Getting up on Table Mountain

You simply cannot visit Cape Town without getting on top of Table Mountain.

When I first saw it, I was stunned. I had no idea how prominent and massive that mountain towers over the city.

No wonder, it’s peak is 1086 meters up in the sky. And as the city is basically at sea level, it’s really impressive.

So every tourist will head up the mountain, be it by foot, or, more comfortably, by cable car.

Except for us. We didn’t.

To our excuse: we’d both already been up. Sven a few years ago, me on my first trip to Cape Town in 2014.

Here’s why:

Avoiding the queues

To our excuse: we really tried.

Cape Town is full of tourists in the end of December. Not only foreign tourists flood the city, but the school holidays make South Africans from all over the country come to the Mother City.

We thought we’d beat the crowds by getting up early and taking one of the first cable cars up.

There’s an early service between 7.30 and 8.00, but those tickets were sold out. Which could have given us a hint what to expect.

We drove up at 8 in the morning. Which meant: we were super late!

We found the cars queueing up halfway to the base station of the cable car station, frantically looking for a parking spot.

The queue in front of the station was already a few hundred meters long.

Well, no. We were not up for queueing two hours only to get into the cable car.

If you’re visiting Cape Town during high season, you definitely have to get up way earlier than we did.

I took some pictures of the city and the mountain… and then we drove of for breakfast.


The good thing is: we could return our online ticket.

Tickets are valid for a week from your starting date. The reason is the weather: as winds can get pretty intense, sometimes the cable car has to be closed. Then you can simply use it in the following days.

Or return it easily by mailing your ticket back, and be refunded within days to your credit card.

On your own: hiking up Table Mountain

So, if you’re not up for queueing in the heat and waiting for the cable car, there’s the traditional way up: hiking.

I haven’t done it personally, but there are a number of routes to explore. You can also hike up with a guide, which might be recommendable.

There are a number of different routes available, in varying grades of difficulty.

With my fear of heights, I haven’t tried it yet, as I already failed going all the way up to the Lion’s head.

This is no easy stroll, though. After all, you’re really going up some significant height. And the weather can change fast. On so many days the mountain was clear in the blue skies, only to be covered in clouds shortly after.

Especially in the evening, the so called ‘tablecloth‘ will appear on top of the mountain, and create a – beautiful – cloud fall, over the edge of the mountain, looking indeed like a tablecloth.

Here are a few pictures taken from my terrace.

Sunset on Table Mountain

Back in 2014, when I lived for one month in Cape Town during my trip around the world, I already went up Table Mountain.

I went up just before sunset. Tickets are half-price, and the queues are manageable. I think I only waited some 15 minutes in total.

The ride is fast and smooth, and you get to take some nice pictures underway.

And of course, from the top, looking over the ocean, Table Bay, Robben Island, the 12 Apostles, and, of course, the beautiful city underneath.

If you chose an evening trip, your time on top is limited, as you need to get the last car down again. But I had an amazing sunset to watch.

Here’s the whole story, and some pictures from that evening trip back in December 2014.