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Table Mountain National Park

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 are a laidback beach user head south and try out Noordhoek or Scarborough - which are spacious enough to accommodate crowds and are also good for watching the sun set. Why not try swimming with the penguins at Boulders Beach?
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 that there are no life guards on duty on TMNP beaches. Swimmers should exercise caution at all times.

Alcohol is not allowed on TMNP beaches.
**A level 1 My Activity Permit is required for dog walking and a Level 3 My Activity permit for Line Fishing .

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