery and cable cars as well as the installation of restaurant facilities at the top of the mountain. The renovated circulating cableway provides spectacular views of the city and surrounding areas while ascending or descending. During high tourist season over December, the queues for tickets can get quite long but the new upgraded system has ensured minimal queuing.
The modern cable cars imported from Switzerland travel at a speed of up to 10 meters per second and can carry a maximum weight of 5200 kg. The base of the cable car is a water tank that can carry up to 4000 liters of fresh water used to weather the windy storm or for visitors’ consumption.