Table Mountain in all its glory

l Table Mountain is the only terrestrial geographical feature to have a constellation named after it. Visiting the Cape of Good Hope in the mid-18th century, French astronomer Abbé Nicolas Louis de la Caille named a constellation near the Southern Cross Mons Mensa, Latin for Table Mountain.

l It is one of the oldest mountains in the world, estimated to be about 260 million years old. It dates back further than the Andes, the Rockies and the Swiss Alps.

l One of the first women to record her experience of the mountain was Lady Anne Barnard, who climbed Platteklip Gorge in her husband’s trousers. Barnard’s husband was Andrew, the Colonial Secretary during the first British occupation of the Cape between 1795 and 1803.

l The first recorded climb was in May 1503, when Portuguese navigator Admiral Antonio de Saldanha climbed Platteklip Gorge and referred to the mountain as Taboa do Cabo (Table of the Cape).

l In 1894, rock climber George Travers-Jackson was accepted into the Mountain Club of South Africa at the age of 14. He took part in 51 first ascents on Table Mountain, one of which was of G-grading, climbed without safety equipment.

l The cableway has been in operation since 1929. The first cable car had a tin roof and wooden sides and carried 20 passengers. The cable cars were imported from Switzerland and there are only two other such cable cars in the world, one in Titlis in the Swiss Alps in Switzerland, and one in Palm Springs in America. It has a 100 percent safety record.

l The Table Mountain ghost frog (Heleophryne rosei) is a critically endangered species endemic to the eastern and southern slopes.

l Table Mountain’s cloudy “tablecloth” is the stuff of legends: one tells of the San Mantis god smothering a blaze with a huge white karos (animal pelt). Another says the cloud comes from a smoking contest between the Devil and a pirate called Van Hunks.

l Sourced from and