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Table Mountain National Park

All-in-One

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Introduction

Please note:
  • The Tokai Wild Card sales office will be closing at 15:00 on Thursday, 28 August 2014 for staff training purposes. It will reopen again on Friday, 29 August 2014 at 08:00. Our apologies for any inconvenience caused.
  • We are currently experiencing technical difficulties with our phone lines at the TMNP office. At present only one phone line is operational and as such we ask you to be patient when calling us. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
  • Newlands Braai and Picnic areas are closed during the winter period. Oudekraal is closed to the public during week days and is open on weekends and public holidays from 08:00 - 18:00. Oudekraal will remain open for bookings.
  • Wild Card, Activity Permit and Green Card sales are now at the Tokai Plantation Office, also in Tokai Road. Tel: 021 712 7471. Please note we recommend you retain your proof of purchase or renewal letter for your Wild Card membership in your car, to facilitate entry at TMNP gates when the power is down. The Wild Card office does not have a wheelchair ramp; please call in advance to make arrangements for access on 021 712 7471. Open Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 12:30 and 13:00 to 16:00.
  • For directions to the new office herewith a map to Tokai Manor House and Wild Card Sales.

This natural world heritage site, and Natural New 7 Wonder of the World, is a haven of magnificent mountains plunging into crystal seas fringed with bleached white sands of the Cape Peninsula. The mountain chain stretches from Signal Hill in the north, to Cape Point in the South and is also home to the world’s smallest, yet most diverse floral kingdom, The Cape Floristic Region.

Table Mountain National Park is a must-visit for anyone in Cape Town, local or international. From open access hikes and beautiful forest walks to pristine picnic and day-visit spots to secluded picturesque accommodation facilities throughout the park, there is plenty to do, see and experience.

Conservation fees are payable at only three access-controlled sections of the park, Cape of Good Hope, Boulders Penguin Colony and Silvermine.

Must sees for this park include:

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Accommodation

Hoerikwaggo Tented Camps

Fall asleep under a myriad stars and awake to the healing sounds of nature. Our picturesque and comfortable tented camps, situated in unrivalled natural surroundings offer the ideal getaway.

Careful planning, use of invasive alien timber and innovative layout and design ensure minimum environmental impact.

Although the Hoerikwaggo trail is a five (5) day trail, one does not need to book the full trail to enjoy the tented camps. You are able to book one or two nights of the trail and merely enjoy a portion of the experience if your available time frame does not allow you to walk the full five days. We highly recommend you hire the services of the guide when you walk the trail, as Table Mountain is large and it is susceptible to dramatic weather changes in a short space of time. The trail is not portered and is designed for you to carry all your gear in a rucksack from one point to another. If you wish, you can hire the services of a porterage company, however that will be at an additional cost over and above the accommodation tariff. Note that when accommodation on the trail is reserved it is not subject to the conservation levy, however a 1% Tourism levy is still billed on top of the accommodation tariff as per Sanparks policy.

Important information: All camps offer hot water, comfortable beds, open fires, fully equipped self-catering communal kitchens/dining areas and communal bathrooms. Guests need to provide their own bedding and towels. Each camp accommodates a maximum of 12 people. Additional pax cannot be accommodated due to the tent size. All camps are easily accessible by car and have dedicated parking areas. Please take special note of the check-in and check-out times which are applicable to all Hoerikwaggo camps. These facilities are not universally accessible.

Costs:

Attention Hoerikwaggo Trail walkers:

A portion of the Hoerikwaggo Trail on private land between Slangkop and Silvermine Tented Camps has been closed as the land owner has advised that the HK trail can't encroach on his land. Hence the part of the route on the southern slopes of Chapman's Peak is no longer open to the public. We can however suggest some alternatives for you:

  • Get your guide to organise for your group to be dropped off on Boyes drive and walk up through the Kalk Bay mountains and over into Silvermine via the shaded Echo Valley forest, Amphitheatre, Gate 2 car-park, Ou Wa pad, and the Silvermine River walk. Or Start at Clovelly: Walk up the Trappieskop path, then up to Cave Peak and on to Echo Valley and then continue as above.
  • From Chapman's Peak drive hike up to Chapman's Peak Saddle and then up the southern slopes of Noordhoek peak over into Silvermine.

We strongly advise that all walkers engage the services of a qualified guide to ensure their safety and enjoyment of the hike. We also recommend that a good quality map of the mountain is purchased to allow the user to make informed decisions when out hiking.

Smitswinkel Tented Camp

This tented camp, situated just over the road from the entrance to Cape Point , lies in the shade of a weathered Flowering Gum plantation Its’ location provides the ideal base from which to explore the wealth of attractions in the South Peninsula. Boulders Beach , home to the world-renowned colony of African Penguins, is just 15 minutes drive away.

Accommodation

Activities in and around the area

  • Explore the Cape of Good Hope section of the Table Mountain National Park and the various activities the renowned Cape Point has to offer.
  • Take a picnic to Boulders Beach and see the world-renowned colony of African Penguins.
  • Pack your hiking gear and head down a short trail to Smitswinkel Bay.
  • Grab your bicyrcle and head out to Cape Point or along the scenic coastal road.

Costs

  • Base rate for 2 people: R550

When walking the trail between Smitswinkel Bay Tented camp and Slangkop Tented camp in either direction please note that there is no TMNP route over the Swartkopberg as this is Defence Force and privately owned land. We recommend that you engage the services of a transport company with regards to the section between Red Hill and Smitswinkel Bay Tented Camp. Redhill is the point at which the TMNP route recommences or finishes depending on which direction you are walking the trail.

Slangkop Tented Camp – unwind next to the ocean

Nestled within indigenous Milkwoods, no more than 100m from the sea, this marine-themed tented camp is the perfect location to watch the sun sink in the Atlantic Ocean. Situated at the edge of the quaint village of Kommetjie, the camp offers a nature-based experience with the convenience of shops and restaurants close by. This is also the only camp with a dedicated play area for small children.

Activities in and around the area

  • Surf the waves of the world-renowned surf spots within 150m of the camp.
  • Take a tour through the tallest lighthouse in the southern Hemisphere by booking a Slangkop Lighthouse Tour. Bookings can be made through the National Ports Authority (seasonal).
  • Go hiking in the surrounding areas via a trail to Slangkop.
  • Visit the Cape of Good Hope section of the Table Mountain National park for game viewing, hikes and various picnic sites.
  • Explore the surrounding areas by bicycle.
  • At Slangkop tented camp (as with the other tented camps) there is no departing the tented camp site by vehicle on the closure of check in time. You are however more than welcome to walk into Kommetjie by foot if you wish to have dinner or enjoy the night life of the village.
Silvermine Tented Camp – explore the mountain

Situated amongst pristine fynbos inside the Silvermine section of Table Mountain National Park, this tented camp is the ideal base from which to enjoy a range of outdoor activities - hiking, swimming, rock-climbing and mountain biking. Relevant permits and codes of conduct apply with regards to these activities.

Activities in and around the area

  • Take a leisurely stroll from the tented camp to the boardwalk leading around the Silvermine Dam and picnic or braai in the designated areas.
  • Put on your hiking boots and head up to Elephant’s eye, Constantiaberg mast, Noordhoek Peak and various other routes accessible via Silvermine.
  • Mountain bike along the Noordhoek Peak circuit, Ou wa pad and Tokai plantation.
  • Bird watchers can enjoy keeping an eye out for the Black Eagles soaring above Constantiaberg, Noordhoek and Chapman’s Peaks
  • Share your love for rock climbing with your children on a climbing wall on the exterior of the main living area at the tented camp – and then climb the Silvermine Crags for some real adrenalin.
Orange Kloof Tented Camp – relax in an ancient forest

The turnoff to this camp is just down the road from Constantia Nek going towards Hout Bay. The camp itself lies nestled within the ancient restricted-access Afromontane forest of Orange Kloof. The magic of the forest and tranquillity of the setting provides the perfect backdrop for a relaxing getaway.

Activities in and around the area

  • Orange Kloof is a restricted area and due to the conservation of the Afromontane Forest, guests must be accompanied by an accredited TMNP guide when hiking in this area (e.g. from Orange Kloof up Disa Gorge toward Table Mountain).
Check-in and check-out times for Hoerikwaggo Camps
.
Check-in Summer (October - March) 14:00 p.m. - 18:00 p.m.
Check-in Winter (April - September) 14:00 p.m. - 17:00 p.m.
Check-out10:00 a.m. daily

Please note that the above times will be strictly adhered to.

Bookings

To book any one of the tented camps or for further information, contact +27 (0) 21 712 7471 weekdays from 08:00 to 16:00 or e-mail: hoerikwaggobookings@sanparks.org. Alternatively, check availability and book online. Prices are subject to change without notice and camp rules are available on request.
The Tented camps can only accommodate 12 people per night and no additional pax are allowed

Hiking the Hoerikwaggo Trail

An iconic 5 day, 4 night hiking trail traversing 75km through the world heritage site of Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), the Hoerikwaggo Trail gives hikers an unforgettable experience of travelling in the footsteps of the Cape’s ancestors and experiencing the unsurpassed beauty of the Hoerikwaggo – the “mountain in the sea”.

Olifantsbos Guest House

Possibly the most special accommodation available in Cape Town, this unique getaway is located deep in the southern part of the Cape of Good Hope and offers guests complete seclusion right on the beach.

  • The main cottage has three double rooms – one master, two with 2x ¾ beds, a fully kitted, gas-fuelled kitchen, a bathroom with a gas-fuelled geyser and an open plan lounge and dining area complete with a cozy fireplace.
  • For warm summer evenings there is generous patio and braai area with a boardwalk leading to the beach.
  • For larger groups there is an annex that sleeps an additional six people – one two sleeper and one four sleeper. The annex has its own bathroom.
  • Linen is provided.
  • As the light are solar powered and water is sourced from tanks guests are asked to conserve energy and water.

Please scroll down to view the information and rules relevant to the Olifantsbos Cottage.

Booking Details:

Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre on + 27 (0) 21 780 9204 between 09:00 to 16:00, Monday to Thursday and 09:00 to 15:00 on Friday’s. Alternatively email musam@sanparks.org. Telephonic reservations are recommended.

Information for Olifantsbos Guest House

  1. Check-in time for accommodation is at Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre from 14:00 to 17h00 in winter ( April to September) and 14h00 to 18h00 ( October to March) in summer and accommodation must please be vacated by 10h00. Keys to be handed in at the Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre no later than 10h30.
  2. No late entry for this accommodation is permitted.
  3. All members of the party need to arrive at the same time. Due to the location of these units you need an escort to access them.
  4. Guests are required to be back at camp by sunset daily.
  5. Only the reserved number of guests will be allowed access to the accommodation unit. No day visitors/guests are permitted
  6. Conservation Fee (entrance fee) is not included in accommodation price and is payable daily, alternatively see more information on the WILD Card.
  7. Prices are subject to change without prior notice.
  8. Please note Olifantsbos has no electricity but a fridge, stove and gas lighting are provided
  9.  The My Green Card may not be used in lieu of daily conservation fees when using TMNP accommodation
  10.  Guests arriving after gate closure times will not be permitted to enter the park and will need to make alternative accommodation arrangements. No refunds will be granted
  11. The Annex is only available at the additional person tariff
  12. Note no firearms are permitted
  13. A 50% deposit is required within 30 days of making a reservation and the other 50% is payable 60 days before arrival
  14. These facilities are not universally accessible.
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Eland Family Cottage

Ideal for family holidays the Eland Cottage is situated in the Cape of Good Hope section of the Park. It is electrified, offers a fully equipped kitchen and linen is provided.

Eland Family Cottage sleeps six people with one master bedroom and two bedrooms each furnished with two ¾ beds. There is an open plan kitchen/ lounge area and an enclosed patio with a jet master fireplace.

Booking Details

Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre on + 27 (0) 21 780 9204 between 09:00 to 16:00, Monday to Thursday and 09:00 to 15:00 on Friday’s. Alternatively email musam@sanparks.org. Telephonic reservations are recommended.

Payment Details:

By credit card, cash or cheque with 30% deposit required within 30 days of booking and the remainder 30 days before arrival. Full payment is required if you book within 30 days of arrival.

