Table Mountain National Park, previously known as the Cape Peninsula National Park, is a national park in Cape Town, South Africa, proclaimed on 29 May 1998, for the purpose of protecting the natural environment of the Table Mountain Chain, and in particular the rare fynbos vegetation. The park is managed by South African National Parks. The property is included as part of the UNESCO Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site.
|Table Mountain National Park|
Location of the park
|Location||Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa|
|Area||221 km2 (85 sq mi)|
|Established||19 May 1998|
|Governing body||South African National Parks|
Arguments for a national park on the Cape Peninsula, centred on Table Mountain, began in earnest in the mid-1930s. The Table Mountain Preservation Board was set up in 1952, and in 1957 its recommendation to the National Monuments Board was accepted and Table Mountain was declared a national monument. In the mid 1960s, the Cape Town City Council declared nature reserves on Table Mountain, Lion's Head, Signal Hill, and Silvermine. Following high fire incidence in the 1970s, Douglas Hey was appointed to assess the ecological state of Table Mountain and the southern Peninsula, and he recommended (1978) that all the Peninsula's mountains above 152m should be conserved. This laid the foundations for the Cape Peninsula Protected Natural Environment (CPPNE) area, finally established in 1989. However, environmental management was still bedeviled by the fragmented nature of land ownership on the Peninsula. Following a big fire above the city bowl in 1991, Attorney General Frank Kahn was appointed to reach consensus on a plan for rationalising management of the CPPNE. In 1995, Prof. Brian Huntley recommended that SANParks be appointed to manage the CPPNE, with an agreement signed in April 1998 to transfer around 39,500 acres to SANParks. On 29 May 1998, then-president Nelson Mandela proclaimed the Cape Peninsula National Park. The park was later renamed to the Table Mountain National Park.
The park runs approximately north-south along the range of mountains that make up the mountainous spine of the Cape Peninsula, from Signal Hill in the north, through Lion's Head, Table Mountain, Constantiaberg, Silvermine, the mountains of the southern Peninsula, terminating at Cape Point.
The park is not a single contiguous area; the undeveloped mountainous areas which make up most of the park are separated by developed urban areas on the shallower terrain. Thus the park is divided into three separate sections, as listed below.
This section covers Signal Hill, Lion's Head, Table Mountain proper, including the Back Table (the rear, lower part of the mountain), Devil's Peak, the Twelve Apostles (actually a series of seventeen peaks along the Atlantic seaboard), and Orange Kloof (a specially protected area not open to the public). It borders on central Cape Town in the north, Camps Bay and the Atlantic coast in the west, the Southern Suburbs in the east, and Hout Bay in the south.
This section was formed from the Table Mountain National Monument, Cecilia Park, and Newlands Forest. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is not officially part of the national park, but its higher reaches are maintained as part of the park.
This section runs northwest-southeast across the Peninsula from the Atlantic seaboard to the False Bay coast. It covers Constantiaberg, Steenberg Peak and the Kalk Bay mountains. It borders on Hout Bay in the north-west, the suburbs of Constantia and Tokai in the north-east, Kalk Bay in the south-east, and Fish Hoek and Noordhoek in the south-west.
This section was formed from the Tokai State Forest and the Silvermine Nature Reserve.
This section covers the most southern area of the Cape Peninsula, stretching from Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope in the south, as far north as Scarborough on the Atlantic coast and Simon's Town on the False Bay coast. It was formed from the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve.
This area forms part of the Cape Floristic Region and as such supports a high diversity of flora, much of which is rare and endemic. Protea, erica, restio and Asteraceae species, as well as geophytes, are all found in abundance. The main indigenous vegetation types are Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos and Cape Granite Fynbos, both of which are endangered and endemic to Cape Town - occurring nowhere else in the world.
In addition, some sections of the park are the natural home of deep, indigenous Afro-temperate forests.
A well known local tree is the Silver tree (Leucadendron argenteum), a popularly cultivated species which is found in the wild only on the slopes of Lion's Head and a few scattered locations elsewhere on the Cape Peninsula (a notable area is above Kirstenbosch).
The Park lies in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, which is a bio-diversity hot spot and seen by botanists as a botanical anomaly. In fact, there are more species of plant in Table Mountain National Park (over two thousand) than exist in the whole of the United Kingdom. Much of the unique flora in the area surrounding the park has been lost to agriculture and urban development.
