Table Mountain in South Africa
Transport yourself to another world during your holiday in Cape Town. Just a few mins' drive from the city, you'll find yourself at the base of South Africa's most iconic landmark, Table Mountain. Surrounded by stunning local wildlife and plant life, you'll soon forget the bustling vibe of the city that you left behind. Hoerikwaggo, or 'the mountain of the sea' to you and me, has been proclaimed as one of the new seven wonders of the world.
And it's easy to see why. Towering 1,085 meters above the port city below, from the top you'll be able to appreciate sweeping views of the stunning, picturesque surroundings. From the lush green rolling hills of neighbouring vineyards to the majestic blues of the Atlantic Ocean, Table Mountain's lofty heights give you a spectacular view of them all.
For postcard perfect pictures, try and plan your hike on a clear day so that you can take in the sights in their entirety. But don't write off a trip up this magnificent natural giant just because it's cloudy.
There's something truly magical about the way Lion's Head Mountain, Cape Town's other peak, rebelliously breaks through the surrounding white wisps of cloud. While holidays in South Africa promise year-round sunshine and favourable temperatures, it's still important to pack at least one thin, warm layer to take with you on your hike. The air and wind temperatures at high altitude are a lot cooler than those back at basecamp. You don't want a common cold to get in the way of your unforgettable holiday.
To give you an idea of its scale, Table Mountain is similar in size to Mount Snowdon in Wales. It's a bit of a challenge, but manageable for the whole family. There are two ways to scale the hulking hill. You can walk or catch the cable car. The cableway might seem like you're cheating, but with its unique 360-degree rotation, it's a brilliant way to get new perspectives of the city below as you descend from the summit. Can you spot the boats leaving for Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was infamously held?
We recommend that you walk up the mountain, then put your feet up as you relax and take in the sights on the way back down. It's the best of both worlds. As well as breathtaking views, the natural flora of Table Mountain will leave you reeling in awe. Especially at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. That's right, the mountain has its own nature preserve! Growing only indigenous South African plants, there are 528 hectares (that's about 528 international rugby fields!) of nature to enjoy. Be sure to check out the gigantic Baobab Tree.
The fields back up into one of Table Mountain's easiest trials, Skeleton Gorge. This makes a visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens the perfect addition to a jaw-dropping day of hiking.
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