Soaring to The Summit of Cape Town’s Table Mountain

Table Mountain is the defining geographic landmark of Cape Town, South Africa. Sailing into Table Bay, the mountain dominates the skyline. Lion’s Head, the peak on the right, is also a distinguishing landmark. Already one of Cape Town’s greatest tourist attractions, Table Mountain is one of the world’s New Seven Wonders of Nature.

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 visitors a view in all directions. The maximum speed of the Cableway is 10 meters per second (32.8 feet per second).

Along the 1,200 meter Cableway ride, we became lost in the fog surrounding the mountain.

On the summit there are a couple of kilometers of hiking trails that afford spectacular views in all directions. Unfortunately, on this visit 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. Lion’s Head and Cape Town emerge from the fog, viewed from Table Mountain (below).

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 in the brush.

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.

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