Flanked by Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head, Table Mountain is probably South Africa’s most recognisable icon. It broods over one of the world’s most beautiful cities and every day hundreds of people rotate to the top in a cable car; the more energetic walk up. The view from up there – on a clear day – is breathtaking. But it’s more than a pretty mountain to look at.
Up the Cableway
For the most spectacular ride of your life, climb aboard the Cableway. It’ll take two minutes to reach the top of Table Mountain and the cable car revolves as it climbs, giving you 360° views over the city and the Peninsula. There are paved paths to walk along when you reach the top.
Instead of the stock-standard Table Mountain tourist route of Cableway to restaurant and back down again, go a little further and do something different. Pack a picnic and take an easy 5.5km walk from the cable car to Maclear’s Beacon, the highest point of the mountain; it should take you about an hour to get there and you’ll be far from the crowds. Just remember not the walk up when the mountain’s shrouded in cloud – it’ll be cold, windy and miserable up there.
Searching for a secret place on Table Mountain? Then do some homework and find your way to Tranquillity Cracks. It’s a tough scramble, but once you’re there you’ll find yourself wandering among deep, cool cracks and under the branches of yellowwoods that are stretching out towards the sunlight.
Walk with Fido in a National Park
Unusual for a national park, there are routes in Table Mountain National Park where you can take your dog for a walk, provided you follow the Doggy Code of Conduct.
Hike up the Table
Because the satisfaction of walking up to the top of Table Mountain is so much more than taking the cable car, you have to walk up at least once. One of the favourite routes is up Skeleton Gorge. It’s steep, a little difficult in places and there are a few ladders to scramble up, but the beautiful beginning of Kirstenbosch National Botanic Gardens and the view from the top are so worth the climb.
Dreamtime on a Ley Line
Table Mountain is one of the few places in the world where loads of ley lines intersect – this means there’s lots of natural energy buzzing up there, waiting to be tapped into. The mountain is said to be the world’s earth wheel – a natural temple for nurturing, sustaining and light generating energies. According to Credo Mutwa, a South African sangoma, the male and female energy ley lines intersect at Table Mountain. Whether you’re spiritual or not, anyone will be hard pressed not to feel the empowering yet grounding qualities of our mighty maternal mountain. If you’re into alternative and natural healing and psychic powers, it’s the place to be.
It’s quite a journey, hiking across the length of the Cape Peninsula. The six day Hoerikwaggo Trail runs from Table Mountain to Cape Point. The trail’s name comes from the Khoi name for the mountain and means ‘sea mountain’.
Mountain Bike Tokai
Although Tokai Forest isn’t exactly part of Table Mountain, it offers some of the best mountain biking on the Peninsula with great climbs, downhills, jeep tracks and single tracks. There aren’t many places on the mountain where you can legally ride your bike, but for great views over Cape Town, the dirt roads of Deer Park are as good as it gets.
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