Table Mountain cable car, Tafelberg-Seilbahn
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Important information you need to know about purchasing tickets, prices, nearby car parks and waiting times for the Table Mountain cable car

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Table Mountain, the unmistakable landmark of Cape Town, attracts visitors from all over the world and is one of the top tourist attractions in South Africa. A view over the city from its summit is a must-have experience for anyone visiting Cape Town, and it is often the biggest bucket list item for tourists.

Even though there are 357 different hiking routes leading to the summit, hiking the mountain may not be for everyone. Although I enjoy hiking in Germany, Bernie is not a keen hiker, and therefore, we often choose alternative ways to experience beautiful landscapes. Luckily, for those like us who do not have the stamina or time to hike Table Mountain, there is a modern and convenient cable car.

It is important to know that some of the hikes on Table Mountain are very challenging and can be dangerous without a guide or group of people.

This article provides all the information you need to make your visit to Table Mountain unforgettable.

Table Mountain: One of the seven natural wonders

In 2012, Table Mountain was included in the exclusive list of the Natural Seven Wonders of the World. According to Bernard Weber, founder of the New7Wonders Foundation, these seven natural wonders are places of breathtaking natural beauty that must be preserved and protected for future generations. Interestingly, Table Mountain, in Cape Town, South Africa, is the most accessible of the New Seven Wonders and the only one located within a city.

The 1087-metre-high Table Mountain owes its name to its striking flat plateau, which is more reminiscent of a tabletop than a pointed peak. Unique flora and fauna have developed on its slopes, making it a fascinating ecological hotspot.

Table Mountain, Tafelberg views from Bloubergstrand side
Table Mountain (view from Bloubergstrand)

Interesting facts about the Table Mountain cable car

The Table Mountain cable car was opened in 1929 and remains accident-free. Since its inception, it has undergone three major refurbishments: the first in 1958, the second in 1974, and again in 1997.

What is unique about the Table Mountain cable car in Cape Town?

During the four-minute journey to the summit, the circular cabin rotates around itself, giving every passenger a unique view over Cape Town, Signal Hill, and the summit station. The spacious gondola can accommodate up to 65 people. In addition to its impressive mechanics, the cable car company’s sustainability initiatives are world-leading. The cable car has been awarded the Platinum Heritage Environmental Rating, the highest accolade for responsible tourism.

Here are a few interesting facts about the Table Mountain cable car in Cape Town:

  • Capacity per hour: 880 people
  • Gondola journey time: 4-5 minutes
  • Length of the route: 1200 metres
  • Height difference: 765 metres

The opening hours of the Table Mountain cable car

High season (15 December – 15 January)

08:00 First ascent

20:00 Last ascent

21:00 Last descent

 

High season (16 January – 31 January)

08:00 First ascent

19:30 Last ascent

20:30 Last descent

 

Summer (1 February – 10 April):

08:00 First ascent

18:30 Last ascent

19:30 Last descent

 

Winter (1 May – 31 August)

08:30 First ascent

16:00 Last ascent

17:00 Last descent

 

Spring (1 September – 14 December)

08:30 First ascent

18:00 Last ascent

19:00 Last descent

PRO TIP1:

The cable car’s operation is weather-dependent, and it is, therefore, often closed during storms or windy days. We highly recommend you consult the tablemountain.net website before going to the starting point.

PRO Tip2

The cable car is closed for maintenance work from 15 July to 1 September 2024.

Table Mountain cable car, Signal Hill, Tafelberg
View from the Gondola

Tickets and prices for the Table Mountain cable car

Tickets can be purchased at the cable car’s bottom station. However, the easiest way is to book your tickets online shortly before you want to go at webticket.co.za. This saves you from having to queue to buy tickets.

Prices until 30 September 2024

In the morning (08:00 – 13:00)

Return R450 (children, 4-17 years R210)

One-way R240 (children, 4-17 years R130)

Afternoon (from 13:00)

Return R360 (children R 180)

One-way R240 (children R 130)

PRO TIP3

You can check the current waiting times for the cable car on the website.

Waiting times can be more than an hour during peak season. If you don’t enjoy waiting in queues like us, you can opt for a Fast Track ticket. You select a time slot and can then go directly to the gondola via a separate side entrance. On the way down, you can take the next gondola in line without any waiting time. We found this option extremely convenient.

