Safety is a number one priority at the Table Mountain Cableway. For this reason, the Cableway closes each year for a brief period to allow a team of experienced engineers to inspect the entire operation. This year, the cableway will be closed from Monday 27 July until Sunday 9 August.
The engineers make sure that the Table Mountain Cableway meets the highest standards set by the Swiss Governing Body for Cableways. Each year a team of Swiss engineers works together with the local Cableway team, who are trained to assist with the maintenance, to ensure that the Cableway complies with all safety guidelines set by the governing body.
Much of the maintenance operations involve cleaning the ropes, testing the slack ropes, renewing the switches and bearings, servicing various generators, and making changes to certain electronic components. At the same time, a team gives the cable car cabins a facelift.
But just because the cableway is closing, it doesn’t mean you can’t get the most of the Mother City. This is how we recommend you keep busy while the Cableway undergoes its annual maintenance:
1. Robben Island Ferry
Take a trip to Robben Island aboard the popular Robben Island ferry. While the true impact of a trip to Robben Island lies in a humbling tour of the Apartheid-era prison, the trip out to the island and back offers spectacular views, and a whole new perspective on the City, V&A Waterfront, and Table Mountain.
A trip to Robben Island includes a tour of the island and a return ride on the ferry, which departs from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront.
2. Flying Dutchman Funicular
The Flying Dutchman Funicular at Cape Point is an immensely popular ride in Cape Town. The cable-drawn funicular offers a scenic ride that circumvents the steep uphill trek to the famous old lighthouse, sitting on the cliffs high above the swirling Atlantic Ocean.
While the old lighthouse is no longer functioning, it offers stunning panoramic views of the bay and peninsula. You can purchase one-way or return tickets for the funicular at the funicular stations within Cape Point.
3. Cape Wheel
Take a spin on the famous Cape Wheel at the V&A Waterfront. This beautiful observation wheel is located in the heart of the Waterfront, and it offers stunning views over the immediate precinct, the Cape Town CBD, and Table Mountain.
The views and atmosphere will change with the time of day, so make sure you visit during daytime and again when the sun has set. It is open until 7pm on Tuesday to Thursday, 10pm on Friday and Saturday, and 8pm on Sunday.
4. Boomslang Walkway
The Boomslang treetop canopy walkway at Kirstenbosch is an exciting experience perfect for the whole family, in the middle of the tranquil botanical gardens. The beautifully designed walkway mimics a boomslang snake in both look and feel, and offers incredible views over the immediate gardens and out over the southern suburbs.
There is no additional entrance fee to access the walkway, and entry is included in the price of your Kirstenbosch ticket.
5. Walk the Streets
There are few experiences as rewarding and exhilarating as exploring the vibrant Cape Town CBD on foot. Explore the city under your own steam starting from the Taj Hotel with the help of a tour guide, or participate in the entertaining City Walk Saturdays.
Every third Saturday of the month, the streets of the CBD come alive with buskers, dancers, street artists and drummers during the City Walk. There is no entrance fee, and it offers an amazing insight into the heart and spirit of Cape Town.
6. Put Your Feet Up
If all the rides and activities leave you tired and thirsty, take your senses on a journey of their own at the grand Groot Constantia wine estate. Savour award-winning wines, and learn how about what makes Constantia wines so celebrated and unique during a guided cellar tour. Or, simply put your feet up at one of two popular restaurants on the estate, each of which offer sublime settings and world-class dining.
Don’t forget the Cableway will reopen on Monday 10 August, weather permitting.