Standing more than 3,500 feet above the beautiful city of Cape Town, Table Mountain National Park gives its visitors a magnificently spectacular view of mountains, the city, the ocean and vast unspoiled wilderness. The mountain is a popular tourist attraction and is even featured in the flag of Cape Town and other local insignias. The prominent flat-topped summit of the Table Mountain is a quick five minute ride in one of the cable cars, or for those who want to explore more of the amazing natural beauty it can also be reached on a two to three hour hike. If you do decide to take the hike make sure you check out Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, the starting point of many of the less difficult routes, which offers a rich display of South Africa’s indigenous plants.
Most of the area’s 2,000+ species of flora can be discovered on the mountain, giving visitors amazing bloom-filled vistas from September to March. The mountain and surrounding area was proclaimed Table Mountain National Park in 1998 to protect the natural environment, in particular the unique fynbos vegetation found on the mountain. In 2004, the “Cape Floral Region Protected Areas” was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, this area includes Table Mountain Nation Park as well seven other areas. The Table Mountain Cableway is definitely the quickest and most painless way to the plateau at the top of the mountain, in operation since 1929 the cableway was extensively upgraded in 1997 with new cars that give a faster journey to the summit as rotate 360 degrees during the ascent and descent giving visitors a wonderful panoramic view over the city.
Another popular part of the national park is the Cape of Good Hope, legendary home of The Flying Dutchman and other sea based legends. It is also a great spot for seeing Chacma Baboons, which use the Cape of Good Hope section of the park as a significant section of their range. Be sure to check out Boulders Beach which is also in the Cape of Good Hope section. This sheltered beach is home to a colony of African Penguins which settled the area in 1982. The best view of the penguins can be had from Foxy Beach which has wonderful boardwalks that take visitors to within a few yards of the birds. Bolder Beach is also a popular swimming location; of course humans are restricted to beaches adjacent to the cute tuxedoed inhabitants. With amazing views, fantastic & unique flora, and amazing wildlife Table Mountain National Park is a destination not to be missed.
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