About Table Mountain
It’s easy to run out of superlatives when talking about Table Mountain. Its triple status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a National Park and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature is amply justified. Add to that the distinction of being the only natural feature with a constellation named after it (Mensa) and it becomes clear what a treasure Table Mountain really is.
Older than the major mountain ranges of the world, and steeped in history and legends, Table Mountain rises almost sheer from the Atlantic, casting its shadow over a city of millions. It represents different things to different people: a temple, a gym, a refuge, a challenge, an escape, a bucket-list item, a proving ground, the culmination of a pilgrimage. Though people have died on its slopes, many more have found life. It has witnessed the rise and fall of an ocean, the birth and extinction of the dinosaurs. Countless storms have eroded it down to a fifth of its original height, but still this crumbling relic pulsates with life and energy.
Hoerikwaggo – the Khoi word for Table Mountain meaning ‘mountain in the sea’ – is a place where you can hear the hiss of complete silence. This stillness may at times be rippled by sounds such as the chime of a church bell, the distant boom of surf, the trickle of a stream or the choral chirping of frogs. That’s part of the magic of Table Mountain hiking. What’s more, each side of the mountain possesses its own character and mood: the imposing front face overlooking the city center, stacked with precipices and sun-baked in summer; the sylvan eastern side, clad in indigenous forest reminiscent of tropical jungle; the dissected western flank that falls away into the ocean; the back of the mountain; a secluded valley straight from the pages of Conan Doyle’s Lost World, where civilization feels a thousand miles away.
One of the most stunning aspects of Table Mountain is that it managed to retain so much wildness despite its proximity to a city. There are places where you could hole up for years without seeing another person. Where you’d only have the bird and bees as company. Pockets of primeval wilderness still exist on the mountain, where the city is out of sight and earshot, and where nature reigns supreme. All this less than 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) from the city center… traffic jams, shopping malls, boardrooms.
Since Table Mountain is such an iconic and enthralling landmark, why not make the most of it? Hike Table Mountain with an expert guide.