In the heart of the Mother City, South Africa's very own natural wonder is situated. Table Mountain, one of the world's most iconic geographical features.
Table Mountain, with its adjacent peak, Lion's Head, what remains of an ancient range, which dates back over 200 million years. Worn down by erosion and time, Table Mountain was separated from this range, which once connected it to the Hottentots Holland Mountains. It is an ancient natural monument, which was once called "Hoerikwaggo" by the Khoikhoi people, which translates to 'Mountain of the Sea'. With the arrival of the Cape, the Portuguese explorer, Antonio de Saldanha, hiked up the mountain and decided to name it 'Taboa de Cabo', which means 'Table of the Cape'. Later, in 1652, Dutch settlers started calling it 'Tafelberg', meaning Table Mountain.
Natural Wonders of the world, and acts as a tourist mecca, but the Table of the Cape is more than just a mountain. It falls into the collection of SAN Parks, making it a unique nature reserve, and is home to an abundance of unique flora and fauna.
Table Mountain has close to 1500 different plant species, most notably the Fynbos. Fynbos is an Afrikaans word that means 'delicate bush'. This is an old type of vegetation and some species back about 60 million years! The fynbos consists of 4 primary plant groups - the Proteas (South African National flower), ericas, restios and the geophytes. There are about 500 different types of Erica and around 100 Iris species to be found. Despite the fact that runaway fires are threatening to survive, it needs fire to help promote healthy growth. The fire helps with seed dispersal, which then leads to new growth.
Table Mountain is home to a local species of Rock hyrax, better known as a 'dassie' in South Africa. Dassie's often get mixed for small rabbits, but they are hoofed mammals and are related to elephants. They have a short, furry body with short hoofed legs and a tiny tail. The dassie is a very nimble climber, easily handled around the rocks of Table Mountain, two to the pads on their feet, which act as suction cups.
Table Mountain their home are some rare frogs, such as the Table Mountain ghost frog, which is critically endangered, and the Cape Chirping frog.
Some of the more commonly seen angular tortoise, the parrot-beaked tortoise, and more than 20 snake species, plenty of little lizards, birds galore, Eland and mongoose.
When in Cape Town, a visit to Table Mountain is a must. Which way you chose to ascend to, by cable car or trail, to trip by the mother. From this exceptional vantage point, you can see the Cape Malay Quarter, the Company Gardens and the ocean embracing it all. For the romantic at the heart, the sunset, giving you a unique experience of kissing the ocean. Goodnight as it is lighting the Cape for the romantic, having faded into the last of the day.
Be sure to book a ticket when creating your destination vacation to the Cape.