How To Get Up Table Mountain, TheEasy Way!

By: Kadence Buchanan

When you arrive at Cape Town International Airport and set off along the N2 towards Cape Town you can normally see a large cloud bank directly ahead of you. Once you get closer, Cape Town's most famous land mark looms ahead of you larger than life. The question most visitors to Cape Town ask is, "is it that flat at the top?" The answer is yes, and it is all open to hikers and visitors from the Cable Car. How you get to the top is up to you, and there are many different scenic walks up.

The most popular walk, which takes you right to the top of Table Mountain, goes up Skeleton Gorge and comes down Nursery Ravine. This walk takes you across the table top, and to Maclear's Beacon, the highest point on the mountain. Unfortunately, this walk is not for beginners. With nearly 10,000 rock and wooden steps to climb, and a whole lot more walking besides, this trip should take you the better part of five hours and be rather hard on the knees. Remember to take a lot of water and relax to rub your calf muscles often on the way down. Lactic acid build up can cause your legs to give way, and the steps are often very steep!

For a gentler walk up to the top of Table Mountain, you might want to take the Cecilia Circuit. This begins in the stunning indigenous Cecilia forest and will also take all afternoon, but is far easier. It is also easy to customize any of these walks to take you to the Cable Car station, if you don't feel like walking down. There are also a number of walks that do not go to the top, such as anywhere on the Silvermine Nature Reserve and the Twelve Apostles.

If all of that sounds a bit too much like hard work, there is always the magnificent cable car. First ask yourself if you could handle being in a London Eye capsule, except eight times higher and suspended by a cable. If the answer is yes, a shuttle or taxi from the V & A Waterfront can take you there, or you can take Kloof Nek Road and follow the signs. The ride up is stunning, with a panoramic Cape Town and Table Mountain view. Remember to bring a jacket, because even if you can fry an egg on Long Street, it will still be chilly up there. The Cable Way costs $9 for an adult return, $5 for a child return and $21 for a family return (Prices in 2007).

A word of caution: the only wildlife you are likely to encounter at the top of Table Mountain are 'dassies' - a local rock rabbit. These creatures do not understand why these people are on their mountain, and if you try to pet or feed them they will bite. They have been known to keep fingers as trophies, so children should not leave the restaurant, gift shop and sight-seeing area alone.

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