Tram to the Top

Climbing Table Mountain the wimpy way By: Janeen Christoff
Tram Above Cape Town // © 2010 Janeen Christoff<br />
Tram Above Cape Town // © 2010 Janeen Christoff

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Dassies looking out at Table Bay // © 2010 Janeen Christoff
Dassies looking out at Table Bay // © 2010 Janeen Christoff

The Details

The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

“Where’s Wayne?” someone in our group asked as we got out of our tour van. But he was already gone. Finding out where Wayne had disappeared to was a common theme during my recent trip to South Africa. He was always disappearing on his own adventure, and always turned up later with a story to tell. This time, we had an idea as to where Wayne was, however.

He was hiking Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. Hiking up Table Mountain is an amazing activity for the active adventurer to do when visiting Cape Town. However, in our group, we had all but talked ourselves out of it — except for Wayne, of course.

We had decided to get to the top via the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. While not at all adventurous, the views from the revolving cable car ride are sensational, especially on a clear sunny day, as ours was. We could see way up into the countryside and the nearby wine lands all the way to Hout Bay, and we could get the true breadth of Table Bay. It was stunning.

You don’t need to climb Table Mountain to have your breath taken away; simply stepping outside of the cable car and near the edge of the sheer cliffs will do that for you. At the top, there are a number of pathways for guests to follow. They stretch all over the flat mountain top and are ideal for hiking. One could spend the entire day exploring the mountain and still not get to see everything.

We admired the abseilers who were showing daring visitors how to repel from the cliff face. We also watched a group of climbers make their ascent up the tall mountain. Our other favorite thing to do was watch the Dassies, which look like small rabbits with no ears, frolic on the very edge of the rocks, seemingly unaware of the thousands of feet they would fall with one missed step. They are certainly nimble creatures, I thought.

As the sun started to make its descent, we watched couples sip champagne and sundowners (wishing we had thought to do the same). And then, we decided to make our way down before the last cable car departed.

We did wonder where Wayne was, but that, obviously, is another story.

The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway provides extremely useful information on its website. Clients can find out the times for the first and last cable cars each day, the weather report and ticket information. The site also has detailed information regarding the many walks — guided and self-guided — that you can take, once you are at the top. Visitors can purchase tickets at the cable car entrance, or they can be purchased online. If clients choose to hike to the top, they can also purchase tickets from the top for the ride down, if they so desire.

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