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Table Mountain

One of the oldest mountains on the planet, this natural world heritage site, and Natural New 7 Wonder of the World, is the most iconic landmark of South Africa. Legend has it that the so-called “tablecloth” of clouds that pours over the side when a southeasterly wind blows up the mountain’s slopes is the result of a smoking contest between the devil and a retired sea captain named Jan van Hunks. More likely it’s a matter of condensation, but the effect provides an awe-inspiring backdrop to the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town.

Flanked by Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head, Table Mountain marks the northern end of the Cape Fold Mountain range, which runs like a spine from north to south through the Cape Peninsula. There are more than 2,200 species of plants and 1,470 floral species found on Table Mountain, many of which are endemic to the area, and form part of the Cape Floral Region, the richest yet smallest floral kingdom on earth.
A range of routes offer ways to explore the mountain, from walks around the indigenous forest and lower peaks to rigorous hikes up, but the quickest way to the top is via the aerial tramway, and takes about five minutes. At the top, there’s a cafe, some souvenir shops, and trails to enjoy the views, including the path to the summit, marked by Maclear’s Beacon, a large cairn built by Sir Thomas Maclear in 1865 to assist in measuring the curvature of the earth.


Table Mountain

Table Mountain, Table Mountain (Nature Reserve), Cape Town, South Africa