Information for Eland Family Cottage

  1. Check-in time for accommodation is at Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre from 14:00 to 17h00 in winter ( April to September) and 14h00 to 18h00 ( October to March) in summer and accommodation must please be vacated by 10h00. Keys to be handed in at the Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre no later than 10h30.
  2. No late entry for this accommodation is permitted.
  3. All members of the party need to arrive at the same time. Due to the location of these units you need an escort to access them.
  4. Guests are required to be back at camp by sunset daily.
  5. Only the reserved number of guests will be allowed access to the accommodation unit. No day visitors/guests are permitted
  6. Conservation Fee (entrance fee) is not included in accommodation price and is payable daily, alternatively see more information on the WILD Card.
  7. Prices are subject to change without prior notice.
  8. Please note Olifantsbos has no electricity but a fridge, stove and gas lighting are provided
  9.  The My Green Card may not be used in lieu of daily conservation fees when using TMNP accommodation
  10.  Guests arriving after gate closure times will not be permitted to enter the park and will need to make alternative accommodation arrangements. No refunds will be granted
  11. The Annex is only available at the additional person tariff
  12. Note no firearms are permitted
  13. A 50% deposit is required within 30 days of making a reservation and the other 50% is payable 60 days before arrival
  14. These facilities are not universally accessible.
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Duiker Family Cottage

Ideal for family holidays the Duiker Family Cottage is situated in the Cape of Good Hope section of the Park. It is electrified, offers a fully equipped kitchen and linen is provided.

Duiker Family Cottage sleeps six people with one master bedroom and two bedrooms each furnished with two ¾ beds. There is an open plan kitchen/ lounge area with a jet-master fire place in the lounge. Duiker has its own boma and braai area.

Booking Details

Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre on + 27 (0) 21 780 9204 between 09:00 to 16:00, Monday to Thursday and 09:00 to 15:00 on Friday’s. Alternatively email musam@sanparks.org. Telephonic reservations are recommended.

Payment Details:

By credit card, cash or cheque with 30% deposit required within 30 days of booking and the remainder 30 days before arrival. Full payment is required if you book within 30 days of arrival.

Information for Duiker Family Cottage

  1. Check-in time for accommodation is at Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre from 14:00 to 17h00 in winter ( April to September) and 14h00 to 18h00 ( October to March) in summer and accommodation must please be vacated by 10h00. Keys to be handed in at the Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre no later than 10h30.
  2. No late entry for this accommodation is permitted.
  3. All members of the party need to arrive at the same time. Due to the location of these units you need an escort to access them.
  4. Guests are required to be back at camp by sunset daily.
  5. Only the reserved number of guests will be allowed access to the accommodation unit. No day visitors/guests are permitted
  6. Conservation Fee (entrance fee) is not included in accommodation price and is payable daily, alternatively see more information on the WILD Card.
  7. Prices are subject to change without prior notice.
  8. Please note Olifantsbos has no electricity but a fridge, stove and gas lighting are provided
  9.  The My Green Card may not be used in lieu of daily conservation fees when using TMNP accommodation
  10.  Guests arriving after gate closure times will not be permitted to enter the park and will need to make alternative accommodation arrangements. No refunds will be granted
  11. The Annex is only available at the additional person tariff
  12. Note no firearms are permitted
  13. A 50% deposit is required within 30 days of making a reservation and the other 50% is payable 60 days before arrival
  14. These facilities are not universally accessible.
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Wood Owl Cottage

This beautifully restored foresters cottage is situated in the heart of the Tokai Pine Plantation on the slopes of the Constantiaberg. Its central location offers guests the best of both worlds – easy access to the City and the seclusion of the Park and nearby hiking/ mountain bike trails.

It fully equipped and offers three double, en suite bedrooms with an open plan kitchen living area with a fireplace. There is also a separate TV room. For warmer evenings there is a patio and braai area. In addition the cottage has a telephone and is cleaned daily.

Please note:

  • Only the reserved number of guests will be allowed access to the accommodation unit.

Booking Details

TMNP Tokai Office (closed daily from 12:30 p.m. - 13:00 p.m.) on + 27 (0) 21 712 2337 / 0527 alternatively e-mail: jo.kruger@sanparks.org

Check in: 14:00
Check out: 10:00

Payment Details:

A 50% deposit is required within 30 days of making a reservation and the other 50% is payable 60 days before arrival.

Platteklip Wash House - Oranjezicht, Cape Town & Overseers Cottage – Back Table

Overnight on the slopes of Table Mountain, in the award winning restored Platteklip Wash House or fall asleep at the beautiful Overseers Cottage, with the city at your feet and the stars as your canopy.

  • The Platteklip Wash House can accommodate up to 24 pax, fully equipped and self catered accommodation.
  • The Overseers Cottage can accommodate up to 16 pax, fully equipped and self catered accommodation. Due to the location of this facility, all visitors need to make arrangements with the Platteklip Wash Houses prior to arrival with regards to porterage and arrival time on top of the mountain at the cottage.
  • These facilities are not universally accessible.

Booking Details:

Tel: ( 021) 712 7471 or Central reservations (012) 428 9111, or
Email: hoerikwaggobookings@sanparks.org or
resevations@sanparks.org

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Please note:

Accommodation images may differ from the actual units as refurbishment of various accommodation types occur on an on-going basis.

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Activities

As the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) includes mountains, beaches, forests and oceans, there are a variety of popular recreational activities for outdoor enthusiasts.

However, because the Park receives in excess of 4.2 million visits per year, regulations, permits and Environmental Management Plans (EMP’s), apply to certain of these activities in order to minimize the impacts on the environment. Users of the Park are asked to respect the environment at all times to assist us in protecting our unique natural heritage for the benefit of current and future generations.

What is an EMP?

When the Park was established there was a need to formally recognize appropriate recreational activities within the managed area of TMNP as these activities have impacts on both the environment and other users of the park.

The TMNP therefore, through public processes, developed Environmental Management Programs (EMP) for dog walking; hang and paragliding; sport/rock climbing; horse riding; mountain biking; and line fishing.
. These EMPs include:

  • an overview of the current status of an activity and a brief summary of impacts and issues
  • an environmental policy
  • a strategic approach to respond to impacts and issues
  • guidelines for implementation of the EMP
  • maps of the approved routes and entry/exit points
  • a Code of Conduct

EMP's require users to respect the rules and regulations of the park, undertake their activity with care and consideration for other users and to protect and conserve the natural and heritage resources of the park.

Rather than abuse the privilege of undertaking activities in the Park, users are encouraged to conduct themselves responsibly in the park by following the requirements of the relevant EMP. In this way promoting a safe and appropriate low impact means of enjoying and appreciating the Park.

Environmental Management Plans

For more info on Activity Permits, click here, or call the Tokai Tourism Office on 021 712 7471.

Please select an activity below for more information.

Hiking

Table Mountain National Park is a walking Park with exciting trails for all levels of walkers from the super-fit to the casual stroller. There are many routes to choose from along the Table Mountain Chain offering spectacular views of the City of Cape Town, rugged mountains and deep blue seas. Most of the popular hikes up Table Mountain such as Platteklip Gorge (north face), Nursery Ravine and Skeleton Gorge (the latter two being accessible from Kirstenbosch Gardens) are fairly strenuous, while Silvermine, the Cape of Good Hope and the Constantiaberg offer easier options. For a guide to the most popular hiking routes get yourself a copy of Mountains in the Sea - an Interpretive Guide to Table Mountain National Park by John Yeld. See details above. Have a look at our safe hiking in Table Mountain National Park guide.

Overnight Trails

The Table Mountain National Park also has overnight trails namely the Hoerikwaggo Trail and the Cape of Good Hope Hiking Trail.

Fishing/Extractive Diving

The Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area (MPA) is a popular fishing area for shore and boat-based fisher people as well as extractive divers. However due to heavy recreational and commercial pressure on the rich biodiversity of the MPA, fishing and extractive diving are subject to strict regulations and permits. Certain activities such as recreational perlemoen diving are prohibited.

There are six restricted areas with five or "no take" zones within the MPA where no fishing or extractive activities are allowed, and in the sixth restricted area the Karbonkelberg , only snoek are allowed to be caught deeper than the 35m contour.

To purchase recreational fishing permits, please contact your local South African Post Office. An annual My Activity Permit Level 3 or 4 is also required. Please note that a Wild Card membership does not grant you entry to fish within TMNP.

For more information on these regulations, please read the Marine Recreational Activity brochure and visit their Marine section or do a search for "Fishing Regulations".

The West Coast Rock Lobster season for 2012/13 is upon us - here are the dates you need to know for when catching rock lobster (crayfish) is allowed:

  • 15 November - 18 November: Every day of the week
  • 19 November - 14 December: Weekends only
  • 15 December - 31 December: Every day of the week
  • 1 January - 1 April: Weekends and public holidays only

Dog Walking

TMNP is one of the few National Parks in South Africa where you are permitted to walk a dog. However dog walking is restricted to limited areas in order to minimize the impacts of dogs on the biodiversity of the mountain – these include running off the paths and chasing indigenous animals.

Dogs must be under the control of their owners at all times and it is illegal for dogs to be on the mountain unaccompanied. Popular areas for dog walking are Silvermine, the lower slopes of Table Mountain accessible from Constantia Nek, Noordhoek Beach and lower section of the Tokai Plantation.

Dog training at TMNP is prohibited.

Please download the Dog Walking Environmental Management Plan for details on the designated areas.

An annual Dog Walking Wild Card Permit is required - more info.

An interactive guide to walking your dog in the Table Mountain National Park

Free Guided Walks at Cape Point

There are enthusiastic volunteers who are now offering free guided walks at Cape Point.

Please note:

  • Meeting point for all hikes is just inside the main gate on the 2nd Sunday of each month, adjustments made in March and November due to race days.
  • Walkers must wear strong boots and have hat, sun block, raingear, water and a snack.
  • Get a wild card, obtainable from the Tokai Tourism Sales Office (+27 021 712 7471) (closed daily from 12:30 - 13:00) or pay admission fee at the gate R105.
  • There is no payment for the walk. ***note different start times***
  • Enquiries: John 021 782 2379; Ian 021 782 8552

Scuba Diving

Scuba divers are spoilt for choice in the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area. Particularly rewarding are the numerous wrecks that scatter the coastline as well as the six restricted areas ("no take" zones) that have been established as breeding and nursery areas for marine species.

Popular dive sites include the Maori wreck off the Sentinel in Hout Bay, Oudekraal on the Atlantic Seaboard and Miller's Point and Smitswinkel in False Bay.
Please note that the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has implemented a permit system for scuba diving within all MPA’s. Scuba divers must be in possession of a permit, even if not fishing and can be purchased nationwide from the South African Post Office.
 Diving has been restricted within the TMNP MPA since February 2008 - the areas affected are indicated on our map together with the regulations.

Mountain Biking

The steep slopes that characterise much of the TMNP make it ideal for mountain biking enthusiasts. However, because this activity is very high impact and negatively affects the biodiversity of the Park and often clashes with the more sedate activities such as hiking and dog walking, there are designated areas where mountain biking is allowed. Popular areas are certain parts of the Tokai Plantation and Silvermine (accessible from Gate One).

Documents

An annual My Activity Permit Level 3 for mountain biking is required. Alternatively, day passes are available for Tokai at the Braai Site Kiosk.

Surfing/Windsurfing/Kite Boarding

A plethora of reefs, rocky points, beaches and open ocean Atlantic swell provide numerous breaks that work in different conditions which means that there is usually a wave to be found somewhere on the peninsula. The World famous Red Bull Big Wave Africa is held at Dungeons just of Hout Bay and attracts top big wave surfers from all over the world.

Tow in surfing is only permitted in three areas – Dungeons, Outer Boneyard and Sunset's (off Kommetjie) and only if wave swell is five meters or more. Please note that the relevant permits are required for tow-in surfing. Jet Ski's are banned in the rest of the MPA.

Due to the high and frequent winds that characterise the Cape Peninsula there are many opportunities for windsurfing and kite boarding especially in the summer months.

