Table Mountain: Are you up for the thrill yet?

Table Mountain
This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series South Africa

The Table Mountain is the most popular location of Cape Town. In fact, it is what the city identifies itself with. Table Mountain sees more than  24 million visitors every year and forms an important part of the National Conservation Parks in South Africa. Today, I am here to find out what it takes to meet the challenge and scale to the top. Hold your breath until we reach the top to check it out. 


About Table Mountain

The Table Mountain climbs an altitude of 1088 meters above sea level and is among the oldest mountain formations in the world. The Table Mountain is essentially of significance to the Khoi and San people who named the mountain as Hoerikwaggo – Mountain in the Sea.The Table mountain saw the footprints of several famous travelers and explorers such as Bartholomew Dias in 1448, Vasco da Gama in 1497 until it finally got its name from a Admiral Antonio de Saldanha, a Portuguese Navigator and Admiral in 1503. Taboa da Caba, as it was named translated into Table of the Cape. 

Table Mountain
The Cable Car Ride

The near 45º slope of the cable car gives one a real churn of the G-forces in the belly. With well- coordinated navigation system in the center, the cable car is installed with precise weight measurement that allows the driver to check the load while climbing up and down the slopes.


Reaching the Table Mountain

Table Mountain
Venue for the City Bus Tour

Regular trips run from the V&A Waterfront area just opposite the Two Oceans Aquarium from where you can take the Red Route on the City Bus to reach here. Well, the travelers enjoy this place in several ways. For leisure travelers, the cable car is the best way to reach the top, but for serious travelers, people also go for hiking the table mountain. Nevertheless, taking the cable car ride is a remarkable experience.


Cable Car Trip and Passes

Table Mountain

The Table Mountain Cable Car passes are available both online as well as at venue. A typical round trip will cost R255 (Rs. 1300/- to Rs. 1350/-). The City Bus Tour drops you at the venue and proceeds ahead for the trip ahead, while you complete your circuit.  There is no difference between the online and the venue rates, so it is best that you buy it online to skip the queue. I realized this later and had to spend some time waiting in the queue, however, I was lucky to have a lesser crowd.


The View from the Table Top

Table Mountain
1000 meters above the ground

The cable car reached the upper cable way station and gradually entered the hauling bay. It is only when it jerked a little to fit into the space that I realized the cabin wobbling 1000 meters above in mid air. We entered through a narrow alley which opened on the Table Mountain Top.

Table Mountain

From the top, the Table Mountain gives you 360° views of the entire city surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. The mountain top is a flat ground that extends over a distance of more than 2 km. Moving through the rocky trail, you can experience the extensive flora and fauna that is the natural heritage of the region.

Table Mountain
The Dassies of the Table Mountain

While you are here, you are sure to encounter these friendly little creatures that wander this side of the planet called the ‘Dassies’. These shy furry animals look like rabbits but much bigger in size, but they let you click their pictures if you do not seem too intimidating. I spotted one of them making its way through the grasslands, and was able to capture this quick snap.

Table Mountain

Along the trail, I came across this message that held me back for a moment. It takes a lifetime of wisdom to realize the value of the time we have lost, but, at no point does it give a chance to rectify it. Yet, how ironic it is, that we spend most of our lives trying to ‘earn’ things that we will evidently lose one day!!

Table Mountain
The Daredevils who made it to the top

On my way back, I caught the eye of some stalwarts who probably would have started climbing the Table Mountain at day break and were now about to reach the top. Having spent a considerable time on the mountains myself, I understand the strength and might of the wind drafts at this height. It is capable to almost uproot one from his footing. More than climbing this height, it is about balance and control. This was another 100 feet of climb for them to reach the summit, and without a doubt, the sense of achievement they would have is incomparable to that of mine.


Planning a Hike Trip / Bike Trip Here:

The Table Mountain starts with a gradual slope at the foothills, but tends to go vertical as one climbs up. If you are a first timer, you should consider joining a group of professional hikers instead with hiking equipment rather than trying it all by yourself.

The Table Mountain also has other adventure activities such as Mountain Biking and running Routes. The routes are equally tough and be prepared for some real test of grit and perseverance while you accept the challenge. For Mountain biking, there are essentially two routes.

Outroute Backroute
Distance 12.47 Km 13.63 Km
Time 45 Mins 53 Mins
Speed 16.6 Km/hr 15.5 Km/hr
Climb 321 m 464 m

Source: TableMountainBikers


Table Mountain in Pictures

Table Mountain
The Table Mountain Top Entrance Area
Table Mountain
The Flora and Fauna on Table Mountain
Table Mountain
Table Mountain The National Monument Logo
Table Mountain
The Lion’s Creek at a Distance
Table Mountain
The Table Mountain Road Route


 

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