Table Mountain is South Africa’s best-known landmark, but what many don’t know is that it is also a hiker’s paradise with numerous trails, amazing views and plenty of interesting facts to learn. Oh, and it's part of a national park. And all this in the heart of the Mother City.

Did you know?

Table Mountain, probably the most photographed landmark in South Africa, is now one of the New7Wonders of Nature.

South Africa's most famous landmark, Table Mountain, is more than just a pile of rock in the bay. A protected national park, it has some remarkable features that make it a great destination for nature-lovers, deserving of more than just a quick cable car ride to see the view from the top.

The mountain forms part of Table Mountain National Park, which is globally recognised for its biodiversity, and contains truly unique fauna and flora. The park encompasses the Table Mountain chain stretching from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south and the seas and coastline of the peninsula.

It is primarily an open-access park with only a few points where conservation fees are payable including Cape Point, Boulders (where you'll see penguins), the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and Silvermine.

The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway was the solution to the arduous walk and climb to the top. Since its opening in 1929, more than 22 million people have taken the trip to the top of Table Mountain. The new cableway was upgraded and officially reopened on 4 October 1997.

At the upper cable station you will find a restaurant and a curio shop as well as a network of footpaths to explore the table top.

There are plenty of hiking trails from the Camps Bay side of the mountain, as well as from the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, and even from the city centre itself.

You can walk or climb the mountain, or even abseil down it, depending on your expertise and fitness levels, but be warned. Although the mountain may look tame on any given day, each year it claims lives as people set off under-prepared for a sudden change in weather. Always hike in a group and carry water and warm clothing with you. Better still, hire a guide or ask an experienced hiker to take you along.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company
Lower Cable Station, Tafelberg Road
Tel: +27 (0)21 424 8181

How to get here

Table Mountain is easily accessible by car, taxi and bus. You can even take a City Sightseeing bus to the foot of the mountain.

Around the area

Lion's Head is also popular with hikers, particularly at full moon when people.

Get around

The mountain is a reserve, so only foot traffic is allowed.

What will it cost

A return trip for one adult on the Cableway costs around R205 at the ticket office or R185 online (plus, buying your ticket online means you'll skip long queues during popular summer days). Hiking is free and if you don't feel like walking back down, take the cable car for R105. The cable car will close if the weather is inclement so always be prepared to hike down.

Length of stay

Half-day to full-day

What to pack

It's generally a fair bit colder at the top than at ground level, so take a jacket.

Where to stay

Cape Town has ample accommodation options. A double room in a back-packers' lodge will cost around R400 per person for a night, while a room in a four-star hotel would cost between R800 and R1200, depending on the time of year.

What to eat

There is a restaurant and shop on top of Table Mountain.