33 Interesting Facts About Table Mountain

Table Mountain is a majestic landmark located in Cape Town, South Africa. Standing tall at approximately 1,086 meters (3,563 feet), it boasts a flat, table-like summit that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city, coastline, and surrounding natural beauty. With its rich biodiversity and iconic presence, Table Mountain is a cherished symbol of Cape Town and a popular destination for visitors seeking awe-inspiring vistas and outdoor adventures. Here are some most interesting facts about this intriguing landmark:

Table Mountain overlooking the city of Cape Town, South Africa
Table Mountain overlooking the city of Cape Town, South Africa

image: westerncape.gov.za

1. Over 260 million years old

Table Mountain, One of the Oldest in the World
Table Mountain, One of the Oldest in the World

Table Mountain is older than the Andes, the Alps, the Rocky Mountains, and the Himalayas. Basically, it is the mountain equivalent of Gandalf the White from The Lord of the Rings…feels the power.
Image: cdn2.asthebirdfliesblog.com

2. Mountain in the sea!

In Khoisan Language, Table Mountain is referred to as “Hoerikwaggo” – meaning mountain in the sea.

3. World’s smallest floral kingdom

Table Mountain forms part of the Cape Floristic Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s smallest but most diverse floral kingdom.

4. Endemic plants

More than 70% of all the plants found on the mountain are endemic, meaning they are not found anywhere else. They are estimated to be 2,200 species of plants.
source: tablemountainnationalpark.org

5. “The Table Cloth”

Clouds on the Table Mountain
Clouds on the Table Mountain

Table Mountain is often covered in the clouds which are known as the ‘Tablecloths.’
Image: 1.bp.blogspot.com

6. “Seven Wonders of Nature”

In 2011, Table Mountain was voted one of the New7Wonders of Nature, a global campaign to identify the most awe-inspiring natural sites.

7. Hiking heaven

Tourists hiking Table Mountain

With numerous well-marked trails, Table Mountain is a paradise for hikers, offering breathtaking vistas and challenging routes.
Image: southafrica.net

8. Shipwreck tales

Over 2,500 shipwrecks have occurred along the treacherous coast beneath Table Mountain, adding to its historical intrigue.

9. The Perfect Wedding Destination!

Wedding on Table Mountain
Wedding on Table Mountain

At least one wedding takes place every week on the summit of Table Mountain.
Image: exclusiveafricatravel.com

10. Unusual wildlife

Table Mountain Fauna, Cape Town, South Africa
Table Mountain Fauna, Cape Town, South Africa

Table Mountain is a top location to spot unusual wildlife, including the small furry animal known as the dassie (Rock Hyrax). Other animals that can be seen include rare ghost frogs, tortoises, 20 species of snakes, lizards, porcupines, and many species of birds.
Image: justalittlefurther.com

11. Best Time To Visit!

Late summer, which extends from January to late April, is the best time to visit Cape Town. Visiting the mountain depends upon the weather conditions as on cloudy and windy days, the aerial cableway remains closed. The warmer months between November and April are ideal for hiking.

12. Home to most venomous snakes

Cape Cobra, South Africa
Cape Cobra, South Africa
Boomslang Snake
Boomslang Snake

There are 22 species of snakes on Table Mountain, the five most venomous are the Cape Cobra, Puff Adder, Boomslang, Rinkhals, and Berg Adder.
Image: biodiversityexplorer.org, Image: ophidiansblog.files.wordpress.com

13. Highest point

Maclears Beacon, Table Mountain, South Africa

The highest point of Table Mountain is Maclears Beacon at 1086m, 19m higher than the cable station at the western end of the plateau.

14. Cableway: A thrilling ride

Table Mountain Cable Car
Table Mountain Cable Car

There is a facility of the cableway, which is surely going to thrill you more. The Table mountain cableway opened in 1929. There’s nothing like taking in the amazing views of Cape Town and the fresh air at the summit of Table Mountain.
Image: tablemountain.net

15. Uneven rainfall

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, Cape Town, South Africa
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, Cape Town, South Africa

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are on the east side of the table mountain. The rainfall on this side is much higher than on the other faces, hence the dense vegetation.
Image: media-cdn.tripadvisor.com

16. A gift to the Earth

In 1998, former President Nelson Mandela proclaimed Table Mountain, “a gift to the Earth”.

17. Table Mountain National Park

Table Mountain National Park, previously known as the Cape Peninsula National Park, is a national park in Cape Town, South Africa that was established on May 19, 1998, to protect the natural environment of Table Mountain.

18. First one to reach the summit

The man who first called it so was Antonio de Saldanha, a Portuguese explorer. In 1503, he became the first white man to hike up Table Mountain, and he named it Taboa do Cabo – Table of the Cape.

19. Dassie Dwellings

Close up picture of a dassie (hyrax) on the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa
Close-up picture of a dassie (hyrax) on the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa

The mountain is home to a large population of dassies, or rock hyraxes, which are small, furry mammals resembling guinea pigs.
Image: Wikimedia

20. Birdwatcher’s paradise

Table Mountain is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 220 species of birds recorded in the area, including the endangered African black oystercatcher.

21. Magnetic Mystery

The rocks on Table Mountain contain traces of magnetism, which has led scientists to speculate about the mountain’s magnetic history.

22. Botanical Treasure Trove

The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, situated at the foot of Table Mountain, showcases a vast collection of indigenous plants.

23. Star Wars Connection

The distinctive silhouette of Table Mountain was used as a filming location for the 2015 movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

24. Geological Marvel

The rocks on Table Mountain are primarily made up of sandstone, which has eroded over millions of years, creating its distinctive shape.

25. Fynbos Wonderland

Table Mountain Fynbos vegetation with Lion's head in background
Table Mountain Fynbos vegetation with Lion’s head in the background

The slopes of Table Mountain are adorned with fynbos, a unique type of shrubland found only in the Cape region.
Image: Flickr

26. Echoing Caves

Deep within the mountain, there are several caves, including the historic Wynberg Caves, which were used by early Khoi and Dutch settlers.

27. Table Mountain is moving away!

Table Mountain is slowly moving away from the African continent due to tectonic plate movements.

28. Fossils Galore

The rocks on the mountain contain numerous fossils, including ancient sea creatures that once inhabited the area when it was underwater.

29. Famous Summit Visitors

Prominent figures such as Sir Edmund Hillary and former U.S. President Barack Obama have visited the summit of Table Mountain.

30. Unique Microclimates

The mountain’s varying altitudes and exposure to different wind patterns give rise to diverse microclimates, supporting a wide range of flora and fauna.

31. Geological Formation Mystery

The exact geological processes that shaped Table Mountain and its flat plateau continue to be a subject of scientific investigation and debate.

32. Haunting Legends

Table Mountain is steeped in folklore, with stories of mythical creatures, hidden treasures, and ghostly apparitions haunting its slopes.

33. Geological Heritage Site

Table Mountain has been designated as a Geological World Heritage Site, highlighting its scientific importance and geological significance.