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On Top Of Table Mountain

On Top Of Table Mountain

Table Mountain is one of South Africa's most visited tourist attractions; so, if you are travelling up by cablecar, be prepared to queue at the height of the season, as the company does not accept bookings.

If there is a strong wind blowing, or the mountain is covered in cloud, phone in advance to check whether or not the cablecar is operating. Tel: 021 424 8181.

The trip to the top takes just six minutes, and the gondolas rotate through 360 degrees on the way up. Once there, a vast network of pathways leads you over the massif, with breathtaking views of the city and ocean below.

A popular option is to take a one-way ticket and climb up or down the mountain - but, be warned, Table Mountain is one of the most dangerous mountains in the world.

Mountain rescue teams carry out scores of rescues a year, many of foreign tourists.

The routes up and down the mountain are poorly marked, and several paths that start out looking easy lead to sheer cliff faces. If you are new to the mountain, and are not experienced, it is far better to play safe and hire a registered mountain guide to take you - call the Mountain Club of South Africa on 021 465 3412 during office hours.

Hikers must wear good hiking boots - don't even think of trying to climb the mountain in sandals or flip-flops.

You must always carry foul weather clothing, especially a windbreaker, even at the height of summer as the weather can change in minutes.

You should also carry a brightly coloured item of clothing for signalling.

Also carry a torch, water, food, a good map, a hat, and a cellphone in case of an emergency (dial 021 948 9900 or 112 from a cellphone), although there are areas where there is no cellphone coverage.

Always tell someone reliable what route you intend taking, and at what time you expect to return - and if you don't return by your cut-off time, they must alert the rescue services.

If you get lost, or find yourself in a potentially risky situation, stay put and try to summon help without moving from your spot.

It is essential that hikers do not split up in an emergency, unless you are in a large group and the more experienced members of the party go for help - it is very easy to get disoriented on the mountain and not be able to find injured people who have been left behind.

The bistro on the summit is without doubt the most spectacular sundowner spot in Africa. Operating times until January 31 are as follows: First car up, 8am, last car up, 9pm, and last car down 10pm.

Ticket prices are: Adult return R215, single R110; under- 18s return R105, single R55. (Valid 1 October 2013 to 30 September 2014) BUY TICKETS HERE!

The lower cable station is clearly signposted from all access routes to the city, and is at the top of Kloof Nek Road.

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