Opened in 1929, and extensively refurbished in 1997 when new cars and double cabling were introduced, the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has transported more than 16 million people to the top of Table Mountain, a dramatic ride wblch offer I wonderful views of Cape Town and surrounds, both on the way up and from the summit.
This isn't a journey for- the faint-hearted (or vertigo sufferers). Some 1,200 m (3,940 ft) of cable link the Lower Cable Station on Tafelberg Road near Kloof Nek with the Upper Cable Station on the westernmost end of the Table Mountain Plateau. In the course of their upward journey, the cars rise steeply from a height of 302 m (990 ft) to 1,067 m (3,500 ft). The latest Rotair cars can each earn 65 passengers, more than doubling the capacity of the old cars.
Once up there are various pathways leading to stunning views over Cape Town, Table Bay, Robben Island, Cape Flats and the Cape Peninsula. There are three signed walks. Klipspinger Walk follows the plateau edge above Platteklip Gorge. Agama Walk has been designed to give wonderful all-round views of Cape Town. Dassie Walk offers spectacular views to the north, south and west. There are two free, guided plateau tours each day, at 10.00 am and noon.
Directions to the Cableway are found on all major roads into and in Cape Town - follow the brown information boards. There is ample parking near the lower cable station. You can't book in advance, but queuing is rarely necessary. Hours of operation vary according to season, and the service can be suspended at short notice if wind speeds become too severe. Always take a jacket, as it is usually much cooler above than below.
By cable car
WHEN TO GO
Any time of year
TIME IT TAKES
Seeing a 360° View of Cape Town during the journey, thanks to the cable car's rotating floor.
An extraordinary diversity of pIant life on the summit - look especially for the sunshine conebushes in full flower (summer only).
· Doing it the hard way - a serious hike from Plattklip Gorge to the · Upper Cable Station, returning by cable car (or vice versa if you want gravity on your side).
YOU SHOULD KNOW
The dassie, or rock hyrax - a small rabbit-lik.e creature likely to be encountered on the flat summit – is surprisingly the elephant's ciosest Hving anatomical relative.