Table Mountain National Park

by : Kadence Buchanan

Table Mountain National Park is situated along the Southwestern tip of Africa. The park begins at scenic Signal Hill and stretches all the way down to Cape Point, covering a distance of approximately 60 km. The Park comprises part of the Cape Floristic Region World Heritage Site. From an aerial view, Table Mountain National Park resembles a narrow finger, featuring a variety of spectacular beaches, bays and valleys. The Park is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and False Bay on the east. Two of the most beautiful landmarks in the country can be found inside the park, the Cape of Good Hope and Table Mountain.

Table Mountain Park is unique in that visitors will not be able to find such a vibrant bio-diversity or fabulous beauty anywhere else in the world, particularly in an area that is largely metropolitan and includes the sophisticated city of Cape Town.

Visitors can enjoy gorgeous natural beauty during a variety of scenic drives throughout the park, including Chapman's Peak Drive, Boyes Drive, Victoria Road, the path from Simon's Town to Smitswinkel Bay and the drive that runs from Kommetjie to Scarborough. Be sure to bring a packed lunch along with you because you will find plenty of opportunities to stop and have a picnic. Some of the most popular spots include The Glen, Signal Hill lookout, Kirtenbosch Botanical Gardens, Newlands Forest, Constantia Nek, Miller's Point and Buffels Bay.

Technically, there are not any accommodation options operated by the park within the park; however, you will find a variety of different accommodations which are privately operated near the edge of the metropolitan area around Cape Town.

Once you have arrived in the area, there are a variety of different outdoor activities from which to choose. If you are looking for an adventure of a lifetime, you might consider taking the 3-day Hoerikwaggo Table Mountain Trail tour. This tour is comprised of a three day, guided hiking experience that bridges the cultural history of the Cape Town area with the national heritage that is associated with Table Mountain.

Other activities include mountain biking, mountain climbing, hiking trails, hang gliding and paragliding. Inside the park a number of mountain biking trails are in operation along with several climbing routes that have been approved. Hang gliding and paragliding sites are located at Silvermine and Lion's Head. If water based activities are more to your liking, there are also numerous reefs and beaches that encircle the Peninsula, offering the opportunity to surf year around. Excellent snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities can also be enjoyed in the clear waters as well. For something a bit more relaxing, consider one of the many tidal swimming pools located around Buffels Bay, Bordjiesrif and Oudekraal. Angling is a popular activity in the area as well, although you should be aware that area and seasonal restrictions dictate where and which types of marine life may be caught. You can find out more about local restrictions as well as other activities in the area by visiting one of the information centres located at Table Mountain cableway station, Boulders or Silvermine.