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A visit to Cape Town would not be complete without trip to Table Mountain. One of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, Table Mountain is a South African icon and host one of the richest, most bio diverse floral kingdoms on earth. The mountain is home to over 1500 species of plants, which is more than the number found throughout the entire British Isles, many of which are endemic to the mountain and can be found nowhere else on the planet.
The original name given to this mountain by the San people was Howrikwaggo or “Mountain of the Sea.” In the early 1500′s, António de Saldanha, a Portuguese explorer, christened it: Taboa do Cabo or “Table of the Cape,” which eventually became popularized as the world famous: “Table Mountain.”
It is often covered in cloud which is known as the ‘Table cloth’. The highest point is 1,086 meters (3,563 ft) above sea level. You can get to the top of Cape Town’s most famous icon in just five minutes by taking a cable car up, or spend the better part of your day hiking it.
You cannot travel through Cape Town without seeing the majestic mountain. The stunning mountain side, recognizable by the flat top, is a visible landmark and popular tourist location.
The drive up was a little tense for me, we were in a large bus and there is no kind of raising or anything on the narrow road just sheer drop off on one side. I tried not to look. The ride back down was even more nerve-racking.
The views while driving up the side of the mountain to the park area are breathtaking even before you hop in one of the two cable cars that will carry you to the top of the towering wonder.
If I thought the views on the way up were breathtaking they were nothing in comparison to the view my eyes and brain tried to soak in once I was at the top of the mountain. It really is awe inspiring. It is difficult to put into words the way you feel when you stand and look out upon such beauty.
From the top of Table Mountain you get magnificent views of Cape Town, the suburbs, and the Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day you can easily pick out other landmarks like Robben Island and the Cape Town Stadium.
The day was clear and beautiful. We are able to pick out several landmarks and get a bird’s eye view of how the city is laid out. I am grateful for the clear day and amazing views, but I find myself secretly wishing that there was more cloud cover. I imagine what it would be like to stand atop the mountain and watch as the clouds roll by just below the peak. Locals tell us that cloud cover is common and some days you cannot even see the city for the clouds.
I would love to have had the chance to be on top of the mountain during one of those days, the entire city bowl covered in clouds, my mind cannot even begin to fathom what it would be like to watch the magic of the sun rise up out of those clouds burning them away to reveal the pristine city below.