Tabletop Mountain is the defining geographic landmark of Cape Town. Sailing into Cape Town — into Table Bay — Table Mountain dominates the skyline. In the photo, above, Lion’s Head, on the right, is also a distinguishing landmark. Table Mountain is an official New 7 Wonder of Nature of the world.
One of Cape Town’s greatest tourist attractions, Table Mountain National Park is accessible by a state-of-the-art cable car that climbs the 1,086 meters (3,563 feet) to the summit in just six minutes; the gondola car rotates 360 degrees on ascent (and descent) to provide all visitors a view in all directions.
The maximum speed of the Cableway is 10 meters per second (32.8 feet per second). The cable car can carry a weight of 5,200 kilograms (11,460 pounds). The Cableway works on a counter weight system weighing 134 tonnes each.
On the summit there are a couple of kilometers of hiking trails that afford spectacular views in all directions (when the view is not obscured/blocked by the fog). On this visit (previously we were there on a sunny, clear day), the views were obscured by the “tablecloth” of clouds and fog that result when the southeasterly wind blows.
On a clear day, one can see many of the local landmarks: Table Bay and Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 of the 27 years he was in prison), the Cape Flats, False Bay, the Twelve Apostles, Camps Bay, Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak, and, in the distance, the Drakenstein Mountains.
The surface of Table Mountain is predominantly rocky (sandstone) with low brush growing in the eroded rock soil.
We enjoyed coming across a rare fall flower.
Perhaps our favorite view was down the Atlantic Coast along the Twelve Apostles.
As the morning wore on, the fog more aggressively climbed up the sides of Table Mountain, further obscuring the view.
The fog remained low enough to see the Drakenstein Mountains in the distance.