Indigenous plants are being increasingly harvested for traditional medicines, an activity some regard as a form of poaching. Such produce can be found on sale as remedies on the streets of Cape Town's central business district. Indigenous species are also threatened by invasive plants such as Acacia cyclops, three Hakea species, and invasive pines that were planted in commercial timber plantations on the slopes of the mountain also . Today the Table Mountain range has the highest concentration of threatened species of any continental area of equivalent size in the world.
SANParks have been criticised for their programme of removing invasive non-indigenous trees. These alien forests make up only 2% of the park, but cover areas that were previously incredibly rich in biodiversity.
The invasive trees were originally planted as commercial plantations for timber, once most of the indigenous afro-montane forests had been felled. Unfortunately, the fertile lower slopes that were selected for the plantations are also the areas of the park which host the highest proportion of endemic and threatened species.
The park's current programme is to allow for the re-growth of the indigenous forests, while slowly removing the plantations of invasive trees. This removal has been controversial however, as some of the pine plantations are recreational areas for people living in the wealthy suburbs adjacent to the park.
Larger predators that historically roamed the area include the Cape lion, leopard (which persisted as late as the 1920s, and tracks are claimed to still be found today), as well as spotted hyena and black-backed jackal. Large herbivores similarly disappeared at the hands of the European settlers, for example elephant, black rhinoceros, kudu, eland, mountain zebra and bontebok, although the last three species were re-introduced to the Cape Point section of the park.
The population of the alien Himalayan tahr originated from a pair that escaped from the now defunct Zoological Gardens on Groot Schuur Estate below Devil's Peak in 1935. As of 2006, virtually all tahrs have been culled from Table Mountain, thus clearing the way for the re-introduction of the smaller klipspringer, with which the tahr would have competed due to similar niches. However it is still highly likely that a few survived.
Chacma baboons inhabit the southern parts of the park. They are highly visible and popular with tourists, but are capable of becoming extremely dangerous when they become accustomed to human beings and start to associate them with free food. Many residents who live in places close to the park, such as Da Gama Park, Tokai and Scarborough, often clash with baboons which have attempted, and succeeded, in raiding their houses for food and many resort to measures such as reinforcing their security by erecting electric fences, and illegal measures like shooting them with pellet guns, running them over, and setting dogs on them. This is ineffective as it can maim the baboons and simply re-inforce their penchant for gaining easy food, as it is easier for baboons to raid a dustbin for scraps rather than forage in the mountains with only one hand. Thus it is imperative that visitors to the park are not allowed to feed the baboons at all.
Boulders Beach is a sheltered beach made up of inlets between granite boulders, from which the name originated. It is located in the Cape Peninsula, near Simon's Town towards Cape Point, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is also commonly known as Boulders Bay. It is a popular tourist stop because of a colony of African penguins which settled there in 1982. Boulders Beach forms part of the Table Mountain National Park.
These African penguins are only found on the coastlines of Southern Africa - (South Africa & Namibia). These penguins are currently on the verge of extinction. As a result, the penguins are under the protection of the Cape Nature Conservation.
Although set in the midst of a residential area, it is one of the few sites where this vulnerable bird (Spheniscus demersus) can be observed at close range, wandering freely in a protected natural environment. From just two breeding pairs in 1982, the penguin colony has grown to about 3,000 birds in recent years. This is partly due to the reduction in commercial pelagic trawling in False Bay, which has increased the supply of pilchards and anchovy, which form part of the penguins' diet.Bordered mainly by indigenous bush above the high-water mark on the one side, and the clear water of False Bay on the other, the area comprises a number of small sheltered bays, partially enclosed by granite boulders that are 540 million years old.
The most popular recreational spot is Boulders Beach, but the penguins are best viewed from Foxy Beach, where newly constructed boardwalks take visitors to within a few meters of the birds. It is also a popular swimming beach, although people are restricted to beaches adjacent to the penguin colony.Cape Point
Cape Point is a promontory at the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula, which is a mountainous and scenic landform that runs north-south for about thirty kilometres at the extreme southwestern tip of the African continent in the Republic of South Africa. Table Mountain and the city of Cape Town are close to the northern extremity of the same peninsula. The cape is located at 34°21′26″S 18°29′51″E, about 2.3 kilometres (1.4 mi) east and a little north of the Cape of Good Hope on the southwest corner. Although these two rocky capes are very well known, neither cape is actually the southernmost point of the mainland of Africa; that is Cape Agulhas, approximately 150 kilometres (93 mi) to the east-southeast. Cape point is closed on Christmas, the Day of Goodwill and New Year’s Day. Opening times are from 6:00-18:00.Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope (Afrikaans: Kaap die Goeie Hoop [ˌkɑːp di ˌχujə ˈɦʊəp], Dutch: Kaap de Goede Hoop [ˌkaːb də ˌɣudə ˈɦoːp] (listen), Portuguese: Cabo da Boa Esperança [ˈkaβu ðɐ ˈβoɐ ʃpɨˈɾɐ̃sɐ]) is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa.
