For anyone visiting South Africa, there is one landmark you can’t miss: Table Mountain. Towering over the city below, this iconic flat-top mountain is popular with locals and tourists alike. It makes the perfect backdrop for the cosmopolitan Cape Town, most loved for its distinctive flat top and the tablecloth of clouds that roll down its rocky slopes.
Table Mountain is easily the most infamous attraction in Cape Town, and perhaps the most well-known mountain in Africa together with Mount Kilimanjaro. And, having taken a trip to the top first-hand, we can vouch that there’s good reason for it.
Rotating Cable-Cars to the Top
The more adventurous traveler may choose to hike Table Mountain to marvel at the views and wildlife waiting at the top. However, deciding against the challenging on-foot excursion, we made our way up via cable car from Tafelberg Road. The ascent to the 3,563-foot tall summit only took five minutes, and the journey was not one to miss. Suspended high above the city of Cape Town and the mountains below, the views were incredible. The cable cars have innovative revolving floors, giving every passenger 360-degree views of the shrinking world beneath.
Unbeatable Views of Cape Town & Beyond
Having been teased on the journey up Table Mountain, the view at the top did not disappoint. It was spectacular, arguably the ultimate view of Cape Town and the surrounding areas. From the two-mile-long plateau, you have views of the Twelve Apostles, the V&A Waterfront, and the bustling streets of The Mother City. We also could see two well-known subsidiary peaks, Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak, towering slightly lower than Table Mountain itself. With views like these, it’s no wonder the mountain welcomes one million people to its summit each year.
Table Mountain’s Rich Floral Biodiversity
Known for its impressive selection of flowering plant species, Table Mountain is also rich in biodiversity and part of the Cape Floral Region. The area is home to over 1,470 species of flowering plants. It is the smallest yet richest floral kingdom on the planet. Many of these plants are specific to the region and won’t be found anywhere else, including several critically endangered species. Being such a biological hotspot, the mountain was voted on of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2011.
Rare & Abundant Mountain Wildlife
Wildlife is abundant and diverse on Table Mountain. Although leopards once roamed the tabletop, the most common mammal today is the dassie. Cape Town’s iconic mountain is home to porcupines, snakes, lizards, and tortoises. You may also find a rare and elusive amphibian, the Table Mountain Ghost Frog, hanging around in the perennial mountain streams that traverse the mountain’s slopes. Turn your attention to the mountain cliffs and you may spot booted eagles, jackal buzzards, and peregrine falcons. There is wildlife everywhere.
Walking Across the Infamous Summit
Hiking up the mountain may not be for the faint-hearted, but Table Mountain’s two-mile-long summit is the perfect place to do a spot of walking. You can soak up the best views of the world below and see as much of the mountain’s flora and fauna as possible. We were given the option of three nice pathways that stretched across the plateau: the Dassie Walk, the Agama Walk, and the Klipspringer Walk. Each holds its own beauty, but as a wild mountain be sure to stick to the path to stay safe.
The combination of breath-taking views, unrivaled biodiversity, and unique geographical formation make Table Mountain the idyllic getaway from Cape Town. Following our visit, one thing is for certain: the icon of the Mother City truly is a visitor’s paradise.