Rock/Sport Climbing

The rocky ledges and huge boulders of the mountain attract climbers from all over the world. However climbing is a high impact sport and designated climbing areas are outlined in the Environmental Management Plan. Be sure to read our safe hiking in Table Mountain National Park guide. Please also be aware that Table Mountain offers challenges to climbers and it is highly recommended that you join a climbing club to benefit from local knowledge. Please download the Rock/Sport Climbing Environmental Management Plan for details on the designated areas. A My Activity Permit Level 2 is required.

Picnics and Braai's

Please note:
  • Newlands Braai and Picnic areas are closed during the winter period.
  • Oudekraal is closed to the public during week days and is open on weekends and public holidays from 08:00 - 18:00. Oudekraal will remain open for bookings.

Table Mountain National Park offers numerous picnic/braai areas although braaing should be undertaken with care and is often banned due to high winds.
Dogs and music are prohibited in all picnic/braai areas.

  • Buffels Bay and Bordjiesdrif: Situated right on the beach in the Cape of Good Hope this is a very picturesque venue for a picnic or braai with bathing for kids in the tidal pool at both locations. However, troops of Chacma Baboons are regular visitors and are attracted by food and can be aggressive. Please try to avoid the baboons and do not feed them. Please call: +27(0) 21 780 9204, Monday to Sunday for further information. Note access times change seasonally and are linked to the Cape of Good Hope gate entry and exit times.
  • Glen & Deer Park Picnic sites: These beautiful picnic sites are in the heart of the city. You will experience the picturesque views of Cape Town. You can access Deer Park from Deer Park Drive and the Glen from Kloof Road. Please call: +27(0) 21 422 1601, Monday to Friday - 8:00 to 15:30 for more information including the opening and closing times.
  • Oudekraal Picnic/Braai Site: Situated between Camps' Bay and Llandudno, This lovely secluded beach is perfect for a family lunch. The sea is calm and ideal for swimming. Alcohol is prohibited. Please call: +27(0) 21 438 9555, Monday to Sunday for further information. Open season 1 October- 31 May Closed season 1 June - 30 September. This site is open weekends and public holidays irrespective of the season. Oudekraal also offers corporate function facilities. Please call our film & events department on +27 (0)21 712 2337 / 0527 for bookings.
  • Newland's Picnic/Braai Site: Conveniently situated off the M3 near Rondebosch, this picnic area is situated under the shade of pine trees and is popular on weekends. Several hikes are also accessible from the picnic area. Alcohol is prohibited. Please call: +27(0) 21 689 4441/ 021 4221 601 during office hours for further information. Newlands Picnic Site is closed during the winter period (1 June – 30 September).
  • Perdekloof Picnic/Braai Site: Just 45 minutes outside of Cape Town on the way to the Cape of Good Hope, Perdekloof also offers good shade combined with a sense of "getting away from it all". Operational hours 09h00 to 17h00. The picnic site is closed between the 1st of May to 31st of October. Corporate/ large groups wishing to use the picnic site during the closed period can book by phoning 021 780 9100. during office hours.
  • Silvermine Picnic/Braai Site: Definitely among the most spectacular lunch venues in the Park the Silvermine picnic site is situated on the banks of the reservoir with spectacular views of the Fynbos clad mountains. A boardwalk provides a picturesque trail around the reservoir that takes about 25 minutes to complete. Please call: +27(0) 21 780 9002, Monday to Sunday for further information.
    Silvermine also offers group function facilities. Please call our film & events department on +27 (0)21 712 2337 / 0527 for further information.
    Please note that no braaing is allowed around the dam during the high fire risk season (summer and early autumn). Braaing will be allowed once the fire danger index reduces which is dependent on a consistent drop in temperature and wind conditions. Open year round for picnics.
  • Tokai Picnic/Braai Area: Situated on the edge of the Tokai Plantation, this is a centrally located, spacious site shaded by pines. There is ample space for large families and is convenient for accessing many enjoyable trails through the plantation. For further enquiries call: +27(0) 21 712 2337 / 0527, Monday to Friday. Please note Chacma baboons enter the picnic site on occasion and are attracted by food. Baboons may become aggressive when confronted. Please avoid contact with the baboons and do not feed them. Tokai Eagle Owl Group Braai site: Please call our film and events department on +27 (0)21 712 2337 / 0527 for bookings.

View the Daily Conservation Fees.

Hang/Paragliding

Even though these activities take place primarily in the air they still cause significant environmental impacts at launch sites as well as disturb raptors that may be nesting or breeding on cliff faces.
There are numerous designated launch areas including Lion's Head and Silvermine.
Please download the Hang/Paragliding Environmental Management Plan for more details.

Horse Riding

Horse riding is permitted in certain areas of the park. This activity has a very high impact and negatively affects the biodiversity of the Park and often clashes with the more sedate activities such as hiking and dog walking, there are designated areas where mountain biking is allowed. Popular areas include Tokai, Noordhoek Beach and Black Hill.
Please download the Horse Riding Environmental Management Plan for more details

Forest Walks

A walk in an Afromontane forest is always uplifting. These deep green ecosystems are millions of years old and are home to a variety of smaller animals, birds and invertebrates.

The most popular of these walks are:

  • Newlands Forest – accessible from the M3 near Rhodes Memorial.
  • Orange Kloof in Hout Bay – this is one of the most special places in the Park with forest trails leading to the top of Table Mountain. Please note that entry to this area is by permit only. Please call +27(0) 21 689 4441 for information.
  • Echo Valley and Spes Bona on the Muizenberg mountains also sport pockets of Afromontane. Boardwalks have been constructed here to protect the root systems, humus layers and to promote sapling growth.
  • The entry and exit times for:
    -Tokai Forest
    -Newlands Forest
    -Ouderkraal
    -Perdekloof

Prohibited Activities

There are various activities that are not allowed in the TMNP for various environmental reasons:

  • No quad-biking anywhere
  • No two-wheel motorcycles allowed.
  • No personal water craft (jet skis) within the TMNP MPA – with the exception of an exemption issued to members of Tow Surf South Africa. The exemption allows for the use of jet skis to tow-surf on the exceptionally large waves found within the MPA during the winter months. The strict conditions are stipulated in their exemption.
  • No dune boarding anywhere
  • No jet skis – with the exception of tow-in/safety reasons at Dungeon's and Sunset's under conditions stipulated in the permit.
  • No kite-surfing on inland park waters.
  • Permits are required for events and commercial activities.

Important Notice:

  • Due to technical (data line inadequacies) and logistical/design (availability of parking and office/admin space) constraints coupled with the large numbers of visitors at the COGH entrance to the Table Mountain National Park we have never been able to sell WILD Cards at this entrance point.

The old practice of paying the normal conservation fee at the COGH entrance and then obtaining a credit/refund on purchasing a WILD Card at the Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre within the Park has been stopped as our auditors have indicated that this practice is not in compliance with the Public Finances management Act.

Books of Interest

It is recommended that you purchase Mountains in the Sea – an Interpretive Guide to Table Mountain National Park by award winning environmental journalist John Yeld. The book comprehensively covers all aspects of the Park from biodiversity issues to popular hikes and history. It is available from TMNP outlets at:

  • Tokai Tourism Office, Tel.: +27(0) 21 712 7471,
  • Boulders Penguin Colony, Tel: +27(0) 21 786 2392 and
  • Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre, Tel: +27(0) 21 780 9204

Two Oceans: A Guide to the Marine Life of Southern Africa by Professor George Branch

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Essential Information

What to bring

Although the Table Mountain National Park is primarily a day-visit park there are several items that no-one should be without whether for a casual stroll or a more serious hike:

It is highly recommended that you purchase Mountains in the Sea – an Interpretive Guide to Table Mountain National Park by award winning environmental journalist John Yeld. The book comprehensively covers all aspects of the Park from biodiversity issues to popular hikes and history and will enrich any visitor’s enjoyment and appreciation of the Park.

It is available from TMNP outlets at Tokai Tourism Office, Tel. 021 712 7471, Boulders Penguin Colony, Tel. 021 786 2329 and Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre, Tel. 021 780 9204.

Also essential are:

  • A good map – Peter Slingsby’s maps are endorsed by the Park. Visit The Maps for more information.
  • Sun hat and sun block
  • As outdoor lighting in camps is limited, a torch/headlamp is required when walking outside at night
  • Sufficient water
  • Energy snacks
  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Wet weather gear/ wind breakers
  • Punch emergency number into your mobile: 0861 106 417

Visitor Safety

Table Mountain National Park is a Park within a City and its urban context presents Park staff with some unique management challenges. Two of these are these are mountain safety and security issues.

Many people think that because Table Mountain is in the middle of a City that it is simply an easy walk to the top – a serious misconception. The reality is that it is a serious mountain standing 1000 meters above sea level and offers challenging, sometimes dangerous, hikes and is characterised by inconsistent weather. These factors result in people getting lost and injured.

Also as the TMNP is primarily an open access Park from time to time there is criminal activity in some of the urban edge areas of the Park.

In answer to both these challenges the TMNP recruited and deployed Visitor Safety Officers (VSO’s) to patrol popular use zones in the Park. The VSO’s give advice to hikers as well as act as a deterrent to criminals.

For some hints and tips for a hassle free visit to the TMNP please download the Visitor Safety Brochure.

Climate

When hiking in or visiting the Table Mountain National Park, it is advisable to ensure that you are equipped for all weather types. TMNP and Cape Town have a Mediterranean climate – characterised by typically hot, dry summers and short, wet, yet mild winters.

Cape Town is also known for the South Easter winds that often rip through the city in Summer. With the mountain topography of the Park – this means that weather patterns can change quickly, often creating a hot, clear day in one area, and rainy, misty conditions in another.

Be advised to bring all weather-gear when hiking visiting TMNP as you can never quite predict the weather patterns.

View the seven day Cape Town weather forecast.

People with Disabilities

Information about the facilities offered by Table Mountain National Park in the interests of universal access can be found here.

Tourism Partners

When in doubt about where to go and what to do please be sure to contact our official tourism organisations:

If you want to travel further a-field in the Western Cape contact:

Brochures

Please note you will require Adobe PDF viewer to view the brochures.

Attractions

Download

Cape of Good Hope

Front

Back

Boulders Penguin Colony

Front

Back

Silvermine

Front

Back

Table Mountain

Front

Back

Accommodation

Olifantsbos Cottage

Front

Back

Wood Owl Cottage

Front

Back

Eland & Duiker

Front & Back

Accommodation Guide

Front

Back

Hiking Trails

 

Cape of Good Hope Hiking Trail

Front

Back

Environmental Education

 

Environmental Education Programme

Advert

General Park Information

   

TMNP brochure

Brochure


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Main Attractions

Please note that Peter Slingsby publishes the only maps endorsed by the TMNP. Where can I find these maps?

The Cape of Good Hope

So named by Portugal's King John II this area has captured the imagination of European sailors such as Dias who first named it the Cape of Storms in 1488 and later in 1580 Sir Francis Drake who called it the "The Fairest Cape in all the World".

Rich in cultural and natural heritage this is one of the top tourist destinations in South Africa. Due to the variety of wildlife that occurs here it is the only section of the TMNP that is fenced and visitors should look out for Eland, Red Hartebeest, Bontebok and Zebra.

Be sure to visit the Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre that showcases all the plants and animals to look out for in a particular season and is full of informative signage. At the point, visitors are treated to excellent viewing opportunities from both lighthouses that adorn the most south western point in Africa, one still fully functional. The lighthouse is accessible by foot or one can catch the Flying Dutchman funicular to the top.

Cape of Good Hope is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and offers hiking, surfing, angling, picnicking, beaching and cycling opportunities against the spectacular backdrop of the mountains and coastline of the Cape Peninsula. Free guided walks are offered at Cape Point on selected Sunday mornings throughout the year. Click here for a schedule of these walks.

Several of the activities are regulated and require permits. Please visit the activities section for more information. 

For those who wish to grab a bite to eat or do some souvenir shopping, Cape Point Partnership runs the stunning Two Oceans Restaurant and the Tigers Eye Curio Shop.

Contact Details:

TMNP - Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre: +27(0) 21 780 9204, 09:30 – 17:30, Monday- Sunday
Restaurant, Shops and funicular: +27(0) 21 780 9010 / 021 780 9200

Important Notes:

Take a virtual tour of Cape Point



Boulders Penguin Colony

Boulders Penguin Colony in Simons Town is home to a unique and endangered land-based colony of African Penguins. This colony is one of only a few in the world, and the site has become famous and a popular international tourist destination.

