Table Mountain is probably the most iconic landmark of Cape Town. It is also one of the most famous natural sights in South Africa. The 1,084.6 m (3,558 ft) sandstone mountain perfectly overlooks Cape Town’s city centre, offering the most amazing and far-reaching views. Table Mountain’s most noticeable feature is its plateau, giving the mountain its table-like appearance.
This flat and accessible plateau makes the mountain especially suitable for a visit to the top, from which you can even spot Robben Island in the distance. I visited the mountain on a sunny winter’s day in July 2014 when my brother and I spent a few days exploring Cape Town.
There are multiple hiking routes to get to the top of the mountain, but if you happen to be lazy, accompanied by children, or have difficulty walking, there is another option: the Table Mountain Cableway. My brother hurt his knee running away from a cockroach the day before, so I gave up on my adventurous hiking plans and decided to take the cableway. It gets you up to mountain pretty fast and simultaneously offers you a 360 degrees view, so I wasn’t really complaining.
Lion’s Head and Signal Hill
Other landmarks of Cape Town and also part of Table Mountain National Park are the dramatic Lion’s Head (left), followed by to Signal Hill. Lion’s Head peaks at 669 metres (2,195 ft) above sea level. The Dutch called the natural peak Leeuwen Kop (Lion’s Head) in the 17th century. Signal Hill was known as Leeuwen Staart (Lion’s Tail), as they thought the shape of the two landmarks together resembles a crouching lion or a sphinx.
Interestingly, the English preferred calling the peak Sugar Loaf. I personally think it looks more like an oddly-shaped dolphin and Lion’s Head should be called Dolphin’s Fin instead.
Dassies, also known as Rock Hyraxes, are small herbivorous mammals that are native habitants of Table Mountain National Park. As a species, you will only be able to find them in certain places in Africa and the Middle East. There used to be many more Dassies before, but sightings like these are still common, since Dassies like to stay close to the cable station (many tourists are prone to “accidentally drop” some food here and there). Fun fact: Dassies may look a little bit like rodents, but they are actually more closely related to elephants!
Being on top of Table Mountain was definitely one of the highlights of my trip to Cape Town. I think it may have even been cooler than visiting at these fabulous penguins. If you’re visiting Cape Town any time soon, be sure not to miss out. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you later!