Table Mountain Experience

Table Mountain Tours

I am spending some of my lock-down time writing blogs on some of the places folk can experience on my tours of Cape Town. I am a qualified Tour Guide and have been in operation for 17 years. The reviews on Trip Advisor reflects many happy customers. 🙂

I decided to start with Table Mountain as it is Cape Town’s Icon and is very prominent on my logo. 

Table Mountain is an excellent way to start your holiday in Cape Town.  Whether you are energetic and ascend it by climbing up one of it’s many routes or more genteelly via the Cable Car. This is a great way to orientate yourself in the City. (It is always advised to walk with a trained and qualified mountain tour guide.)

The views are stupendous from the East towards the Hottentots Holland Mountains or out towards False Bay. There are also beautiful views across to Cape Point, the Atlantic Coast line and over the beautiful Mother City and Table Bay harbour.

In this blog I will discuss the Geology and Flora and Fauna of Table Mountain. In my next blog, I will share the history of Table Mountain, its impact on the people and the development of the Mother City.


Geology of Table Mountain

Table Mountain is 1 084,6m tall (3,558ft) and has, what appears from a far, to be a flat top, hence the name, Table Mountain.

Table Mountain is about 260 million years old, older than the Andes which are 250 million years old, the Rockies and the Himalayas.

  •  More than 500 million years ago, the Cape region was under the ocean. There were rivers descending from the north bringing with them layers and layers of sand and stone which were deposited onto the Granite/ Malmsbury plain.
  • These layers of sediment piled up over millions of years and were forced downwards.
  •  The deeper sediments turned from loose sand into Sandstone and then into very hard Table Mountain Quartzite.
  •  Around 300 million years ago, the top of the mountain was at sea level. During an ice age, sheets of ice flattened the layers of sandstone which created the flat surface.
  • 250 million years ago Gondwanaland was created when continental plates collided.
  • This resulted in land masses being pushed together, crushing layers of sediments.
  • Granite and Malmsbury layers were lifted to form fold and faulted mountain ranges. 
  • The Cape Fold belt which stretches from Clanwilliam to Port Elizabeth was formed along the Cape Coast.
  • These mountains were fold or fault mountains, however Table Mountain was formed with its flat surface as it’s horizontal layers remained horizontal.
  • Table Mountain was once 3km high but that over the millions of years, it eroded down to its current height of just over 1km in height.

Flora and Fauna of Table Mountain

There are over 1 500 species of plants on Table Mountain which is more than that found in Great Britain.  Over 100 of these plants are endemic to this area. 

Fynbos is the most prominent type of vegetation found on the mountain. There are various types of Protea, Restios (Reeds), Erica (Heather) and many types of Geophytes (Bulbous plants).

Birds, Reptiles, Insects, and many mammals have made their home here. One such Mammal, which is a source of much amusement is the Rock Hyrax or Dassie. 

According to well respected research, the Dassie is the closest living relative to the Elephant. This is apparently deduced due to similarities in the structure of their teeth and feet. 

It is very hard to believe when you witness the Dassie doing very un-elephant things like running up vertical rock faces. They are able to do this thanks to a sticky substance they secrete from their feet. The Dassie also collapses it’s rib cage so it can squeeze into small crevices.

As a Tour Guide, one of my favourite times to visit this breathtaking mountain is sunset when the sun sinks into the Atlantic.  There is something very special and romantic about admiring this spectacle from the top of this beautiful Mountain.

I urge you to come to Cape Town and experience the beauty and Splendours of Table Mountain and the Mother City, and hire me as your tour guide.  Its history, geography, culture, diversity and natural beauty will fascinate and astound you!

Posted in Blog, News, Tours.