The Boulders section of TMNP consists of 3 pristine beaches, 1 penguin viewing area and 3 boardwalks. The boardwalks were built as a measure to allow for viewing of these wonderful birds, whilst keeping them safe from poking fingers, so please be sure to stay on the boardwalks at all times within the viewing area.  

This beach is ideal for children as immense boulders shelter the cove from currents, wind and large waves - but please always take care. Don't touch or feed the penguins – they may look cute and cuddly but their beaks are as sharp as razors and if they feel threatened they have no qualms about nipping the odd finger or nose.

Boulders Visitor Centre: +27(0) 21 786 2329.

A bit more about African Penguins:

African Penguins were reclassified on 26 May 2010 from a Vulnerable to now Endangered status. In 1956 when the first full census was conducted on the African Penguin, there were approximately 150 000 breeding pairs counted. In 2009 there were only 26 000 breeding pairs left in the world. These numbers indicate a loss of more than 80% of breeding pairs in just over 50 years.

The Boulders Penguin Colony was established in 1983 and numbers increased from surrounding island colonies to bring breeding numbers to 3 900 birds in 2005. Since then there has been a decrease. The 2011 figures sit at around 2100 birds at Boulders Penguin Colony. The decline at Boulders and the global decline is the suspected result of:

  • habitat destruction
  • effects of oil spills and other marine pollution
  • impacts of global warming on fish stocks and fish movement
  • over fishing
  • irresponsible tourism activities
  • domestic pets/animals

What can I do to help?

For more information on how to help the plight of the African Penguin, contact SANCCOB on +27(0 21 557 6155

What can I do there?

  • Restaurants and B&B’s are found all in close proximity.
  • Swimming
  • Picnics on the beach

Important Notices:

  • Boulders is a safe beach with rangers on patrol every day
  • Limited parking is available so arrive early during peak Summer months
  • Alcohol and smoking prohibited
  • Beach space depends on the tides – so make sure to come at low tide
  • Boulders is closed to all vessels including canoes and kayaks.
  • Boulders falls within a No-take Zone in the Marine Protected Area of the TMNP. No marine life may be removed.
  • Boulders is one of TMNP's pay points where a daily conservation fee is payable. Please visit tariffs to see the current fee.
  • Boulders entry and exit times
  • How to get there

Table Mountain

Arguably one of the most well-known mountains in Africa, Table Mountain provides a magnificent backdrop to cosmopolitan Cape Town and now boasts the accolade of New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Famous for the tablecloth of clouds that pours endlessly down its slopes when the south-easter blows, this is a mountain of many moods and offers walkers and hikers a range of routes that vary from light strolls to rigorous hikes.

You decide whether you want to reach the summit and revel in spectacular views of the city or simply stroll along in the cool shade of indigenous forest – which ever you choose you won't be disappointed. The ancient Afromontane forest has a fairy charm as vines and canopies create a magical atmosphere.

However please remember that even though it is in an urban setting it is still a wild mountain that offers challenging climbs and sheer cliffs so be aware of where you intend to walk and always ensure that you stick to the path and are kitted out for cold weather.

If it’s the views you’re after and not the exercise,  catch a state-of-the-art revolving cable car to the top. For more information call the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (TMACC): +27(0) 21 424 8181

Silvermine

Please note:

Due to operational constraints, the Silvermine Gate 2 parking area will now be open for entry at 08:00 throughout the year. The closing times for this access point remain unchanged (19:00 from October to end of March and 18:00 from April to end of September). Gate opening times for Gate 1 will remain unchanged. For the other open access points to these Silvermine trails (6 access points), entry is still permitted from sunrise, exit by sunset. Enquiries: 021 789 2460 / 021 789 2457

Located in the central section of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) Silvermine offers some of the best hikes in the Park with beautiful fynbos landscapes. There is plenty to take in, in and around Silvermine – a short and wheelchair-friendly boardwalk around the dam, a beautifully therapeutic river walk, a light walk to the Silvermine waterfall, bird spotting, picnics, dog walking and mountain biking, to name but a few.

There are two sections with formal parking:

Gate One: Turn right off Ou Kaapse Weg coming from Cape Town. This area offers mountain biking tracks and a selection of hikes ranging from easy to challenging. Hikers can walk to the top of the Constantaiburg Mountain for perfect views of Hout Bay or simply stroll around the reservoir's wheelchair friendly boardwalk. There are also picturesque braai/ picnic sites available.

Gate Two: A few hundred metres past Gate One, turn left into the car park. From here you can hike over to Kalk Bay or simply do a circuit route. This section of the Park includes Afromontane Forests, waterfalls and very interesting geology.

Signal Hill and Lion's Head

Signal Hill is the Northern-most tip of the terrestrial area of the TMNP and offers excellent views of the City and harbour. It is from here that the noon day gun marks 12:00 in Cape Town.

Lion's Head is the peak to the right of Table Mountain when facing it head on and offers a short but popular hike with 360 degree views of the Atlantic seaboard, the City and Table Mountain. A popular and new tradition in Cape Town is to hike to the top on full moon. But, while this is a memorable experience, it should only be done in groups, and led by someone with experience.

Beaches

TMNP has a beach for all preferences. If you like to mingle with bronzed beach goers and enjoy a bit of a beach culture, try Llandudno on the Atlantic seaboard. However, if you are more of a laidback beach user head south and try out Noordhoek, Kommetjie or Scarborough - all of which are spacious enough to accommodate crowds and are also good for watching the sun set.
The Cape of Good Hope section offers more wild and secluded beaches with the benefit of beaches on both the Atlantic and False Bay sides.

Be aware that strong rip tides characterise some of our beaches and for the most part life guards are only on duty during high season on the most popular beaches. Swimmers should ensure that they are familiar with the area and should exercise caution at all times.

Alcohol is not allowed on Cape Town beaches.
**A level 1 My Activity Permit is required for dog walking.

For more information on available beaches please call our marine team: +27(0) 21 786 5656.

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Climate

Winter:

From May to August, cold fronts sweep across the Atlantic and bombard the Peninsula with rain and the northwest gales - an apt reminder of why the early explorers referred to it as the Cape of Storms. The winters are cool with an average minimum temperature of about 7° C. Most of the rainfall occurs in winter, but due to the topography the rainfall varies quite dramatically. In the valleys and coastal plains it averages 500 mm per year, while in the mountainous areas it can average as much as 1500 mm a year.

Winter is a particularly beautiful time in the Cape as the vegetation regains its verdure and water pours from the mountain chain’s waterfalls, rivulets and ravines.

Summer:

From November to February the weather is warm and dry. During these months the Peninsula is exposed to the strong (sometimes gale-force), relentless Southeast wind known locally as the Cape Doctor because it blows away pollution and cleans the air. Summer temperatures are relatively comfortable with the average maximum around 26° C.

The days in between are hot and compliment the awesome beaches

Please note: The months we have listed here are merely guidelines. Always cater for all weather when visiting due to its unpredictability.

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How to get there

Note to Travellers
  • The TMNP’s Admin Head Office (formerly the Westlake Office) has moved to the Tokai Manor House, Tokai Road. Tel: 021 712 2337 / 0527.
  • Wild Card sales are now at the Tokai Plantation Office, also in Tokai Road. Tel: 021 712 7471.
  • For directions to the new office herewith a map to Tokai Manor House.

GPS Coordinates

Name

Latitude

Longitude

Cape Point

S 34° 21' 22"

E 18° 29' 48"

Tokai Forest

S 34° 3' 42"

E 18° 24' 51"

Newlands Forest

S 33° 58' 26"

E 18° 26' 40"

Ouderkraal

S 33° 59' 12"

E 18° 20' 56"

Perdekloof

S 34° 12' 20"

E 18° 24' 20"

Silvermine

S 34° 5' 53"

E 18° 25' 16"

Boulders

S 34° 7' 55"

E 18° 26' 53"

Platteklip Wash House S 33° 56' 46 " E 18° 25' 03"

Routes to various destinations

Boulders Beach

Situated in Simon’s Town, which can be reached via the M4 (Main Road) from the city centre, although getting to Muizenberg via the M3 or the M5 are both quicker in road time. From Muizenberg, the M4 continues via Fish Hoek to Simon’s Town.

Cape Point

One can go via the M4, Simon’s Town and Miller’s Point, on the M64 and 65 via Ou Kaapse Weg, Sun Valley, Kommetjie and Scarborough.

The M6 via Chapman’s Peak is currently open but it is sometimes temporarily closed for repairs after heavy rains. There is signage on the road some distance before Chapman’s Peak, which tells you whether it is open or closed.

Kirstenbosch

De Waal Drive and then left onto Rhodes Drive in the Direction of Hout Bay

Oudekraal

Situated on the M6 between Camp’s Bay and Llandudno

Tokai

Situated on the Tokai Road off the M3.

Silvermine

Opposite the Silvermine Road turn-off.

Table Mountain, Signal Hill and Lion’s Head

Kloof Nek Road towards Camp’s Bay

Internal Road Network

Only a few areas of the TMNP allow private vehicle access – Cape of Good Hope section and Signal Hill. Vehicles are subject to strict speed limits and a required to keep to the designated roads. Other areas such as Silvermine, Newlands and Oudekraal offer secure parking within the gates.

Gate Hours

***Please take note of exit times when entering a gate***

Areas

Seasons

Entry and Exit Times

Cape Point

Winter: April - September

07:00 - 17:00

 

Summer: October - March

06:00 - 18:00

Boulders

Winter: April - September

08:00 - 17:00

 

Summer: December - January

07:00 - 19:30

 

February - March

08:00 - 18:30

 

October - November

08:00 - 18:30

Silvermine

Winter : May - September

08:00 - 17:00

 

Summer : October - April

07:00 - 18:00

Oudekraal

Winter : April - September

07:00 - 18:00

 

Summer: October - March

07:00 - 18:00

Perdekloof

Winter

Closed

 

Summer: October - March

09:00 - 17:00

 

Holidays and weekends

09:00 - 17:00

Tokai Forest

Winter : April - September

08:00 - 17:00

 

Summer : October - March

07:00 - 18:00

Newlands Forest

Winter

Closed during weekdays

 

Weekends and public holidays (during Winter)

08:00 - 18:00

 

Summer : October - April (open everyday - weekdays and weekends)

08:00 - 18:00

  • There are daily national and international flights into Cape Town International Airport.
  • Car hire facilities are located at the airport and in the city of Cape Town and other nearby commercial centres.
  • Tour operators and travel agents offer luxury coach tours.
  • A railway service runs from Cape Town along the False Bay coastline to Simon's Town.

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Park Maps

Recreational Map

This page displays various maps of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP). For an overview of our recreational areas please view our recreational map.

Recreational Map - Click on the map to view enlarged version

To see the various sections which comprise the TMNP please view our management map.

Management map

Click on the map to view enlarged version


Please note that Peter Slingsby publishes the only maps endorsed by the TMNP. To expand the following thumbnails, please click on them directly. To download the original maps, click on the map name.

Table Mountain National Park Olifantsbos Steenberg Ridge Vlakkenberg Western Table

 

Activities

Approved Mountain Bike tracks


Accommodation

Map to the Platteklip Wash House


Orange Kloof Tented Camp


Silvermine Tented Camp


Slangkop Tented Camp


Smitswinkel Tented Camp

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Tariffs

Daily Conservation Fees for 1 November 2013 to 31 October 2014
Boulders R55 per adult, per day
R25 per child, per day
Cape of Good Hope R105 per adult, per day
R50 per child, per day
Newlands R20 per adult,
R10 per child, to braai.
Vehicle minimum rate: R16
Oudekraal R30 per adult, per day
R15 per child, per day
Perdekloof R10 per adult, per day
R5 per child, per day
Silvermine R40 per adult, per day
R20 per child, per day
Tokai R20 per adult, per day
R10 per child, per day
R15 per vehicle

TOKAI FOREST

Reservations for the Wood Owl Cottage should be made directly with the Park on (021) 712 7471


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Day visitors:

As it is situated within the City of Cape Town with its area fragmented by urban development and privately owned land, this is primarily a day visit Park.

