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Lunes, Agosto 15, 2011

table mountain

Table Mountain is timeless - in terms of the multifaceted human history of Cape Town and South Africa - and in all human memory.

The familiar form of our unique flat topped mountain has always been there. In fact long before the early days when the original inhabitants of the Cape the indigenous Khoi San roamed the coastal plains.

Table Mountain sheltered the original Cape explorers in the 16th century, the first European settlers and the many following generations of slaves, immigrants and travellers who helped to build and develop our special city.

The extraordinary appeal of Cape Town's famous natural attraction is known and appreciated in South Africa and around the world. It is a regular feature on postcards and has been captured in its varied moods, in numerous pictures and films.

Table Mountain in fact stands at the head of a chain of mountains extending South along the backbone of the Cape Peninsula towards Cape Point. It is the direction from where the well known Cape south easterly wind originates, faraway over the Atlantic Ocean, and it is the region now known as the Table Mountain National Park

The Table Mountain range originated some 500 million years ago when Africa was part of the original Gondwanaland continent. The Earth was in a turmoil of earth quakes and volcanic activity. The gigantic tectonic plates within the mantle, many kilometres below the surface of the seas, shifted and molten lava was forced upwards through seabed shale to cool and form granite.

The quartzite/sandstone mountains we know today developed from sediment deposited by rivers, which covered the subsiding granite over millions of years. Rocky remnants of those ancient times can still be seen in the form of huge granite boulders which dot our coastline and flank many Cape beaches.

Today, Table Mountain is a magnet for photographers, tourists and hikers, and a visit to Cape Town is not complete without a cable car ride or hike to the summit. The upper cable station is at 1067 metres and the highest point Maclears Beacon stands at 1085 metres.

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