Table Mountain

This flat topped mountain in Cape Town stretches over the whole of Cape Town and can be seen from the sailing ships that anchors here. Table Mountain is more than a natural wonder . It is the most important landmark for the country of South Africa and also features in the national flag. The mountain is a source of natural activities from hiking to trailing, or exploring the National Park at the top of the table mountain. If you think hiking here is a difficult proposition try out the cable car rides. They provide you a full view of the surrounding cliffs, the sea and the vast expanse of nature that is the Table Mountain. You wouldn’t know from where it begins and end . The cableway was launched in 1929. Now there are two cable cars on the run. However the Cable Car operates only when the weather is not turbulent.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain

The Table Mountains reaches a height of 1086m (3560ft). Once you reach the top of the mountain it is a wonderful feeling. You might come across orographic clouds which are very common here. They are formed when the South easterly wind mixes with cold air current in the table top they form a shroud of cloud. According to legends there was a smoking contest between the Devil and a certain buccaneer Van Hunks. The Table Mountain is the northernmost mountain in the range of a huge sandstone mountain range. . The south of the plateau of the main range is called the Back Table and continues till Cape point.  Once you reach the  top you can take a number of trails here. The  Daise walk, Agama walk, Klipspringer walk, gives you a wonderful view of the sea cliffs and the surrounding panorama. Ships can be seen anchored afar. You will also notice that the waves at the base of the mountain is very turbulent and cluttered with huge rocks. If you have time also visit the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, and the Silvermine Nature Reserve here. The main vegetation here is fynbos and there is atleast 2000 specimen of the plants here. If you have decided to hike contact the Cape Town Tourism Visitor Information Centre which is located at the Lower Cableway Station.

Table Mountain and Cape Town

Table Mountain and Cape Town

If you feel hungry and have forgotten to pack along a lunch hamper, try out the Table Mountain Café where you will get a whole varieties of cuisines.The Café had recently come out with an ingenious idea of compostable  plates instead of the oridinary plates that one has to wash in order to save 20000 liters of water a day. Ecology here is of the utmost importance.

Hiking the Table Mountains is a tricky job since the cliffs are quite steep. Direct ascent from the city is almost impossible. The most popular route is the trail through the Platteklip Gorge running right through the center of the mountain. It will take you about 3 hours to reach the top if you travel on a moderate speed. If you want a longer route try out the one that starts from the Back Table. There are also one or two other routes like the Skeleton Gorge to Maclears Beacon trail. This is also called the Smuts route in memory of the famed trekker Jan Smuts. Apart from hiking you can also try out rock climbing here. Since the cliffs sides are steep it is apt for rock climbing. Only traditional climbing is offered. No bolting here. Abseiling activities are also offered from here by commercial groups.

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