Emergencies:

In case of emergencies please call: 021 957 4700

Contact Information

For enquiries e-mail Table Mountain National Park or phone us on the following numbers:

Tel: 021 701 8692
Fax: 021 701 8773

Office Hours:

Head Office – Westlake: 08:00 - 17:00

Gate Times

Cape of Good Hope section (Cape Point):

Winter: April - September 07:00 - 17:00
Summer: October - March 06:00 - 18:00

Boulders

Winter: April - September 08:00 - 17:00
Summer: October - March 07:00 - 19:00

Silvermine

Winter: May - August 08:00 - 17:00
Summer: September - April 07:00 - 18:00

Oudekraal

Winter: April - September 08:00 - 18:00
Summer: October - March 08:00 - 18:00

Check in/out times:

For the three cottages in the Cape of Good Hope section, Elands, Duiker and Olifantsbos check in time is 14:00 and check out is 10:00.

Hints & Tips

  • Always bring both warm and cold weather clothes – the weather on the Peninsula is unpredictable.
  • Never hike alone and always inform a friend of your intended route
  • What visitors need to take (preparation for the trip)
    • Bring along binoculars, camera, walking shoes, sun block, a hat and wildlife reference books.
    • As outdoor lighting in camps is limited, a torch/headlamp is required when walking outside at night.
  • Road maps of tourist routes.
  • No immunisations are needed for travel to this park. The park is situated in a malaria-free area.

Internal Road Network

Only a few areas of the TMNP allow private vehicle access – Cape of Good Hope section and Signal Hill. Vehicles are subject to strict speed limits and a required to keep to the designated roads. Other areas such as Silvermine, Newlands and Oudekraal offer secure parking within the gates.

Natural and Cultural History

Please visit www.tmnp.co.za for some fascinating insight into this unique park.

Scientific Services

Table Mountain National Park has excellent ties with the SANParks service, other conservation agencies as well as academic institutions like the University of Cape Town.
Facts and Figures:

  • Visitor numbers around 4.2 million annually
  • Land use type: Conservation
  • Local Population: Only personnel live within Park borders. However, because the Park is situated within the City of Cape Town both rich and poor suburbs and townships surround it.

Personnel

There are about 133 permanent positions (operational and administrative) within the Park. The number of contracted staff varies according to the types of projects at any one time.

Concessions:

There are currently two concessionaires:

  • CONCOR manage the commercial operations at Cape Point
  • Table Mountain Aerial Cableway operates the cable car on Table Mountain.

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People & Conservation

Environmental Experience

The Table Mountain National Park’s Environmental Experience (EE) Programme is primarily aimed at the disadvantage youth of Cape Town.

These youth live far away from the TMNP and do not have the opportunity to visit the Park often. Much of the future of our conservation efforts hinge on building a love for nature in the hearts and minds of our youth – tomorrows leaders.

The Park has two busses - a 60 seater and a 22 seater – that pick children from schools on the Cape Flats and take them to the Park for the day. These excursions are not only recreational but have an educational angle as well.

Table Mountain is the perfect outdoor classroom to do a Natural Science lesson. Class in the Clouds provides you with a pre-prepared RNCS linked lesson to do on top of Table Mountain.

You can catch a ride in the cable car up Table Mountain into the Class in the Clouds. A learner will receive a free Coca-Cola, the guidance of a teacher assistant and a Class in the Clouds certificate. (There will be an extra charge if you travel with the Park bus). It is very important to make your booking at The Table Mountain Cableway by phoning +27(0) 21 424 0015 or e-mailing Fairuz Abrahams at fairuz@tablemountain.net

Cape Point

Cape Point is a unique area to visit where you can experience the fynbos, wild animals, beaches and multi cultural sites.

At Cape Point you will be able to integrate all learning outcomes. Natural Science lessons can include, fynbos identification, plant adaptations or dune ecology. The beaches and rock pools are also wonderful topics for a playful lesson. There are numerous short hikes that can form part of your lesson. Cultural historical sites also form a great part of the Cape Point area and can cover Social Science Learning Outcomes. Hikes and any lesson in the outdoor classroom should be planed well ahead of time.

Boulders is home to an African Penguin colony where learners can get up-close to observe these beautiful birds. RNCS linked lessons are available for foundation and intermediate phase.

Silvermine is a biodiversity rich area and the perfect spot to do any fynbos lesson. The dam also offers an ideal setting for fresh water ecology lesson. There are also beautiful hiking trails that can be included in map work lessons. This area has amazing lookout points which the learners can look over the city below. Many Social Science Geography learning outcomes can be covered in lessons in this area of the Park.

Silvermine also has areas that show the signs of early human habitation. These include Peer’s Cave - a well know Khoi/San site as well as the Sunbird Centre that is an old Homestead. This centre can be booked for overnight accommodation for children. Please phone +27(0) 21 701 8692 to make a booking.

Teacher Training

To fortify our commitment to educating the youth about the environment, the TMNP has developed a curriculum and training programme for teachers. This programme has been endorsed by the Western Cape Department of Education and teachers who participate and pass are qualified to do environmental education with their kids in the Park.

The Park also has various centres where kids can spend the day, and in some cases overnight, in the Park, that can be used in conjunction with the People and Conservation Department:

Sunbird Centre in Silvermine

An overnight facility - the Sunbird Environmental Awareness Centre is located in the scenic Silvermine River Valley within the Silvermine Section of the TMNP.

Bordjiesrif

Is situated in the Cape of Good Hope section – day visits only.

The People’s Trail

It starts at Constantia Nek at 09:00, opposite the Constantia Nek Restaurant, where you will meet a Table Mountain National Park guides. You can access Constantia Nek via Rhodes Drive, Kirstenbosch, from Hout Bay or from the Wynberg/ Tokai / Constantia area. The 2-day trail is a 15km hike, which ends on Table Mountain Road at the bottom of Platteklip Gorge, where you will descend. The trail will end by 15:00. People's Trail information brochure

For more information and bookings:

Contact: Nolene Mafakala, tel: +27(0) 21 701 8692, fax: +27(0) 21 701 8773, e-mail: nolenem@sanparks.org

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People & Conservation

Junior Rangers

Junior Rangers

The TMNP Junior Rangers are a group of children from all corners of Cape Town that participate in nature conservation training to become well-informed voluntary rangers contributing to the vision and mission of SANParks.

The first cohort of Table Mountain National Park Junior Rangers was chosen at the beginning of 2009. A selection panel consisting of TMNP staff, iKapa Honourary Rangers and TMNP Volunteers chose 40 children out of 200 that applied to be chosen as part of the first TMNP Junior Rangers.

Application for 2009 have already closed but interested parties for 2010 can contact Christa Stringer on +27(0) 21 780 9006 from November 2009 for application forms.

If you would like to become involved with training on sponsoring a child for a year, please also contact Christa Stringer on the number above.

For further enquiries please call the People and Conservation Department: Tel. +27 (0) 21 701 8692.

More info on Environmental Education:

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People & Conservation

Volunteers & Friends

The people of Cape Town are passionate about their National Park and as a result there is a vibrant volunteer and friend's community. These devoted citizens give freely of their time in order to assist the Park in a multitude of activities such as alien clearing, firefighting, path maintenance, guiding, cleansing and education.

Friends and volunteers differ slightly in that volunteers are directly linked to the Park whereas friends groups are independent associations that interact with the Park but have their own public voice.

However because many of these activities are specialised TMNP employs a fulltime Volunteer Manager to coordinate and oversee all activities.

For more information on volunteering in the Park or the various Friends groups please contact:

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People & Conservation

Cultural Heritage

The Cape Peninsula has a rich social history to compliment its natural wonders ranging from the Stone Age to more modern times such as the two World Wars.

As custodians of the 25 000 hectare Table Mountain National Park that incorporates many of these historically significant sites, Park management is also tasked with protecting this valuable cultural heritage.

To this end the TMNP has developed a Heritage Resource Management Plan (HRMP) which outlines all the sites of cultural significance as well as identifies those most urgently demanding protection. Download the HRMP

A glance at our Cultural History

Traces of early stone age tools give evidence that early hunter gatherers lived on the Cape Peninsula around 600 000 years ago.

Later inhabitants – the San (hunter-gatherers) - harvested food from the seashore and evidence of their presence are the middens (prehistoric refuse heaps) that are found in a number of caves in the park and reveal a great deal about their lifestyle.

About 2000 years ago the Khoi Khoi migrated from the north, displacing the San, bringing with them their herds of cattle and sheep. It was the KhoiKhoi who were the dominant tribe when the Europeans sailed into Table Bay.

Other evidence of these early inhabitants is the rock art in Peer's Cave in the central section of the Park.

Early European Explorers

The first in a steady stream of Europeans to visit the Cape Peninsula was the explorer Bartholomew Dias who set sail from Portugal in 1487 to find a sea route to the riches of the East. And in 1488 they had unwittingly rounded the Cape of Good Hope.

It was a full 10 years later that Vasco da Gama set sail from Portugal, rounded the Cape and reached India, making him the first person to open the sea route from Europe to the East and proving that rounding the Cape of Good Hope did indeed provide hope of reaching the riches of the East.

Commemorative crosses have been erected to honour Dias and Da Gama at Bordjiesrif and near Platboom, respectively, in the Cape of Good Hope. Ever since, the Cape of Good Hope has been an important landmark for mariners and Table Bay at the foot of the majestic Table Mountain became, and still is, a haven where seafarers could seek shelter and take aboard fresh supplies of water and meat bartered from the Khoikhoi

Settlers & Slaves

In 1652, the Dutchman, Jan van Riebeeck, stepped ashore at Table Bay tasked with establishing a refreshment station for the Dutch East India Company and their ships that sailed the route to the Dutch East Indies. A fort (the Good Hope Castle) and gardens were established at the foot of Table Mountain. A viticulture industry was initiated and land was granted to settlers to grow crops. And so began European settlement at the Cape.

Tragically, European occupation of the Cape resulted in the virtual extermination of the Khoenkhoen tribes through slaughter and the introduction of European disease such as small pox against which these peaceful herders had no defense.

These European settlers have left a rich architectural history scattered around the Park such as the Kings Block House on Devil's Peak - an early fort built by the British in 1790 to guard against attack from the south west – and in the deep south an old farmstead, dating back to 1780, has been lovingly restored and is now the TMNP's Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre.

Other sites of interest include the lighthouse at Cape Point, the dams on top of Table Mountain, relics from both World Wars, Maclears Beacon (the highest point in the Park) and of course the numerous shipwrecks that litter the coastline.

However some of the most fascinating heritage sites have deep spiritual significance to the Muslim population of Cape Town. When slavery was rampant in the Cape slaves were imported from Malaysia and the east. Among these were prominent holy men whose Kramats are found in the Park such as those at Oudekraal and Signal Hill.

Probably the most well known heritage site in the Park is Rhodes Estate. Cecil John Rhodes was a powerful and controversial character who could be called the father of conservation on the Cape Peninsula having acquired land spanning the eastern slopes of Table Mountain from Devils Peak to Constantia Nek. On his death this land was bequeathed to the people of Cape Town and protected from development. This land, with the exception of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, is now managed by the TMNP.

For more information on the rich cultural history of Cape Town and the Peninsula please refer to the following museums:

  • Iziko Museums of Cape Town: www.museums.org.za/iziko or call: +27 (0) 21 481 3800
  • The Slave Lodge on Adderley Street – call +27 (0) 21 460 8242
  • District Six Museum – call +27 (0) 21 461 8754
  • Bo-Kaap Museum – call +27 (0) 21 481 3939

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Birding in Table Mountain National Park

Although bird numbers are not always impressive (compared to the bird rich eastern and northern parts of South Africa ), the Table Mountain National Park ’s cumulative bird list is a large one and there are several SA endemic species.

The diversity of habitats present (ocean, shoreline, cliff-face, rocky highland, fynbos, forest and suburbia) contributes to the large species count, as does the geographical positioning at a continent’s corner, which means many vagrants swell the list, due to weather conditions blowing stray birds or miscalculated flight journeys on the part of individual birds.

