The city’s most famous and striking landmark has made its way into rock art and history books dating back hundreds of years, and its magnetic pull has in many ways defined the city that we live in today.
Not all previous residents had the luxury of the Table Mountain Cableway to whisk them to the top, however – in the early days the views from the summit were reserved for only the most intrepid explorers.
The first recorded ascent to the summit of Table Mountain was by António de Saldanha (also the first European to set anchor in Table Bay), in 1503. He made his way to the top via the famous Platteklip Gorge, which today is the most travelled hiking route up the mountain.
It wasn’t until the late 1870s that residents began investigating quicker and easier ways to ascend Table Mountain, and after many false starts and delays due to wars, funding and indecision, a group of wealthy influential businessmen put plans, proposed by respected Norwegian engineer Trygve Stromsoe, into action. The foundations for what we now know as the Table Mountain Cableway were laid in 1926, and just three years later, on 4 October 1929, the first passengers were being ferried to the top in significantly quicker fashion than the hikers before them.
The initial cars were small and primitive by today’s standards, with open sides and a 10 minute trip to the top, but they quickly became an iconic city attraction, ferrying famous dignitaries from around the world. Over the years they have seen dramatic improvements, through to the quick, safe and impressive rotating cars we have today, which carry hundreds of thousands of visitors to the top of Table Mountain each year, in dramatic fashion.