Paarl Rock are three granite outcrops, second biggest on earth, which are more than 500 million years old. It was declared a Nature Reserve in 1977.
It’s a great destination all year round, but it should be sunny or at least dry. The rocks are utterly exposed, it can be windy and it’s not pleasant with rain. In September and October, beautiful proteas and wildflowers are in bloom.
Paarl Rock is still a "hidden" gem and more known by the South Africans. Therefore, on weekends and public holidays, it’s a bit crowded especially the braai (BBQ) areas. At weekdays enjoy the tranquility on top of the rocks.
The “dry” season lasts from November to March. In summer it can get hot around midday. Bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Most rainfall from May to August with its peak in June. In winter temperatures range from 8 to about 16^C.
Opening Hours of the Paarl Rock Nature Reserve
- Summer: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. (1 Oct – 31 March)
- Winter: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. (1 April – 30 Sept)
- Last entry 1 hour before closure times.
We spent several days in Cape Town for the perfect, clear day without any clouds at table mountain.
The Table Mountain is a truly magnificient landmark in South Africa. It's an iconic landmark with stunning views of Cape Town and its surroundings. Table Mountain can be visited year round. However, we are happy provide you with essential time of day tips and details about the best months. [This guide was updated in late 2019]
When to Go
The best time to visit Table Mountain is from October to March. Those are the driest months, as the most rain falls between May and September. The perfect time of day to go up is in the morning before it gets busy and too hot. Either take the first cable car (8:00 am / 8:30) or start hiking early.
Read more details below about the cable car operating times, time of day tips, getting to the top, weather, and why we would visit in the winter months as well.
Table Mountain is 'open' and accessible 24 hours each day throughout the year. That means you could theoretically hike up and down whenever you want. However, we do not recommend this! Especially when it's still dark in the morning or already getting dark in the evening. Safety first! If you don't want to hike or use the cable car for at least one direction (read below: 'Getting to the Top'), the operating hours below are helpful for your trip. Keep in mind that during bad weather the cable car won't operate. If you aren't sure abou the weather conditions on a certain day, call their cable car weather hotline: +(0)21 424 8181
Cable Car Operating Hours 2019/2020
|First Cable Car up||Last Cable Car up||Last Cable Car down|
|16 Dec - 15 Jan||8:00||20:30||21:30|
|16 Jan - 31 Jan||8:00||19:30||20:30|
|1 Feb - 31 Mar||8:00||19:00||20:00|
|1 Apr - 30 Apr||8:00||18:30||19:30|
|1 May - 31 Aug||8:30||17:00||18:00|
Detailed Time of Day Tips
- If you hike, start very early before the cable car begins to operate. That way you'll avoid busy areas and dodge the heat as well in summer months.
- If you use the cable car to get to the top, also be early. Arrive as soon as they start operating in the morning. That way you'll avoid long waiting lines and a very crowded experience. For operating times click the official link (then scroll down): Cableway - Rates - Hours
Getting to the Top | Hiking or Cable Car
- Cable Car (Cable Way): You can get up and down via cableway. Please keep in mind, that it doesn't operate when the weather is bad, the visibility is poor or the wind is too strong. Find rates and operating times here: Cable Car Table Mountain - Official Site. Getting to the cable car itself is not difficult: Cableway - Getting There | Official Site. The easiest way is to book the combo tour (see the tours section below).
- Hiking: An even better experience is to hike. You can hike up and down. However, most visitors choose to hike up and then take the cable car down. It's not recommended to take the cable car up and then hike down. One exception: If the cable car closes you have to hike down. The two alternative routes for hiking are Platteklip Gorge and India Venster. The first one is easier, the second one more strenuous. Never hike alone due to safety reasons.
The best weather conditions at Table Mountain with the least rain are from October until March. Most rainfall (almost 80%) throughout the year happens from May until September. Summer temps range between 15°C and 27°C degrees. In the winter months between 7°C and 20°C. You won't experience any extremes, which results in both pleasant winter and summer periods. That means winter isn't a bad time to visit! But keep in mind that it's colder at the top of the mountain and windier. Always bring a suitable jacket or layer of clothes. The 'tablecloth': The famous and stunning looking cloud formation at Table Mountain is called tablecloth. It looks terrific even from the bottom.
In 1983 the first pair of African penguins established this colony. Nowadays there are about 2000 around the area of Boulders.
Boulders Penguin Colony is a stunning year-round destination, not only during the feeding/breeding season. Nowhere else in the world you get closer to African Penguins in the wild. However, it's often crowded.
Nearby Tip: Visit the breathtaking Table Mountain at Cape Town. We just updated our Table Mountain Guide (the link takes you to our article) with great tips you should know, as well as tour suggestions.
Photo by Kym Ellis on Unsplash
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
The busy months are November until March/April. However, it can be crowded in the shoulder and off-season as well, especially on the weekends. To beat the crowds and increase the chance of a parking lot, be there very early in the morning as soon as they open. Another idea is to go late: About 1 hour before they close. You'll see more penguins compared to mornings.
The breeding season is from February until August: It peaks from March to May. It's fascinating because all the penguins are at the beach feeding the small ones. The babies get fed for about two months in the late afternoon. Therefore you have to decide between fewer crowds but also fewer penguins in the morning and more crowds but also more penguins in the afternoon. Or go late before they close (see above Tourist crowds). In general, you'll spot more penguins in the breeding season than at other times.
Boulder Beach in the afternoon
- Winter: April - September 08:00 - 17:00
- Summer: December - January 07:00 - 19:30
- February - March 08:00 - 18:30
- October - November 08:00 - 18:30
- January: Juveniles are moulting, adults feeding up for the breeding season.
- February - August: Breeding season with most penguins at the beach.
- September - October: Penguins at sea, feeding up for moulting. Fewer penguins at the beach.
- November - December: Moulting season.
Best weather with least rain is from October until March. The chance of increasing rainfall starts in May and lasts until September. Simons Town Weather Averages