In fynbos regions one should search for Grey-backed Cisticola, Karoo Prinia, Cape Sugarbird , Orange-breasted, Malachite and Southern (Lesser) Double Collared Sunbird. Cape Siskin, Cape Rock-thrush and Ground Woodpecker should be looked for in rocky areas at higher elevation. In damp areas at high elevation, Striped Flufftail are found, although this species is more likely to be heard than seen. Birds of Prey should also be looked for overhead in these higher altitude areas. Verreaux’s (Black) Eagle, Jackal and Steppe (summer) Buz za rd, Rock Kestrel , and the occasional Lanner and Peregrine Falcon should all be scanned for. White-necked Raven is common.

In forest patches Sombre Greenbul (Bulbul), Olive Thrush, Cape Batis , Dusky and Paradise Flycatcher, Black Saw-wing, African Olive-Pigeon (Rameron Pigeon) and Lemon (Cinnamon) Dove are usually to be found. African Wood-Owl too is often present but is more elusive as are Rufous-chested (Red-breasted) Sparrowhawk and African Goshawk. In areas where exotic pines and oaks are present, pockets of the dwindling Chaffinch population may still be found. Dense thickets on forest fringes is the haunt of the Knysna Warbler, although this species is more likely to be heard than seen, particularly between September and November. Honey Buz za rd is another special to be searched for between from Newlands to Tokai, Constantia and Hout Bay .

One of the birding highlights of the peninsula is the African (Jackass) Penguin colony at Boulders Beach . Several hundred penguins are present all year round and the bird’s lack of fear and a well designed boardwalk means that visitors can obtain excellent sightings of this species at close quarters. During July 2000 a Greater Sheathbill found its way into the colony. It was thought to be a ship-assisted bird from the sub-Antarctic Islands .

If one has access to a telescope, pelagic seabird watching can prove rewarding at several points along the peninsula coastline. Cape Gannet, Blackbrowed Albatross, Sooty Shearwater, Whitechinned and Giant Petrels can be seen all year round when strong winds bring the birds closer to shore. Winter is the best time for seabirdwatching and Shy, and Yellownosed Albatross and Pintado Petrel compliment the previously mentioned species. Get on board an organised pelagic boat ride and you will see many more open-ocean species as well. Cory’s Shearwater is recorded in summer, particularly on the False Bay side of the peninsula.

Along the Peninsula coastline, African Black Oystercatcher may be found as well as four species of cormorant. Crowned, Bank, White-breasted and Cape Cormorant are all present, sometimes even seen side by side. Cape (Kelp) and Hartlaub’s Gull are abundant throughout, while Antarctic (winter), Swift (all year), Sandwich and Common (both summer) Tern may all be located.

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Fauna

Ecosystems are not made up of plants alone and the animals that are indigenous to an area are integral to its health.

As you hike keep your eyes peeled for the animals that call the Table Mountain National Park home. Many are so well adapted to the fynbos ecosystem that you need to be quick to spot them.

The animals listed below are but a few of the Park's residents and may not be as overtly exciting as the “Big Five” but those lucky enough to observe them will be amazed by the variety of life supported by the Table Mountain chain.

Mammals

Historical evidence (rock art and fossils) give evidence that the Cape Peninsula was once populated by a variety of larger mammals such as lion, leopard and hyena, however due to hunting and environmental degradation they are but a memory.

TMNP management has started reintroduction of locally extinct species - but on the tamer side of things with the tiny klipspringer.

Antelope species adapted to fynbos are generally tiny and hard to spot but well worth the patience. Look out for klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus), recently reintroduced to Table Mountain. These petite buck are likely to be seen standing proudly on rocky outcrops. Grysbok (Raphicerus melanotis), common duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia), Grey Rhebok (Pelea capreolus) and steenbok (Raphicerus campestris) can also be spotted towards evening and in the early mornings.

Larger Antelope species such as Eland (Taurotragus oryx), Red Hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus), Bontebok (Damaliscus dorcas dorcas) can be found in the Cape of Good Hope section of the TMNP.

Other mammals include: Cape Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra zebra), caracal or rooikat (Felis caracal), Large-spotted genet (Genneta tigrina), Small-spotted genet (Genneta genetta), porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralus), Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis), Chacma Baboons (papio ursinus), Cape Clawless Otter (Aonyx capensis), Water mongoose (Atilax paludinosus); Cape Molerat (Georhycus capensis), Striped Polecat (Ictonyx striatus); Cape Dune Mole (Bathyergus suillus) Water mongoose (Ayonix capensis), Small Grey Mongoose (Galerella purverulenta) and the Cape Fox (Vulpes chama).

Reptiles & Amphibians

Table Mountain hosts an amazing variety of reptiles and amphibians that, if you take the time to observe, are as interesting as larger animals, if not more so.

The TMNP is home to around 22 snakes, 10 of which are non-venomous, although they can still deliver a nasty bite if provoked and five of the venomous species include the Cape Cobra, the Puff Adder, Boomslang, Rinkhals and Berg Adder. The good news is it they are mostly shy and will avoid human contact. The one you are most likely to encounter is the Puff Adder which moves at a leisurely pace and enjoys a nice warm spots, such as rocks and pathways.

Of the species of lizard that inhabit the TMNP the most common are the Southern Rock Agama (males identifiable by a bright blue head during mating season), the Black Girdled Lizard (all black and definitely prehistoric in looks) and the Cape Skink (usually found relaxing on a good sunny rock).

TMNP is a haven for a variety of amphibians most notably the endemic and endangered Table Mountain Ghost Frog (Heleophryne rosei) and the endemic Cape Chirping Frog (Arthroleptella lightfooti).

Also look out for the Cape River Frog (Afrana fuscigula), the diminutive Arum Lily Frog (Hyperolius horstocki) and the Leopard Toad (Bufo pantherinus).

The slowest of all the reptiles, but definitely worth watching are the tortoises. Look out for the Angulate Tortoise (Chersina angulata) and the Parrot-beaked Tortoise (Homopus areolatus).

Birds

Although bird numbers are not always impressive (compared to the bird rich eastern and northern parts of South Africa), the Table Mountain National Park's cumulative bird list is a large one and there are several endemic species.

The diversity of habitats present (ocean, shoreline, cliff-face, rocky highland, fynbos, forest and suburbia) contributes to the large species count, as does the geographical positioning at a continent's corner, which means many vagrants swell the list, due to weather conditions blowing stray birds or miscalculated flight journeys on the part of individual birds. Please note that this list is not all inclusive.

In fynbos regions one should search for Grey-backed Cisticola (Cisticola subruficapilla), Karoo Prinia (Prinia maculosa), Cape Sugarbird (Pomerops cafer), Orange-breasted (Nectarina violacea), Malachite (Nectarina famosa) and Lesser Double Collared (Nectarina chalybea) sunbirds. Cape Siskin (Pseudochloroptila totta), Cape Rock-thrush (Monticola rupestris) and Ground Woodpecker (Geocolaptes olivaceus) should be looked for in rocky areas at higher elevation.

Birds of Prey should also be looked for overhead in higher altitude areas. Verreaux's (Black) Eagle (Aquila verreauxii), Jackal (Buteo rufofuscus) and Steppe (Buteo buteo vulpinus) buzzards, Rock Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), and Peregrine Falcon (Falco Peregrinus) should all be scanned for.

In forest patches look for Sombre Bulbul (Andropadus importanus), Olive Thrush (Turdis olivaceus), Cape Batis (Batis capensis), Dusky (Muscicapa adusta) and Paradise flycatchers (Terpsiphone viridis), African Olive/ Rameron Pigeon (Columba arquatrix) and Cinnamon Dove (Aplopelia larvata).

African Wood-Owl (Strix woodfordii) are often present in forest areas as are Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk (Accipiter rufiventris) and African Goshawk (Accipiter tachiro).
Dense thicket on forest fringes is the haunt of the Knysna Warbler (Bradypterus sylvaticus).

One of the birding highlights of the peninsula is the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) colony at Boulders Beach. Other seabird's include: Cape Gannet (Morus capensis), Black-browed Albatross (Diomedea melanophris), Sooty Shearwater, White-chinned and Giant petrels can be seen all year round when strong winds bring the birds closer to shore.

In winter look out for the Shy (Diomedea cauta) and Yellow-nosed (Diomedea chlororhynchos) albatross and Pintado Petrel (Daption capense).

Along the Peninsula coastline, the endangered African Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus moquini) can be found as well as four resident species of cormorant namely - Crowned (Phalacrocorax coronatus), Bank (Phalacrocorax neglectus), White-breasted (Phalacrocorax carbo) and Cape Cormorant (Phalacrocorax capensis). Kelp (Larus dominicanus), Hartlaub's (Larus hartlaubii) and Black-headed (Larus ridibundus) gulls are abundant throughout.

Download the birding checklist for Table Mountain National Park - Cape of Good Hope section.

Marine Life

The Cape Peninsula straddles the two bio-geographic provinces – the cool temperate Namaqua province to the west and the warm temperate South Coast province to the east. This is one of the most diverse and productive stretches in South Africa. The Cape Peninsula is even endemic to this change-over region. It is also the area of the longest commercial fishing in South Africa. The MPA was declared in order to protect this precious biodiversity from commercial and recreational exploitation.

Species that occur here range from microscopic planktons, crustaceans, abalone and rock lobster to giants such as the great white shark and the southern right whale. In between occur numerous types of fish such as hake, yellow tail and cape salmon – all three top-targeted commercial species. Others include red roman white steenbras and galjoen – popular for recreational anglers but under strictly regulated conditions due to their threatened status.

Want to find out the status of fish, simply SMS "fish species" to 079 4998795.

One of the reasons for the profusion of Great White Sharks in the False Bay is the abundant population of Cape Fur seals that have colonised Seal Island in the middle of the Bay. The Cape Fur Seal is also an efficient hunter in its own right.

Whale Watching

A major tourist attraction is whale spotting as the MPA is a popular breeding ground for species such as the Southern Right (Eubalaena australis) and Humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) whales. From August to October these giants of the deep awe visitors on an annual basis with their amazingly graceful marine acrobatics. Good vantage points for whale spotting are Chapman's Peak Drive, Rooikrans, Boyes Drive and the Scarborough/ Kommetjie Pass.

Other popular marine mammals are the dolphins that inhabit the MPA, these graceful and curious animals can be found body surfing the various breaks around the peninsula. Commonly sighted species are the Bottlenose Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus delphis), the Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis) and the Dusky Dolphin (Tursiops truncates).

Insects

There are a profusion of insects in the TMNP and they play an integral role in the fynbos ecosystem either by directly pollinating plants or as a vital source of nutrient for birds and animals that themselves act as distributors of seed.

Certain insects are especially adapted to service specific plants. Look out for butterflies such as the Mountain Pride Butterfly (Aeropetes tulbaghia) that is the exclusive pollinator of a variety of red plants such as the red disa, and the red crassula.

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Flora

Fynbos

The Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) is rich in floral biodiversity and is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom World Heritage Site. The most common vegetation type in the TMNP is fynbos (meaning fine bush).

Fynbos is an ancient yet unique vegetation type and has developed over millions of years with restios dating as far back as 60 million years. It has a high level of endemism (when a specific plant occurs nowhere else on earth) often with a species being endemic to an area of a few kilometres only. It is this high level of endemism combined with the high rate of development and environmental degradation that has resulted in the Cape Floral Kingdom being declared a biodiversity hot spot.

Fynbos consists of four major plant groups:-

  • Proteas: large shrubs with broad leaves
  • Erica’s: heath-like, low growing shrubs
  • Restios: reed-like plants; are the only group that are found in all fynbos habitats and as such are called
  • Geophytes: bulbs; these include watsonias and disa’s both of which occur mainly in wetland areas and are prominent after fires.

Fynbos is a fire-dependent vegetation that needs to burn around every 15 years to stimulate new growth and ensure that plant and animal communities remain healthy. However, because of the proximity of houses to the TMNP, often fires that would be beneficial to the vegetation are extinguished because of the threat to human settlement. If fynbos does not burn in about 20 - 30 years it will become moribund which could result in the extinction of some species.

On the other hand certain areas of the Park experience fire too frequently due to human intervention. This can be destructive to the ecosystem because when young fynbos (fynbos that has not yet reached seed-bearing status) burns, seed banks are depleted which can change the diversity of plant species in the area, e.g. more grass species, which could result in even more frequent fires.