A common misconception is that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa. This misconception was based on the misbelief that the Cape was the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Contemporary geographic knowledge instead states the southernmost point of Africa is Cape Agulhas about 150 kilometres (90 mi) to the east-southeast. The currents of the two oceans meet at the point where the warm-water Agulhas current meets the cold-water Benguela current and turns back on itself. That oceanic meeting point fluctuates between Cape Agulhas and Cape Point (about 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) east of the Cape of Good Hope).
When following the western side of the African coastline from the equator, however, the Cape of Good Hope marks the point where a ship begins to travel more eastward than southward. Thus, the first modern rounding of the cape in 1488 by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias was a milestone in the attempts by the Portuguese to establish direct trade relations with the Far East (although Herodotus mentioned a claim that the Phoenicians had done so far earlier). Dias called the cape Cabo das Tormentas ("Cape of Storms"; Dutch: Stormkaap), which was the original name of the "Cape of Good Hope".As one of the great capes of the South Atlantic Ocean, the Cape of Good Hope has long been of special significance to sailors, many of whom refer to it simply as "the Cape". It is a waypoint on the Cape Route and the clipper route followed by clipper ships to the Far East and Australia, and still followed by several offshore yacht races.
The term Cape of Good Hope is also used in three other ways:
It is a section of the Table Mountain National Park, within which the cape of the same name, as well as Cape Point, falls. Prior to its incorporation into the national park, this section constituted the Cape Point Nature Reserve.
It was the name of the early Cape Colony established by the Dutch in 1652, on the Cape Peninsula.
Just before the Union of South Africa was formed, the term referred to the entire region that in 1910 was to become the Cape of Good Hope Province (usually shortened to the Cape Province).Cecilia, Table Mountain
Cecilia is a section of the Table Mountain National Park on the lower eastern slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town, located just to the south of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.
It was previously used for commercial logging and known as Cecilia Forest or Cecilia Plantation, but has now been given protected status and integrated into the National Park.Constantiaberg
Constantiaberg is a large, whalebacked mountain that forms part of the mountainous spine of the Cape Peninsula in Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town, South Africa. It lies about 7 km south of Table Mountain, on the southern side of Constantia Nek. The mountain is 927 m high. It is not known who first ascended the peak.
Constantiaberg, Devil's Peak and Table Mountain are the highest mountains in the range that stretches from Table Mountain all the way to Cape Point. The range, made up of resistant sandstones of the Table Mountain Group, dominates the southern suburbs of the city on the verge of the Cape Flats.
The lower eastern slopes of Constantiaberg are covered by the commercial pine and gum plantations of Tokai forest, and are crisscrossed with hiking trails and gravel roads that are used for harvesting the trees. The forest is popular for walking, running and mountain biking.
The western slopes of the mountain overlook the magnificent scenery of Hout Bay.
A tarred road leads to the summit of Constantiaberg, where an important VHF mast is located 34°03′17.78″S 18°23′10.77″E. The mast is about 100 m high and is visible for perhaps 80 kilometers in any direction. It was constructed in the 1960s and is used to transmit signals for many local television and radio channels, and also to support cellular networks. The South African Weather Service has a radar installation at the summit.
Constantiaberg is home to a variety of bird and plant species. The mountain is covered mainly by fynbos, a botanical biome native to the Western Cape. The specific vegetation type of the mountain is Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos, an endangered vegetation type that is endemic to the city of Cape Town - occurring nowhere else in the world.
Elephant's Eye cave, a popular hiking destination, is the mountain's biggest feature after the mast. This is visible near the southern end of the mountain when viewed from the Cape Flats. Elephant's Eye is so named because the eastern profile of the mountain resembles an elephant (the range that continues toward Cape Point being the trunk).False Bay
False Bay (Afrikaans Valsbaai) is a body of water in the Atlantic Ocean between the mountainous Cape Peninsula and the Hottentots Holland Mountains in the extreme south-west of South Africa. The mouth of the bay faces south and is demarcated by Cape Point to the west and Cape Hangklipto the east. The north side of the bay is the low-lying Cape Flats. Much of the bay is on the coast of the City of Cape Town, and it includes part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area and the whole of the Helderberg Marine Protected Area.
