Table Mountain cradles the Mother City in its nurturing arms, having seen it grow from a small colonial port in the 1600s to a thriving centre of tourism and iconic visuals. The mountain itself is a wonder of natural beauty and majesty with its trademark flat top so often lightly covered by the gentle “tablecloth” of cloud that forms over its flattened heights. These clouds can turn into heavy, strong banks of white and grey as a typically unpredictable change in Cape Town’s weather takes over an unexpectant but grudgingly expecting public.
These clouds, formed when the infamous south-easter wind is brought up into colder air which in turn causes condensation, are the basis for an old Cape folktale. It is believed that a man who prided himself on his pipe-smoking abilities challenged the devil himself to a smoking contest on the slopes of the mountain. The “tablecloth” reminds locals of the event where it is said the man was victorious, even though he was allegedly kicked out of his home by his wife! Indeed, this amazing natural phenomena completes the spectacular scene of the beautiful city.
Table Mountain also plays host to a number of hikes where you can scale the summit just as the first climber Antonio de Saldanha did in 1503. The most well-known route up is Platteklip Gorge and it is indeed the most popular with a steady stream of people travelling its well-trodden route from sunup to sundown. Once you have made the tough ascent, you will be happy to know that there is a cableway that will take you down the mountain, providing you with spectacular views on the way down and showcasing the unique setting of Cape Town.
Check out our selection of exquisite Cape Town Cultural experiences or take a further look at the Cape Town Overview.