Visit our section on Fire Management to find out how the TMNP Firefighting Unit operates.

Renosterveld

Renosterveld (rhinoceros field) is a type of vegetation found on the slopes of Signal Hill and Devil’s Peak, wherever there are exposures of Malmesbury shale.

It thus occurs on gentle to steep lower slopes forming a tall, open shrubland and grassland, typically with Renosterbos not appearing very prominently. This vegetation is very grassy due to frequent fires and lack of grazing. On south-facing slopes and upper slopes this unit merges into fynbos. The early seral (?) stages after fire are dominated by spectacular bulb displays and resprouting bush clumps of Wax Currant-rhus, after which tussock grasses, shrubs and ferns emerge. After only 12 months the reseeding species start to become more obvious, much faster than in Fynbos.

This is a critically endangered vegetation unit, with only 13% remaining, the rest having been lost under Cape Town’s urban sprawl. A fair proportion of the conserved area on Devil’s Peak is covered by pine and gum parkland, and is the focus of restoration research.

Renosterveld burns every 3–5 years to the dismay of Cape Town citizens, but this is the natural fire frequency for this vegetation type, especially where it is not heavily grazed.. Large portions of Signal Hill however, have been, protected from fire for up to 25 years, and as a consequence, bush encroachment and invasion by alien Thatching Grass is providing a management challenge for protecting the bulbs and succulents in this veld type.

Information from: Fynbos Biome in The Vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland by A.G. Rebelo, C. Boucher, N. Helme, L. Mucina, M.C. Rutherford et al. 2006. L. Mucina & M.C. Rutherford (eds). Strelitzia 19, pp 52-219.

Afromontane Forest

While we have no real indication of the expanse of Afromontane Forest on the peninsula in pre-colonial times, today only small pockets remain in the TMNP as during 50 years of European settlement, large areas of Afromontane had been harvested.

Afromontane Forest usually occurs below 800m and requires good rainfall and nutrient-rich soil and today is found primarily in kloofs on the slopes of Table Mountain but it does occur as far south as the Cape of Good Hope. It consists of medium-height (15m-20m), evergreen trees and unlike its neighbour fynbos, it is not very rich in diversity and consists of around 33 species of trees.

Due to the dense nature of the forest canopy, only a few other plants, such as ferns, are found in the forest but there is an abundance of algae’s and mosses. The majority of animals in the forests are of the reptilian, invertebrate (insect) or avian persuasion although you can see rooikat and smaller antelope such as steenbok.

For good forest walks visit the activities section.

Sensitive Ecosystems

Rivers & Wetlands

The few remaining wetlands on the Cape Peninsula are of huge ecological significance. The Noordhoek/ Kommetjie wetlands and the central area of Table Mountain are excellent representatives of wetland ecology. Their slightly acidic nature limits the number of plants that grow there, although numbered among those that do are some of the Park's rarest floral jewels such as the Bokmakieriestert (Witsenia maura), Erica heleogena and three endemic leucodendrons all of which are numbered on the IUCN's Red Data List.

Recommended Read:

For an enlightening read that will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the TMNP, buy Mountains in the Sea – an Interpretive Guide to Table Mountain National Park by award winning environmental journalist John Yeld. The book comprehensively covers all aspects of the Park from fauna, flora and fire to popular hikes and history. It is available from TMNP outlets at Westlake, Tel: 021 701 8692, Boulders Penguin Colony, Tel: 021 786 2392 and Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre, Tel: 021 780 9204.

For more information on the flora of the TMNP visit: www.botanicalsociety.org.za or www.sanbi.org.za.

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Alien Clearing

One of the biggest threats to the biodiversity of the Table Mountain National Park is the presence of alien invasive plant species. In particular, adult, woody seed-bearing alien invasive plants such as Port Jackson, Rooikrans, Wattle, Hakea, Pine and Blue Gum are especially threatening.

These trees have several negative impacts on the fynbos ecosystem:

  • They impact negatively on the hydrology of an area and use up precious water supplies (i.e. interfere with waterways).
  • They destabilise river banks.
  • They are vigorous growers and out-compete indigenous species by occupying spaces where indigenous species would thrive.
  • They destroy the balance of habitats and therefore impact negatively on indigenous fauna.
  • In some cases their seeds lie dormant for 70 -100 years resulting in continuous and dense re-growth
  • They are very flammable and cause frequent and very hot fires.

For the reasons listed above alien clearing is a core part of TMNP's biodiversity management. The alien clearing programme is undertaken in partnership between TMNP and Working for Water, an Expanded Public Works Programme implemented by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) which employs between 300 - 350 people from surrounding communities to work in the park.

Other alien clearing initiatives are being undertaken in the indigenous Afromontane forests. There are around 360 alien plants in Newlands forest alone, most of them invasive. These aliens are garden escapees such as Chinese Privet and Eugenia and pose a real threat to the natural diversity of the forests.

TMNP Mill

The Milling Project is a small project, based in Tokai, falling within the Working for Water Programme (WFW). Seen as a Value-Added industry, the Milling Team specifically mill alien tree species (e.g. gum trees) into planks which can be used by SANParks for repairing and building new boardwalks, bird hides, etc. The aim is to promote a culture of "reduce, re-use, recycle" whilst at the same time reducing fire risks on the mountain slopes. The most important objective is the relief of poverty and the development of communities through job creation.

After felling and de-branching the trees, the branches are stacked for prescribed burning. The excess material that is left over after milling the logs is used for fire wood and the sawdust can be used by the Horse stables nearby as "bedding" for the horses.

Interesting Links:

www.arc.agric.za
SAPIA (ARC-Plant Protection Research Institute) keeps you up-to-date via an electronic newsletter with information on what aliens you need to be on the lookout for as well as updates on biodiversity control.

http://za.ispot.org.uk
iSpot is an avenue for laymen to contribute (usually by uploading images) interesting sightings of animals, plants and fungi that they encounter. Any observations from the wild or your garden, from an alien to a threatened species, is welcomed. iSpot will help you to identify any unknown species.

How can I help?

If you would like to be a volunteer involved with alien clearing, contact Calvin Mojapelo of the People & Conservation Department on 021 712 2337.

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To report a fire in the TMNP

Please call:

  • Hotline: 086 110 6417 or the
  • City’s Regional Fire Control No: (021) 590 1900
  • Newlands Fire Base: Tel: +27(0) 21 689 7438

Fire Management

Fire season in Cape Town extends from November toMay and the dry and windy summers create the ideal conditions for wildfires to occur. The TMNP has a team of dedicated fire-fighters and firefighting volunteers on standby during the entire season.

Fire management in the TMNP is made complex by the fact that as biodiversity conservators Park Management must recognise that fact that fire is an integral part of the fynbos ecosystem while respecting the need to protect life and property on the urban edge.

There are various management interventions undertaken to meet both needs as well as various agencies responsible for Fire Management.

Download the TMNP Fire Management Plan.

Fire Management Organisations

TMNP manages 25 000 hectares of the 30 000 hectares that make up the Cape Peninsula Protected Natural Environment (CPPNE). The remaining 5 000 hectares is a mix of private, City and State-owned land.

The City of Cape Town and TMNP are responsible for the management of fires in the area and have a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) that defines their areas of responsibility and working relationship.

Table Mountain National Park is responsible for managing fire in the Park and on the urban edge and will assist the City in fighting veld and forest fires on municipal land.

TMNP has 76 field staff available to fight fires but during the fire season we hire 70 trained contract fire fighters to assist Park staff in fire fighting with 40 on 24 hour standby duty through out the fire season.

The City of Cape Town aims to protect life and property from fire within the Cape Town Metropolitan area and will assist the TMNP in protecting houses on the urban edge and in fighting fires that have started in road reserves or municipal land that have spread to the Park.

Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) is a volunteer organization that assists TMNP with fighting and securing wildfires in the park. These firefighters are on call anytime night or day, all year round. The VWS runs from bases in Newlands and South Peninsula. To support, join or find out more about the VWS please visit their website: www.capefires.com

Working on Fire was started to assist government and private organizations in combating wildfires. TMNP went into partnership with Working on Fire (WoF) Programme in 2004 which gives us access to the assistance of additional ground crew and equipment, such as helicopters.

Fire Protection Association

Appointed as Fire Protection Officer TMNP’s Manager of Fire and Technical Services, the Cape Peninsula Fire Protection Association (CPFPA) was formed to prevent, predict, manage and extinguish veldfires. Membership is voluntary for private landowners but is compulsory for owners of state and local authority land.

Fire Management Interventions

Firebreaks

  • are a means of access for personnel and equipment during wild fire suppression,
  • serve as a control line where a fire can be attacked, for example, by setting a backburn.

Prescribed Burns

  • reduce fuel loads
  • rejuvenate fire-adapted and fire dependant vegetation
  • help in invasive alien plant control

These are burns set by fire managers under controlled conditions. In Cape Town they are generally planned for March and April once the weather is favourable: no or little wind and a good amount of moisture is present.

TMNP also needs to take account the risk of being on the urban edge - if a prescribed burn escapes it can result in expensive damage to properties and infrastructure.

Stack Burning

Alien plant clearing can result in the accumulation of large quantities of fuel in the form of dead brush, usually stacked in heaps. These stacks are burnt under moist conditions usually between June and August.

Alien Plants

There are many alien plants that grow in the TMNP. Aliens burn with more intensity than fynbos because they tend to be woody with high levels of volatile oils. If unplanned fires occur in old stands of alien plants the fire can get so hot it will sterilize the soil resulting in poor fynbos recovery. Alien fuelled fires are also difficult to contain.

For this reason, among others, the TMNP runs an intensive alien clearing programme funded by Working for Water.

Causes of Fire

  • Human action: Mistakes such as children playing with fire crackers, flares, cigarette butts and airborne coals from braai's and home fires.
  • Paraffin, gass and other spirit fuelled cooking equipment.
  • Natural processes such as: lightning, iron-rich rocks falling and igniting dry, fine grasses.
  • Arson. This is the deliberate lighting of a fire by an individual with the intent of causing damage.

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Geology

Although not strictly part of Biodiversity Management, the unique and often oddly shaped geology of the Table Mountain National Park deserves a mention.

The Cape Peninsula is composed of three main rock formations of varying ages.

  • The Malmesbury Group, around 540 million years old, consists of dark grey mudstones and lighter coloured sandstones. Examples of this formation can be seen on Signal Hill and the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak
  • Cape Granite, around 540 million years old, is much harder and coarse-grained characterised by large white feldspar crystals, shimmering flakes of black mica and grey glassy quartz. This formation is the foundation for most of the Table Mountain Chain and good examples of granite outcrops can be seen at Boulders, Chapman’s Peak and Lion’s Head.
  • Table Mountain Group, only 520 million years old, comprised of a further three formations:
    • The Graafwater formation: This layer is around 25m-65m thick and consists of sandstone and mudstone in red and purple hues.
    • The Peninsula Formation comprised of light grey, pebbly sandstones, forms the bulk of Table Mountain and is around 700m thick.
    • The Pakhuis Formation found on the top of Table Mountain and identifiable by glacially deposited pebbles of sandstone.

For more information please visit: http://web.uct.ac.za/depts/geolsci/cape.htm

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Marine Protected Area

The seas around the Cape Peninsula are rich in marine biodiversity because it is where the cold Benguela and warm Atlantic currents mix. In 2004 the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area (MPA) was pronounced to help ensure that commercial and recreational use of the ocean is sustainable.

The MPA includes 1000km2 of the sea and coastline around the Cape Peninsula from Moullie Point in the North to Muizenberg in the south. While fishing is allowed in the majority of the MPA - subject to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DAFF) permits, regulations and seasons, it also includes six restricted areas with five "no take" zones within the MPA where no fishing or extractive activities are allowed. In the sixth restricted area around the Karbonkelberg in Hout Bay, only snoek are allowed to be caught deeper than the 35m contour.

These restricted or “no-take” zones are important breeding and nursery areas for marine life and through leaving these undisturbed there will ultimately be an increase in marine stock and threatened species are given a chance to regenerate.