When is the best time to go up Table Mountain?

The best time to take the gondola ride up Table Mountain naturally depends on your planned activities for the day and the amount of time you want to spend at the top. To avoid long waiting times, we recommend going early in the morning, between 8:00 and 9:00 am or late afternoon from 4:00 pm.

There are also significant differences in waiting times depending on the day of the week. We found Mondays are generally less busy than usual, and Thursdays are the busiest. On our last visit just before Easter 2024, we opted for Monday afternoon and were pleasantly surprised at how quiet it was. There were no waiting times either on the way up or on the way down. However, if you want to make sure you can go up Table Mountain without waiting in line, the Fast Track Ticket mentioned above is certainly your best option.

After periods of adverse weather conditions and the temporary closure of the cable car, it is advisable to wait a few days until there is a nice sunny day (if you have additional days in Cape Town) before making the trip up Table Mountain. Consequently, in the first two days after the closure, there is an increased number of visitors.

PRO TIP 4: For the best experience, try to go up as late as possible in the afternoon to watch the sunset from Table Mountain. Then, you can take one of the last gondolas down.

Tabel Mountain, Tafelberg
You have wonderful views to all directions

What experiences does Table Mountain offer?

The most outstanding aspect of climbing Table Mountain is undoubtedly the breathtaking view from the summit. This unique panoramic view is the main reason why most visitors want to explore the 1087-metre-high mountain.

In addition to hiking up Table Mountain, you can also hike the top of Table Mountain. The extensive, flat plateau offers ample space for walks of various lengths. The hiking trails are well-marked, and free guided tours are offered daily between 9 am and 3 pm.

There is also a very nice restaurant called the Table Mountain Café on top of Table Mountain, where we enjoyed lunch on a terrace with spectacular mountains and city views.

Table Mountain cable car station, Tafelberg Berstation
Table Mountain cable car station

Parking and getting to Table Mountain Cable Car

If you are staying overnight in Cape Town, the easiest way to get to the cable car station is by Uber or taxi.

Of course, you can also drive to Table Mountain by car. Although there is no conventional car park at the cable car station, you can park along the road for a few kilometres before and after the station. Alternatively, you can park at the Park and Ride car park at the Kloof Nek circle and use the free shuttle.

Another option is to take the hop-on, hop-off Red Bus. The bus also stops at the Table Mountain cable car, as well as many other exciting attractions. There are even Red Bus bus tickets that include the cable car journey.

Table Mountain with children

A visit to Table Mountain is also an exciting experience for children, especially the ride on the rotating gondola. It is possible to take strollers, but the paths of the hiking routes are not ideal for strollers as they are very uneven. Ask for the wheelchair map to see which routes are suitable for strollers.

Once at the top, it is important to take good care of the little ones, as the descent is very steep. Special attention should be paid to sun protection, as there is only shade in front of the station and at the restaurant.

Is Table Mountain accessible for wheelchairs?

If you come by car to the lower cable car station as a wheelchair user, you will be asked to show your disability card, and the staff will allocate you a nearby parking space.

You can also borrow a wheelchair at the gondola by leaving your ID or driving licence as a deposit.

Wheelchair users are taken immediately to the lift, which takes them to the gondola departure platform.

A special map for wheelchair users shows which routes are suitable.

The De Grendel wine bar above the top station is easily accessible by wheelchair and offers breathtaking views.

Conclusion

A visit to Table Mountain is an absolute must for anyone visiting Cape Town. The breathtaking views over Cape Town, Hout Bay and the majestic 12 Apostles mountain range are experiences not to be missed. The views are overwhelming and will create unforgettable memories.

The gondola ride to the top is an extraordinary experience. However, it is important to choose the right day for this excursion. Clear visibility and as little wind as possible are ideal conditions to get the most out of your visit.

View over Table Bay
View over Table Bay

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About Author

Petra Top is a dynamic freelance travel journalist hailing from Altusried, Germany, who expertly balances her roles as a Motorsport enthusiast, translator, author, and social media strategist. Her expert skill set includes web designing, multilingual communications, and photography, enriched by notable memberships in international travel and food writers' organisations. Petra's life philosophy—"I travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape me"—captivates her audience, reflecting her passion for exploration and sustainable innovation at Travel Buddies Lifestyle.

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