What you need to know about taking the Cable car up Table Mountain, Cape Town

What you need to know about taking the Cable car up Table Mountain

What you need to know about taking the Cable car up Table Mountain, Cape Town

Table Mountain is one of Africa’s natural wonders and is the most visited attraction in Cape Town.

Most visitors making the trip up Table Mountain get up here with the Cable car, then wander around the top of the mountain for the views. There are much more adventurous ways to get up here and I’ll have a post on that in the next little while. But this time we decided to stick to the very safe, well-trodden paths around the top of the mountain. This post will show what you can expect and the fantastic views you’ll experience at the top.

Below: The ‘Wheelchair Map’ (Map credit to TableMountain.net – click here to see the full map)

What you need to know about taking the Cable car up Table Mountain. map

The map above shows the paths around the top of the mountain. The Map is called the “Wheelchair Map” because most of the paths along the top are wheelchair friendly. You’ll see all the great views along the route that make Table Mountain famous, from the different viewpoints on the eastern side looking over the city to those on the western side looking down the coast and over the Twelve Apostles.


Below: have a look at our 2 minute video

About the Cable car ride: It is ultra-modern, capable of taking 65 people at a time. Time to the top is 5 minutes and it rotates 365 degrees on it’s way up/down so you can see in all direction.

Below: looking over the ‘Twelve Apostles”, a chain of peaks and buttresses lining the Atlantic Coast.

the Twelve Apostles from Table mountain

.Below: views towards the city center.

views of Cape Town from Table Mountain

at the top of Table mountain.
Below: Devil’s Peak, the arrow-head shaped outcrop on the left.

clouds on Table mountain


This animal is the Dassie, also known more officially as the Rock Hyrax or Rock Badger. They are actually the closest living relative to the elephant, scientists having figured that out on the basis of similarities in the structure of the feet and the teeth.  You’ll see them all over Table Mountain, usually soaking up the sun on a rock.

Dassie on Table mountain.

Views of Camps Bay from Table mountain

.Below: more views on the Atlantic coast, the Twelve Apostles rising from the shoreline.

At the top of Table mountain

Below: Cable car and views over Lion’s head.

Views of the Table mountain cable car

.Below: more views towards the city center. The island beyond is Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years.

Cape Town from Table mountain. What you need to know about taking the Cable car up Table Mountain, Cape Town

Lion's head and Cape Town from Table Mountain. What you need to know about taking the Cable car up Table Mountain, Cape Town

.Below: Looking out at the dramatic coastline.

Table Mountain views. What you need to know about taking the Cable car up Table Mountain, Cape Town


.Related: Hiking up Table Mountain


Tips and Resources

If and when to go. Before deciding to go up Table Mountain, I would recommend first visiting the Table Mountain website and checking 1) if the Cableway is open (it can be closed when there are high winds) and 2) the waiting time at the lower station. I’ve seen days and times where the average waiting time can be 2 hours and others where it can be 5 minutes.
NOTE: Pre-book both your Hop On Hop Off Bus ticket AND your Cable Car Ticket. It’s flexible for 14 days from 1st use – meaning no lineup to buy tickets, no losing out because of bad weather (because it’s flexible), and you can tour around the city on the 4 bus routes that the City Sightseeing bus offers (for us it was a highlight, we even took the purple line to the Groot Constantia winery).
–  Time to spend. If you’re doing the above non-adventurous walks around the peak, you’ll most likely end up spending anytime between 1-2 hours up top.
Getting to the Cableway Station: About 15 minutes from downtown Cape Town. If you are taking the city sightseeing bus (which you should take when visiting Cape Town), the Red tour comes up here. As mentioned above, the best deal is booking the tour that includes both the bus and the cable car ticket.
Times. First cable car up is at 8 am, the last one down is at 8pm.
– BRING A SWEATER! It gets cold up there.
More information from the official website.


Related: 15 Things to Do in and around Cape Town


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What you need to know about taking the Cable car up Table Mountain
What you need to know about taking the Cable car up Table Mountain

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  1. No Spanky No!!!!!!!!! No Spanky No!!!! 🙂 . Oh hell..no! Spanky no!!!! That’s all l have to say. Gorgeous pictures as usual …glad you survived the paragliding . Nooooo!!!!!!! Spanky Noooooooo!!!!! Gotta have a voice of reason 🙂

  2. That’s a long way up! Enjoyed the video it really added to perspective. Can’t wait to read about your paragliding experience. That’s something that freaks me out, but I’m at the point in my life I’m up to getting out of my comfort zone… esp. if Spanky does it. Yes… Go Spanky Go. lol. I’m right there with Sarah (Jetsetting Fools) – I’m having a serious travel envy moment right now.

    1. Did the paragliding today and was a great experience. And not at all scary, I think we build it up in our minds…will be posting the video by the end of the week.
      Spanky? Maybe..Go Spanky, Go!
      She’s feeling the pressure and getting so pissed right now…

  3. I’ve been wanting to visit South Africa for the longest time – or just the African continent for that matter! I’ve heard nothing but great things about South Africa and Cape Town. From your pictures, I can see that it’s such a beautiful city. I love the fact that the cable car rotates so that you can really take in the full view. And until now, I’d never heard of Dassies. How ironic that they’re elephants’ closest relatives! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Dana. The geography in Cape Town is amazing, yet it’s never too hot (the sun is but there’s almost always a cool breeze off the mountain. Perfect sunburn weather!). A few people freaked out about the rotating cable car and went in the middle where there was no rotation.
      Hope you make it here one day 🙂

  4. Loved the video Frank . Hv heard about Premiere Elements which is supposedly a v professional editing programme , but reportedly pretty hard to get the hang of ? Anyway the video came out really great . May hv to try it – I am still with Pinnacle Studio….. Looking forward to seeing your paragliding trip (and video from the flight ? ) as well as the hike up and on TM . Are you taking one of the routes up from Kirstenbosch Gardens ?
    And then we want to see Spanky doing the same … We want Spanky, we want Spanky ! Enjoy the flight – hairy stuff !

    1. Thanks so much Tony: from the video Master himself!! Yes, Premiere Elements is very professional and complicated as hell for me, compounded by my impatience. I would need to take a course on it. But as it is I learn maybe one little thing at a time…Tony, you do such a great job with your videos and you’ve got the hang of your program – I wouldn’t change anything up. PE would have you going crazy.
      Oh yeah, paragliding tomorrow. I’ll make sure to add some music to the video this time.
      The hike I will be doing (next week) is the India Vensper hike: http://www.hiketablemountain.co.za/hiking-routes-table-mountain/ . Supposedly one of their most popular hikes. I’d also like to do a couple more if this one goes well.
      Yes, we all want to see Spanky paraglide. You know that would be funny. Go Spanky, Go! 🙂

  5. Ahhh 🙂 Brings back memories from our time in Cape Town. Love the video! Very much looking forward to hearing if you hike it and your thoughts. I wanted to hike it, but we sort of chickened out in the end and just did the cable car.

    1. Thanks for the comment about the video Sarah…still working on that and maybe I’ll put music to my next video.
      I can’t back out of hiking it, I booked a hike for next week.
      But you think that’s crazy? Tomorrow I’m paragliding off Lion’s Head. And Spanky says if I come out of it alive she may consider doing it too. Now that would be funny because she would totally freak out!!

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