One of South Africa’s most famous attractions turned 90 onFriday and has shown no signs of slowing down. The cable car took its maiden voyage up the slopes of Table Mountain on October 4, 1929. Managing director at the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, Wahida Parker said “going up mountains is in our DNA”.
“At a human behaviour level, I think when we encounter a mountain, our instinct is a desire to ascend or at a more philosophical level, conquer it. I have no doubt that the original Khoisan people ascended the mountain and were quite familiar with the pathways,” she said.
The idea for a rack railway (a train drawn up by locomotive running on cogwheels which fitted into the slots on the line) to the top of Table Mountain was born in the 1870s, but the plan was scuttled by the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899. It was again taken up in 1912, when a Mr HM Peter proposed to the City Council that a funicular railway be built from Oranjezicht via Platteklip Gorge to the top. The council at the time approved £100000 but the plans were yet again interrupted with the outbreak of World War I 1914 - 1918.
But the desire to gain access to the mountain never died and in 1926, a Norwegian engineer, Trygve Stromsoe, proposed building a cableway to the Council, and the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Co Ltd was registered that year. These days it costs R360 for a morning ticket and R300 for an afternoon ticket, but if you are an SA citizen there are an array of freebies and discounted prices. As part of the birthday celebrations, tickets cost R90 until the end of this month. You can also get a free ticket on your birthday.