Table Mountain in Focus

Lily Sawyer
By Lily Sawyer  - Travel Editor 3 Min Read
View of Table Mountain and 12 Apostles from Lion's Head. Cape Town. Western Cape. South Africa

One of the Western Cape’s most iconic sights, Table Mountain looms large over the Mother City. One of the New7Wonders of Nature, the eye-catching mountain has a level plateau flanked by impressive cliffs and is thought to be around 300 million years old.

Distinct sandstone caves are a feature of Table Mountain, unlike most mountains on Earth. It is also home to the unique flora known as fynbos. The views from the mountain’s tabletop are superb and a favourite for locals and visitors alike; this is certainly Cape Town’s most majestic and photo-worthy landmark. 

Rest assured – it’s not a necessity to hike all the way to the top of the iconic mountain.. The aerial cableway is a slow and scenic route that gives you plenty of time to take in magnificent 360-degree views. At the summit, prepare to be astounded by the sheer magnitude of the vistas. There is a huge expanse of space to make yourself comfortable, or even bring a picnic and relax. A café also offers drinks and snacks. 

Locals like to beat the crowds by making the trip early in the morning. Sunset can be busier, but it is worth it to take in the endless skyline as the sun goes down. Don’t forget your camera! 

Although the mountain may loom like an insurmountable icon, there are a number of paths to suit almost any fitness level. The locals’ preferred route is the Platteklip Gorge as, although strenuous, it is the most direct route. Hiking starts a few metres to the right of the lower cableway station as you face the mountain from the car park, and the entire route is clearly signposted.  

Other routes that are also worthwhile – though equally strenuous – include the Kirstenbosch Gardens trails at Nursery Ravine and Skeleton Gorge. Alternatively, routes from Silvermine, the Cape of Good Hope, and the Constantiaberg offer easier options.  

A guidebook is recommended for those unfamiliar with the trails. Guided walks are also available from various travel operators.

Read Issue 15 of Outlook Travel Magazine