From why you don’t need to jostle for a forward facing view on the cableway to when to head up (and down) the mountain, our expert guide tells you all you need to know about visiting Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.
Don’t wait for the ‘perfect’ day
If the weather looks even half way decent, don’t put off your visit for another time. Table Mountain is often shrouded in clouds and the cableway doesn’t operate in high winds, thick cloud and mist, or heavy rain. It’s best to get going while the going is good.
Buy Table Mountain tickets in advance
Buy tickets online before you arrive so you only have to wait in line for the cableway, not the ticket booth as well. A morning ticket is valid between 8am and 1pm but you can stay as long as you like once you are on top of the mountain.
Use the free CapeTown bus
Save your legs and take the free MyCiTi shuttle service from the Lower Tafelberg Road stop, just off Kloof Nek Road, to the Upper Tafelberg Road stop at the Lower Cable station. If you have a hire car, parking can be tricky in peak season. It can be easier to park near Lower Tafelberg Road and take the MyCiTi shuttle instead of trying to find a closer carpark.
Bring a jacket
It can get cold on the mountain, even when the weather is toasty in town, so wear layers and bring a jacket (even in summer). You should also bring water, sunscreen and a hat.
Where to stand in the Table Mountain cable car
There is no need to jostle for a forward facing spot as the cable car floor slowly rotates so everyone gets to enjoy the view. There are no windows so your pics won’t get spoiled by grubby or scratched glass. If you’re scared of heights, you should definitely stand in the middle of the round cable car cabin as it’s a long way up (and down).
Don’t miss the perfect shot
Charge your mobile devices at the free Wi-Fi Lounge on top of the mountain. You can also make your friends Insta-envious by posting your pics on social media.
Stay on Table Mountain later in summer
The cableway operates for an extended period during summer, which also offers the best viewing conditions. Later sunsets allow more time for getting up and down the mountain during the day. Even better, tickets are half price from 6pm in summer.
Explore the whole mountain
Don’t just stick to the viewing platform near the cableway. There are three clearly marked paths that will take you all the way around the top of the mountain for stunning 360 degree views of Cape Town, Table Bay, and the rest of the Table Mountain National Park.
Get adventurous on Table Mountain
While the 3km hike to the top of Table Mountain sounds short, it is a steep and physically demanding route that shouldn’t be tackled solo. Abseil Africa offer guided Table Mountain hikes as well as abseiling trips. If you really want to get your heart racing, you can do a tour combining the two. You might need a clean pair of underpants after jumping off the mountain at 1,000 metres above sea level, but the views make it all worthwhile.
Leave enough time to get down
You may have to line up for more than an hour to catch a cable car back down the mountain, particularly if it’s an especially beautiful day or you are visiting during peak season. Allow plenty of time for the return trip, especially if you have booked a tour that leaves from downtown Cape Town on the same day you’re visiting Table Mountain.
Disclosure: The writer was blessed with perfect weather on the day she visited Table Mountain and still can’t believe her luck.