Where: Cape Town, South West South Africa
When: avoid summer (Dec – Feb), but otherwise Cape Town offers pleasant temperatures all year round
Ascent: Although it’s only a couple of hours hike to the summit, you can cheat and go by state-of-the-art cable car
Activities: Hike the Table Mountain National Park, abseil down Cable Mountain or go horse riding
Ascending the Mountain
Ascending Table Mountain is an essential activity – the views across Table Bay and the Atlantic are spectacular. The popular and easy option is to ascend in a state-of-the-art cable car, which offers a rotating 360-degree panoramic view. The cable car leaves from Tafelberg Road from 7.30am to 10pm (shorter hours operate during summer) leaving every 10 to 20 minutes and costing R68 ($11) return May to October, or R85 ($14) return November to April.
When to Go
The “table cloth” effect comes into force in the summer (December to February) when wind crossing the bay hits the cooler air of the mountain and condenses to form thick, white clouds, at which time ascending the mountain is best avoided.
For the adventurous, you can of course hike to the summit, which is a three to four hours round trip and involves some steep and rocky sections. When you get to the top, try an adrenalin-fueled abseil down a 3000ft vertical cliff face. The Table Mountain National Park has many great hiking trails, the best being Hoerikwaggo Trail, a five day and six night hike covering the full length of the peninsula and designed to protect the environment and bring economic benefits to the six communities within the park. Get up close to fun-loving monkeys on a family friendly three hourBaboon Matters tour (Tel: 0027 21783 3882), or try horse riding.
Main image: Table Mountain, Cape Town, londonexpat, Flickr Creative Commons
By Susi O’Neill