Table Mountain, Cape Town
Cape Town has many wonderful historical landmarks that can be explored during your stay. Table Mountain is the obvious place to start - around the world if someone mentions Cape Town, Table Mountain is an instant thought. The mountain dominates Cape Town - the city wouldn't be so interesting if Table Mountain, Devils Peak, Signal Hill and Lion's Head were not there. Table Mountain is one of the oldest mountains on earth. 800,000,000 years ago the first sandstone layers began to form under the sea. These were later strengthened by the formation of a granite base.
The mountain rose due to tectonic movements deflected down by the granite. The mountain has been slowly rising ever since, yet also eroded by the action of water, fire, wind and ice.
The mountain itself really isn't so big - it is only 1086 meters, Everest is 8,850m! - it is the positioning and shape that makes Table Mountain so spectacular. Situated on the coast there are no other large mountains close by to complete with, the sea has receded over the years and the area known as the cape flats surround the mountain.
The flat top of the mountain is a unique sight and when covered by the 'tablecloth' - a layer of cloud that just sits on the mountain - it really is a wonderful sight. The Table Mountain National Park is wonderful for walking and for those interested in flora of the area is a real treat. The mountain is home to approximately 1470 types of plants; more than the entire British Isles! Complimenting this vast array of flora is a amazing range of animal life, like the Table Mountain Ghost Frog which is found nowhere else in the world.
The initial cable car which carried tourists up and down the mountain was first built in 1929, extensive reconstruction took place in 1997, new equipment was installed which increased the passengers capacity by almost 3 times. On both the old and new cable cars there is an impeccable safety record. During clear days the cable cars are very busy, advance booking is advised after watching the daily weather! If you choose to walk up the mountain, be sure to tell someone where you are going and expected arrival time; remember the wind can pick up extremely quickly and clouds can bear down on the mountain as if from nowhere.
Informative Books of the Western Cape of South Africa