Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town metropolitan area (under Table Mountain)

Table Mountain (center) dominates the Cape Town, South Africa, skyline; Lion’s Head is the peak on the right

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.

Welcome to Table Mountain -- a New 7 Wonder of Nature

Welcome to Table Mountain — a New 7 Wonder of Nature

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.

Table Mountain Cableway -- the cables are 1,200 meters long (3,937 feet or 0.75 miles)

Table Mountain Cableway — the cables are 1,200 meters long (3,937 feet or 0.75 miles)

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.

Lost in the fog on the Table Mountain Cableway

Lost in the fog on the Table Mountain Cableway

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.

Hiking on Table Mountain in the morning fog

Hiking on Table Mountain in the morning fog

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.

Lion's Head and Cape Town emerge from the fog, viewed from Table Mountain

Lion’s Head and Cape Town emerge from the fog, viewed from Table Mountain

A view of Cape Town from Table Mountain with the fog blowing by

A view of Cape Town from Table Mountain with the fog blowing by

The surface of Table Mountain is predominantly rocky (sandstone) with low brush growing in the eroded rock soil.

The brush atop Table Mountain, Cape Town

The brush atop Table Mountain, Cape Town

We enjoyed coming across a rare fall flower.

A rare fall flower in the brush atop Table Mountain, Cape Town

A rare fall flower in the brush atop Table Mountain, Cape Town

Perhaps our favorite view was down the Atlantic Coast along the Twelve Apostles.

The Twelve Apostles and the Atlantic Ocean coastline viewed from Table Mountain

The Twelve Apostles and the Atlantic Ocean coastline viewed from Table Mountain

As the morning wore on, the fog more aggressively climbed up the sides of Table Mountain, further obscuring the view.

Mid-morning fog enveloping Table Mountain

Mid-morning fog enveloping Table Mountain

The fog remained low enough to see the Drakenstein Mountains in the distance.

Fog trying to creep up and over the top of Table Mountain

Fog trying to creep up and over the top of Table Mountain

4 thoughts on “Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town, South Africa

  1. Cool photos. Hope you had fun at Miraval. Thought of you this past week. If I knew anything about geology, I would know why that mountain appears sheered off. John do you know what caused that? Monica R. Salusky Attorney at Law 2540 Camino Diablo Suite 200 Walnut Creek, CA 94597 Telephone: 925-279-3456 Cell Number: 925-788-1991 Fax: 925-932-1961

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