tripavisor logo
Book a Tour Travel Blog Contact Agents

Category » Cape Towns Attractions Table Mountain Cable Car

November 09, 2018

Table Top Mountain Aerial Cable Way

The rail way leading all the way to the top of Table Mountain is one of the most amazing experiences in Cape Town. This fascinating cable way was discussed in the mid-18th century when locals requested an easier way getting up to the top of the mountain. In the early 19th century the mayor of Cape Town instructed the cable way to be constructed. However, due to war, the cable car was not completed up until 1929.

Before the cable car was constructed

The only way to reach the peak of Table Mountain was by hiking, back then, there were no path ways and the trek was much more physical than the convenient trails we have available today. Only the fit and young were able to climb 3500 feet above sea level. The first man and women recorded to climb the mountain was Antonio De Saldanha and Lady Anne Barnard who set the example for many climbers thereafter. This brough upon a desire among the locals to explore the top of the mountain which was impossible for many, especially the elderly. An appeal was written to the mayor of Cape Town Rev. A.J.S. Lewis to construct the cable car for the convenience of the elderly. The locals got the approval from the mayor and plans were put into place for the construction of the construction of the Table Mountai cable way.

Although the plans were approved, the contructioni was delayed due to the Anglo Boer War in 1899 and the plans were placed on hold. In 1912 a new plan to construct the Cable way was drafted, this new proposal was to run a funicular from Oranjezicht via Platteklip Gorge.

Votes for new plans were increasing even though the cost to the city of Cape Town £100 000 at the time. The agreement to carry on with the plans were approved despite the cost. In 1918 the First World War occurred which again prevented tthe contruction to proceed.

In 1926 a 3rd plan was suggested by a Norwegian engineer called Trygve Stromsoe. These plans were also approved and many private businesses were involved and invested in the contruction.

First Cable Car

The Table Top Mountain Aerial Cable Car officially completed in 1929 with the help of Sir Alfred Hennessy, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer and Sir David Graaff among others who played their part in the completion of the Cable Car.

The opening of the Aerial Cable Car

A day to remember, the 4th October 1929 when the cable way opened for the first time. The Mayor and 200 occupants joined the fun on the first cable ride. The cable ride took about 10 mins and carried 19 passengers at a time. The first cable cars were rectangular in shape and the floor was non-rotatating. Ever since the opening in 1929, this spectacular funicular has been in operation incident and accident free. The aerial cable car was 89 years old in 2018 and currently attracts millions of guests each year.

The Cable Way improvements

The cable car achieved International Organisation Standardization (IOS) in 2003 and 2009 for its environmental management system which is another great achievement for South African Tourism. The cable car was upgraded three times since 1929 with the first upgrade taking place in 1958, a second upgrade in 1974 and the last upgrade happening in 1997 where the rotating floor was introduced similarly to Titlis in Switzerland.

The modern Cable Car facts

The cable car is convenient, it caters for any age and more importantly it caters for the diabled.
The cable car carries about takes 65 passengers each time, this depends on the weight of the carriage. The total weight is 5200kg per a cable car

There are 2 cable cars moving up and down, each with rotating floors which provide passengers a 360° view.
The dable car is estimated to carry 800 passengers every hour
The cable car travel at 10m per second.
The cables carrying the cable car is 1200m in length
Table Car Tickets costs R305.00 for a return ride
Getting tickets for the cable way station
Online purchasing can be done via
Tickets can also be purchased at the ticket office at the lower cable station
3rd party ticket sales via tour operators or retail outlets like Pick n Pay or Checkers

Tours of Table Mountain

Table Mountain with Cape Point Tour Get tickets
Express Cape Town 4 to 5 hour city tour which includes Table Mountain cable car tickets Get tickets

Looking for a perfect tour?
View our tours OR Build your own