Table Mountain is Cape Town’s most famous attraction, is one of the world’s New 7 Wonders of Nature and hiking it up should definitely be done by every local and visitor of the city.
If you are not in the mood for hiking you can also take the cable car both ways (up and down) but if you are more energetic and want to sweat some calories you should definitely follow one of the several hiking trails to get to the top.
There are easy trails as Platteklip Gorge, which is one of the most popular; but you can also take a difficult one as India Venster, which is the one I am going to explain in this post.
Regarding Table Mountain, it got its name for its evidently resemblance for a table because of the flat top with edges that consist of steep cliffs. From its top, which is 1085 meters / 3560 feet above the sea level, you have incredible views over the whole city of Cape Town and you can find other attractions as a restaurant and a gift shop.
1. Why you should go to Table Mountain?
Table Mountain offers an incredible variety of flora. It contains as many plants species as the whole United Kingdom and about 70% of the plants are indigenous so you will not be able to see them anywhere else.
Anyone can reach the top of Table Mountain. If you like hiking you will definitely find the right trail for you and if don’t, you can just take the cable car to the top and enjoy the view without much effort.
There are a lot of things to do at the top of Table Mountain. In addition to a restaurant and a shop there is even a water works museum and you will also be able to find five dams (the Woodhead, Hely-Hutchinson, De Villiers, Alexandria and Victoria).
Additionally, you can just appreciate the fantastic views that Table Mountain offers. To the north you will see Table Bay and Robben Island, to the west and south the Atlantic seaboard.
Where is it located?
Table Mountain is a part of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) in the city of Cape Town. It is flanked by Signal Hill and Lion’s Head to the west and Devil’s Peak to the east.
How to get there?
- By UBER/Taxifi: you’ll take 12 minutes from Cape Town’s City Center. UBER cost is around $50 ZAR = $4 USD.
- By car: parking there is easy, there’s a free parking lot at near to Lower Tafelberg or Kloof Nek bus stops and also closer to the Lower Cable station you can park at the side of the road.
3. Opening hours and fees
a. Table Mountain
- Opening hours: always open
Fees: free entrance, you only have to pay for the Cable Car if you don’t want to hike up or hike down.
b. Cable car
- Opening hours
First car up: 8:00 am
Last car up: between 17:00 pm and 20:30 pm, depends on season
Last car down: between 18:00 pm and 21:30 pm, depends on season
Option 1) One way and return tickets
Find here all the Cable Car prices and schedules.
Option 2) Cable Card
If you are going to stay for at least a year in Cape Town and you plan to make several visits to Table Mountain, you should buy the Cable Card that grants you access the whole year.
- Adult: $640 ZAR = $ 54 USD
- Child: $325 ZAR = $ 27 USD
- Adult and child combo: $750 = $63 USD
The card is limited to one return trip per day, ie. one trip up and one trip down, and you can purchase or renew your Cable Card online or at the Lower Cable Station between 08:30 and 16:00 hrs., Monday to Sunday (including public holidays) at the Visitor Centre.
*Don’t forget to bring a valid South African ID (passport, birth certificate, ID book) or a valid passport for non-South Africans.
Find here all the Cable Card information.
4. What to bring
- Hiking Gear: Make sure to bring good hiking gear for the walk, such as good hiking boots and caps for the sun.
- Sunblock: The sun can get very hot on top of the hills, so make sure to bring a lot of sunblock. Also if you tend to burn fast, it is advisable to wear shirts with long sleeves and/or caps.
- Water: Water is a must to keep hydrated during the trip! Make sure to bring lots of it as it can get very hot.
- Food: you can make a picnic at the top of Table Mountain, bring some snacks/food in your backpack and enjoy the views. Also, there’s a restaurant and gift shop at the top.
- Camera/Video Equipment: The breathtaking views at the top of Table Mountain and during the hike are asking to be shot! Don’t forget to bring good cameras to film the nature’s beauty.
- Pets: dogs are allowed but not on the Cable Car.
- Snacks: there are many spots in which you can take a break while hiking so don’t forget to bring some snacks to enjoy the view and recover some energy.
5. India Venster Hike
The route is about 3 kilometers long and it will take you from 2 to 4 hours to reach the top.
In my opinion the India Venster is a difficult hike, I’m an amateur hiker and I felt very comfortable at the beginning but then there were 2 times that I felt the adrenaline of the hike while not finding the perfect rock to put my feet on.
I recommend you to do it with someone who has done it before because you should follow the yellow steps painted on the way and the beginning of the trail it is very easy to follow them but at the end there is the chance that you miss one and get confused so that will make you use more time to find your way back to follow the correct path.
It is recommended that you are in good shape to do India Venster. This of course does not mean you have to be a top athlete, but India Venster will put level of fitness to the test.
Half of the hike you will basically follow the cable car up walking through a steep path, then the next half you will have a mixed path that goes around the mountain with some parts involving rock climbing (including chains and ladders) and others steep walking.
a. Start point
The India Venster hike route starts about 50 m to the right of the lower cable car station on Table Mountain Road.
b. Following the Cable Car
First, you are going to follow a steep path full of rocks. Carry a good backpack to leave your hands free in case you loose your balance with loose rocks.
c. Two options
You will arrive to a sign that shows you the easy and hard trails you can follow. We took the hard one.
d. Chains and ladders
The route gets more difficult and steep. You are going to have to grab some rocks and get yourself up with the help of chains and ladders.
e. Rock climbing
Some parts of the trail are difficult, there are no ladders and you have to find the best rock to grab tightly and use your feet to get up.
But you will get to see amazing views on the way.
f. The top
Finally, you will have to walk through a not so steep path till you reach the top!
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