Table Mountain is probably the biggest tourist attraction in the Western Cape Province. Whenever anyone lands, the first port of call is most definitely this magnificent mountain with its “table top”.
The base of Table Mountain consists out of granite while most of the mountain is sculpted from sandstone and rises about 1 086 m above the bay. Its flat summit measures around 3 km from one end to the other. Table Mountain has been declared a national monument and is home to more than 1 470 species of plants. This is more than all the plant species put together in the whole of the British Isle! Many of these plants appear nowhere else on earth including the rare Silver Tree.
On a clear day, the mountain is visible from over 200 km on the open sea. Most definitely a sight worth seeing. Take a boat out on the open sea and experience this breathtaking sight. It is unbelievable to think that people say Table Mountain was formed under the see, and because of erosion over millions of years (and many other reasons), it takes on the shape it has today.
Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head appear on the eastern and western side of the “table”. Table Mountain is as well known for its “tablecloth” as it is for the flat top shape of a table. You might ask what this tablecloth is, so let met quickly explain. During the summer months (December – February, but sometimes longer), a great amount of cloud cover appears over the top of the mountain when the southeaster blows. This causes a white cover that looks exactly like a tablecloth, used in the kitchen or anywhere else.
Safe access to the summit of Table Mountain can be obtained by the cable car that was opened in 1929. This cable car has expanded and changed so much that the newest car is even rotating! You can see a 360°C view without having to move, or push other people around you.
More than 600 000 people are conveyed to the top of the mountain every year and the total time it takes to reach the summit, is an unbelievable 6 minutes! On the summit is a restaurant and souvenir shop from which letters can be sent, bearing the Table Mountain postmark.
If you prefer walking and enjoying nature, you can opt to climb the mountain. There are more than 350 recognised paths to the summit you can choose from, ranging from easy and comfortable to extremely difficult. When you choose one of these paths, please do make sure you are accompanied by someone experienced who knows the route very well. It is very easy to loose your way if you don’t know the area.
In the past, lions, leopards and buffalo used to live in these mountains. Over the years they died out and were killed as the Cape became a city, inhabited by many people. Only baboons, small dear and rabbits remain.
Going to see Table Mountain is a great experience, relaxing for the soul and giving you the chance to live and breath the magnificent views once you reach the summit. The tremendous beauty can not be described in words, so please make sure you visit this great “flat top” Table Mountain. Try to visit when the skies are blue, with no cloud cover around.
Lizel Salter is a keen cooking fanatic, loves to bake and is the author of Simply South African, a traditional recipe book. Read more about South Africa and cooking at http://www.recipesfromsouthafrica.com
I was born in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa and grew up in Vereeniging. The first time I left home was in 2002 to go to England on a working holiday. Met my husband halfway around the world, got married in South Africa and now have 2 beautiful children. One boy and one girl... Started writing down recipes I grew up with when I was living in England and love sharing them with others.