The Table Mountain National Park is made up of a number of exquisitely beautiful natural attractions in the broader Cape Town area.
Those not familiar with Cape Town would be excused for thinking that the Table Mountain National Park is a national park found on Table Mountain in Cape Town. But the Table Mountain National Park is in fact made up of a host of stunning natural areas and attractions in the broader Cape Town area, and not just the mountain.
The places to explore that are officially part of Table Mountain National Park are: Boulders Beach penguin colony, Silvermine, Cape Point at the Cape of Good Hope, Signal Hill and Lion’s Head, and of course, Table Mountain itself.
TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
TABLE MOUNTAIN AND CABLEWAY
For the active tourist, a trip up the mountain is definitely a must, and there are a host of different hikes that will get you to the top, or you can just enjoy a walk on the contour paths on the lower slopes of the mountain. Take plenty of water and some warm clothes and have the emergency contact number with you in case anything goes wrong.
he Cableway is one of the iconic Cape Town things to do in Cape Town and is a leisurely way to get to the top of the mountain to see breathtaking views of the city, harbour and the Atlantic Seaboard.
There is a restaurant on top or you can go for a hike and return to catch the cable car down again. In bad weather the cableway may be closed, so do check ahead if it is running. It is advisable to book online for an easier queueing experience.
SIGNAL HILL AND LION’S HEAD
This is the northern-most section of the park and is a short drive from the city centre. Signal Hill is a well-known viewing spot and affords views of the city and harbour. This is where the noon day gun goes off at 12:00 each day.
Lion’s Head peak can be reached via a very popular hike from where a 360 degree view of the Atlantic Seaboard, city and harbour can be enjoyed.
SILVERMINE NATURE RESERVE, TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Located in the central section of the park, it is reached via Ou Kaapse Weg, with two main access gates. The gate to the right of Ou Kaapse Weg takes you to a picturesque dam with a wheelchair-friendly walk around the dam, or a river walk.
Hikers and mountain bikers can enjoy a wide range of trails among the fynbos and there are braai/picnic sites available. The gate on the left of Ou Kaapse Weg further down towards Noordhoek, provides a further parking area from which to take a hike.
BOULDERS BEACH PENGUIN COLONY
The penguin colony in Simonstown on the South Peninsula is one of only a few colonies of the endangered African penguin in the world. This section of the park is made up of three beaches, a penguin viewing area and two boardwalks.
The beaches are ideal for young children as the large boulders form a protected bay in which to swim.
Care must be taken to ensure you keep a safe distance from the penguins. There are restaurants nearby but you can also take a picnic with you to the beach.
CAPE POINT, CAPE OF GOOD HOPE
This is an extremely popular tourist destination on the South Peninsula. There is a wide range of wildlife such as eland, bontebok, zebra, red hartebeest and ostriches, so this is the only section of Table Mountain National Park that is fenced.
At the point itself, the most south western point in Africa, you can walk up to view the lighthouses or catch the Flying Dutchman funicular railway to the top. There is a formal restaurant, as well as more casual options for refreshments.
Silvermine is ideal for hiking, cycling and picnics and the beaches offer great angling.
The Discover Africa Group has developed a handy South African National Parks website so you can explore all 19 of the national parks in South Africa, including Table Mountain National Park and the Kruger National Park. You can make bookings for accommodation and view further details at the SANParks website.
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