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Table Mountain is a truly magnificent 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 to provide you with the essential time of day, tips, and details about the best months. [This guide was updated in March 2020]
When to Go
The best time to visit Table Mountain is from October to March. Those are the driest months, as 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 about 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 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.
Weather and Seasons
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. During summer, the southeaster, often called "Cape Doctor" by the locals, can blow for days on end. 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.
Table Mountain is also famous for endemic flowers and plants like the pride of table mountain. The "disa uniflora" is an orchid that blooms from January to March at waterfalls and streams of the Table Mountain Plateau and the Twelve Apostles. We hiked through Skeleton Gorge from the awesome Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. When we reached the top we came to a stream where two botanists examined the orchid.
We spent several days in Cape Town for the perfect, clear day without any clouds at table mountain. If it is too cloudy, the visibility is a few meters only, and you can get lost on the huge plateau. Also, the cable car operation depends on the weather. If the conditions are too bad, like strong winds or poor visibility, it won't operate. Winter can be cold and wet on the mountain in 1086 m elevation. We hiked to the top of the table mountain from the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden through Skeleton Gorge. Just in case of an emergency we asked for a telephone number at the Kirstenbosch ticket counter. Don't hike without a map even better use Google to take the right trail.