The MPA is managed by TMNP in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). TMNP undertakes the administrative and inshore law enforcement and educational activities while DAFF is responsible for issuing permits, quotas and law enforcement.  

There are strict rules and regulations in place regarding fishing in the MPA – click here to view these. Alternatively, visit the department’s website at www.environment.gov.za.

For further information on fishing, season dates, marine species, etc, please click on a link below:

West Coast Rock Lobster
Abalone
DAFF website 

The Marine Team, based at the Signal School above Simon's Town, is faced with the challenge of combating poaching and educating the fishing communities around sustainable use. Poaching is the single biggest threat to our marine environment and has resulted in strict regulations and bans on some recreational activities. Members of the public are asked to report poaching on 021 786 5656 or 021 957 4700.

For information on sustainable use of the oceans please visit: http://www.wwf.org.za/sassi or send an SMS to 079 499 8795.

West Coast Rock Lobster Season 2012/2013

The West Coast Rock Lobster season for 2012/13 is upon us - here are the dates you need to know for when catching rock lobster (crayfish) is allowed:

  • 15 November - 18 November: Every day of the week
  • 19 November - 14 December: Weekends only
  • 15 December - 31 December: Every day of the week
  • 1 January - 1 April: Weekends and public holidays only

Download the West Coast Rock Lobster season dates and information.

 


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Planning & Development

The TMNP’s Conservation Planning and Development Department has a wide range of responsibilities:

Land Consolidation

Table Mountain National Park was established through the proclamation of the initial 14 500 hectares of City land as National Park. Park Management was tasked with incorporating all remaining, undeveloped conservation-worthy land on and around the Cape Peninsula Protected Natural Environment (CPPNE) within the TMNP’s management jurisdiction. The TMNP is 25 000 hectares in extent of the 30 000 hectares that comprise the CPPNE.

The Department has a process underway to secure the remaining conservation worthy City and public land and a CPPNE Private Land Consolidation Strategy which seeks to consolidate private land into the Park by donation, purchase, contract or cooperative agreement. Land consolidation progress is summarized in the Park’s “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” maps.

Policy Management

Management of the Table Mountain National Park is informed by various policies and management plans. The Planning Department is responsible for the management and updating of all policy documents. For more information please visit the Library.

Information Management

All information regarding the Park recorded by plotting it into an Environmental Information System (EIS). This includes topics such as footpath and road networks, alien clearing activities, heritage sites, boundaries, firebreaks, heritage mapping and facility positions.

Signage

Part of the Park’s Visitor Management Programme includes ensuring that there is a comprehensive system of directional and informational signage throughout the TMNP. A comprehensive Signage Manuel serves as the basis for provision of signage throughout the Park.

Land Use Planning

The Department has prepared an overarching spatial planning framework for the Park – the Conservation Development Framework – which identifies recreational use zones, visitor sites and provides for the management of the Park-City interface. Planning frameworks are prepared for priority areas for implementation of visitor infrastructure and outsourcing via the SANParks concession programme.


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Research & Projects

The Expanded Public Works Programme

The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) administered by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) assists in various environmental projects in the TMNP as well as other sensitive areas across the country.  All alien clearing undertaken in the TMNP is funded by Working for Water.
EPWP Projects include those under the following programmes:

  • Working for Wetlands
  • Working on Fire
  • Working on Land
  • Working for the Coast
  • Working for Wildlife

For more information, click here to visit EPWP’s website.

In 2004 TMNP received a R35 million grant from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) for the Expanded Public Works Programme. This initiated Phase 1 of the EPWP programme at TMNP. The grant allowed the park to engage over 400 people from local communities surrounding the park, through skills training and development over a 3 year period..

At the end of 2007, the park received an extension for another year, and at the end of 2008, received a further R6 million as a further extension on phase 1. This brought the total grant to R41 million (2004 – 2009).

The second phase of the project received R8 million from which 92 beneficiaries were employed. Phase 2 was initiated in November 2009 and concluded in June 2012.

Forest Rehabilitation Programme

The TMNP Forest Rehabilitation Programme aims to protect, restore and expand the Afromontane Forests of the Peninsula.

Project

Project Sponsor

Seed Collection

Table Mountain Fund and SAPPI

Gap Management

City/ DEAT

Weed Control

DEAT

Medicinal Herb Garden

National Lotto Company

 

The Seed Collection Project

Seven seed collectors, employed from disadvantaged communities, have been trained in seed collecting, germination and propagation.
Seeds are collected locally in order to preserve genetic integrity. Once collected they are germinated in the nursery at Newlands. Seedlings are planted out once they are around 15 cm tall because they are more likely to adapt to ecological challenges than established trees. Trees are planted in groups or nurse stands – in forester’s jargon this is referred to as “trees growing trees”.
The seedlings are planted in smallish holes and watered just once - the rest is up to the tree and climatic conditions - this ensures that forest rehabilitation is as close to the natural process as possible.

Country-wide this type of forestry is still very much in a research phase.
Within the first five-years (2000-2005) 35 000 seedlings were planted in degraded areas of Newlands and Orange Kloof. In time the project will be rolled out to other areas in the TMNP

Gap Management

The Gap Management Project started in 2004 and aims to manage the felling of big forest trees (mostly alien) in order to minimize damage to the forest canopy if a large tree with an expansive crown falls naturally. Specialist felling is followed by intensive site rehabilitation.

The six staff, originally from the Chrysalis Academy, have been trained in arboriculture, advanced chainsaw skills and business management. Once their training is complete they will be well qualified to market their skills on the open market.

Weed Control

There are around 360 alien plants in Newlands forest alone, most of them invasive. These aliens are garden escapees such as Chinese Privet and Eugenia and pose a real threat to the natural diversity of the forests. In order to stem this deadly tide of growth 10 individuals from the Hangberg Community in Hout Bay have been recruited and trained to specialize in alien clearing in forested areas. This includes the ability to distinguish between alien and indigenous seedlings.

The Medicinal Herb Garden

It is illegal to harm any indigenous flora in the TMNP but the Park is surrounded by a huge community of traditional users from Rastafarians and herbalists to healers and sangoma’s.

A creative solution to the tension that exists between conservation initiatives and traditional use of plant and tree species is obviously required.

So in a project that ran in consultation with leaders in the Traditional Healer's Association of the Western Cape, the TMNP established a medicinal herb garden on the terraces near Rhodes Memorial. Trainees attended workshops and were involved in all aspects of preparing and attending to the garden and doing practical infield training in topics such as soil stability, germination, propagation, germination and sustainable harvesting.

TMNP extends a heartfelt thanks to the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) for donating plants and sharing their knowledge.

Klipspringer Reintroduction

In 1999 the TMNP started a klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) reintroduction programme. This tiny antelope had been hunted to local extinction in the 1930’s.
The first introduction of 19 animals was into the enclosed Cape of Good Hope section of the Park in 1999. This population has settled down well and has begun breeding.

The second release was the historic reintroduction of the klipspringer onto Table Mountain and Klawer Valley in October 2003.
CapeNature donated 25 klipspringer to TMNP and the Table Mountain Fund (TMF) funded VHF radio collars and a master’s study.

  • 9 released onto the Back Table, 3 with VHF radio collars
  • 13 released into Klawer Valley, 3 with VHF radio collars
  • 3 released into Cape of Good Hope

Then in October 2005 CapeNature donated a further 10 klipspringer to the TMNP and the TMF came on board again and funded with more sophisticated GPS collars that are more suited to the mountainous terrain.
The klipspringer reintroduction programme is the subject of a master’s study and further reintroductions are currently being considered.

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World Heritage Site Status

In June 2004 the Cape Floristic Region (CFR), which spans the eastern and western Cape, was declared to be: of universal significance to humanity and was inscribed as a Natural World Heritage Site.

The site is a serial nomination and is made up of eight separate areas that are considered to be representative samples of the entire region and is managed by four different authorities namely South African National Parks (SANParks), CapeNature, the Eastern Cape Nature Conservation Board (ECNCB) and the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).

  • Table Mountain National Park and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, managed by SANParks and SANBI respectively. This is the first time a botanical garden has been included in Natural World Heritage Site nomination.
  • Cedarburg Wilderness Area – CapeNature
  • Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area – CapeNature
  • Boland Mountain Complex - CapeNature
  • De Hoop Nature Reserve - CapeNature
  • Bosmansbos Wilderness Area - CapeNature
  • Swartberg Complex - CapeNature
  • Baviaanskloof Protected Area – ECNCB

Why the CFR was declared a Natural World Heritage Site

The CFR is the smallest and richest of the six floral kingdoms that occur on earth. It is also the only kingdom confined to one continent and is home to an amazing 8 200 plant species - of which around 80% are fynbos. The significance of this hits home when you consider that the British Isles, 3 ½ times the size, boasts less than 1 500 plant species.

Many of the plants that occur here are endemic – that means that they occur nowhere else on earth. To add to this there are around 1,406 threatened plant species, 300 of which are endangered or critically endangered and 29 plant species are already extinct. It is this combination of high diversity and levels of threat from issues like urbanization, poor fire management and alien species that makes the CFR the world’s hottest floral hot-spot. Add to this the increase in global warming and pollution.

South Africa’s World Heritage Sites

The City of Cape Town now boasts no less than three World Heritage sites:

  • Table Mountain National Park
  • Kirstenbosch
  • Robben Island

The other sites in SA are the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, Sterkfontein – Cradle of Humankind, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape and the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park.

For more information on World Heritage Sites, the Cape Floristic Region and threatened ecosystems please visit:


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People with disabilities

Wheelchair Access

Accommodation

The park accommodation is geared towards hikers and while the camps themselves are equipped with boardwalks that enable mobility, the ablutions are not adapted for wheelchair users, but there are many accessible accommodation options around the park in the city of Cape Town.

Accessible Activities & Facilities

There are several tourist destinations within the confines of the TMNP. The major visitor destinations are listed here. These have varying accessibility levels for the mobility impaired.

  • Table Mountain
    The cable way can be assessed by use of a lift which takes one to the ground floor level for departure/arrival of the cable car. Parking can be arranged for people with mobility impairment at the entrance by prior arrangement with the aerial cable way company. On the mountaintop the shop, restaurant and toilets all have ramped access. A series of circular routes in the concession area takes visitors around a portion of the top of the mountain. These routes have a chip stone and concrete surface .
  • Cape Point
    There are parking bays for the mobility impaired at Cape Point. Access can be gained into the curio shop, the information centre and to the public toilets, which are on the western side of the car park. The ramp descending to these ablution facilities may be too steep for some. The restaurant at Cape Point has a staggered access ramp that permits wheelchairs to move down the steep slope. There is another accessible toilet in the restaurant. The restaurant's lower deck overlooking False Bay has a particularly steep ramp and assistance may be required. The Point's highlight is the funicular that takes people up the steep slope to a lookout point. This allows easy access to a wheelchair user. It does not go all the way to the summit, and to reach this beacon, visitors are required to climb stairs. The toilets at the lookout point have no specific accessibility adaptations, but they are wide enough for a wheelchair to get to the toilet, although the door cannot be closed behind. The lower section of a second curio shop is down a small flight of stairs. There are several other lookout points in this section of the park. Many of these are accessible by vehicle, but the area's walks are not wheelchair compatible. The Buffelsfontein Visitors Centre has disabled parking bays, a disabled toilet and is accessible to guests in wheel chairs.
  • Boulders Beach & Penguin Colony
    A well-designed wooden boardwalk allows people with mobility impairment the opportunity to get right down to the penguin colony beach (Foxy Beach). There is also ramped access into the new information centre built on the site of the old degaussing station. Ablutions for wheelchair users are also present here. A boardwalk ("Willis Walk") provides a firm surface for movement between the Visitor Centre and Boulder's Bathing Beach. This pathway is quite steep in places. A concrete ramp can be used to access the beach itself, although many will require assistance, as it is very steep.
  • Silvermine
    The Silvermine Dam has a 650 m walkway (part wooden boardwalk and part finely gravelled walkway, and concrete over the dam wall). The boardwalk ramp from the car park to the walkway has been revamped to make this slope less steep and easier for wheelchair access. Ablution facilities have been added at the start of the walkway which include a wheelchair-accessible toilet. There are two specially demarcated parking bays for people with disabilities at the start of the boardwalk.

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