False Bay also contains South Africa's largest naval base at Simon's Town, historically a base for the Royal Navy and small fishing harbours at Kalk Bay and Gordon's BayKarbonkelberg
Karbonkelberg is a small peak forming part of the Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town, South Africa.Lion's Head (Cape Town)
Lion's Head is a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Lion's Head peaks at 669 metres (2,195 ft) above sea level. The peak forms part of a dramatic backdrop to the city of Cape Town and is part of the Table Mountain National Park.Losiny Ostrov National Park
Losiny Ostrov National Park (Russian: Национальный парк "Лосиный Остров", literally - Elk (Moose) Island) is the first national park of Russia. It is located in Moscow and Moscow Oblast and is the third largest forest in a city of comparable size, after Table Mountain National Park (Cape Town) and Pedra Branca State Park (Rio de Janeiro).
Losiny Ostrov is one of a few locations in Moscow where one can see wild animals in their natural environment, including the moose. In total there are 44 species of mammals and 170 bird species, 9 amphibian species, 5 reptile species and 19 fish species.Noordhoek, Cape Town
Noordhoek is a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, located below Chapman's Peak on the west coast of the Cape Peninsula, approximately 35 kilometres (22 mi) to the south of the city itself. The name "Noordhoek" was taken from Dutch and literally means "north corner". It is best known for its shoreline and its long, wide, sandy beach, which stretches south to the neighbouring village of Kommetjie. Near the southern end of this beach is the wreck of the steamship "Kakapo", which ran aground in 1900, when the captain mistook Chapmans' Peak for the Cape of Good Hope and put the helm over to port.Noordhoek can be accessed either from the scenic coastal road, Chapman's Peak Drive, which leads out of Hout Bay or via the mountain road Ou Kaapse Weg which cuts through the Silvermine Nature Reserve - now part of the Table Mountain National Park. Noordhoek is a small scattered community of houses, often with sea views and has a large horse population as riding on the long sandy beach is common. Many artists live in Noordhoek.Orange Kloof
Orange Kloof is an area of Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town, South Africa.
It is located at the northern end of the Hout Bay valley, just to the west of Cecilia Park. It is a conservation area with highly restricted access, vegetated by indigenous Afro-temperate forest and endangered Peninsula Granite Fynbos.Peninsula Ultra Fun Run
The Peninsula Ultra Fun Run, known for short as PUFfeR, is a no-frills ultra trail run which has been held annually in Cape Town, South Africa since 1995. There is no prize money and no major media coverage. Entries are limited to 180 participants who are expected to be independent, self-sufficient and environmentally aware.
The total distance is about 80 km, which is more or less the shortest possible route through the Table Mountain National Park with the best running tracks and views. The route runs from Cape Point to Red Hill Pass, through the Simon's Town Water Catchment Area to Black Hill, via Ou Kaapse Weg across Fish Hoek Valley to Silvermine Nature Reserve, through Tokai Forest Plantation and the Vlakkenberg footpath to Constantia Nek, over Table Mountain to the summit at Maclear's Beacon (1,086 metres above sea level), then down Platteklip Gorge to Kloofnek, via Signal Hill to Granger Bay. The 2015 event followed a slightly longer route to avoid fire damaged areas of the Table Mountain National Park and the Tuffer PUFfer (see below) was not held. Prior to 2013, the race ended at the V&A Waterfront. Well-stocked seconding points are provided wherever it is practical.
The Tuffer PUFfeR is a 160 km event which starts from Granger Bay. Runners make their way to Cape Point and back via the Puffer route. 2003 and 2004 also saw the "Ruffer Puffer" event which avoided nearly all road sections outside Cape Point.
Runners who fail to make the cut-off at the Constantia Nek checkpoint are considered to have completed the "PUFfeR fun run" (approximately 56 km).
ResultsSignal Hill (Cape Town)
Signal Hill/Lula Lula Mountain (Afrikaans: Seinheuwel), or Lion's Rump, is a landmark flat-topped hill located in Cape Town, next to Lion's Head and Table Mountain.
The hill was also known as "The Lula Lula Flank", a term now obsolete. Together with Lion's Head, Signal Hill/Lula Lula Mountain looks like a lion sphinx.Silvermine Nature Reserve
Silvermine Nature Reserve forms part of the Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town, South Africa. It covers the section of the Cape Peninsula mountain range from the Kalk Bay mountains through to Constantiaberg. The area is a significant conservation area for the indigenous fynbos vegetation, which is of the montane cone-bush type at this location.The Ou Kaapse Weg main road runs through the reserve, cutting it into a northern and southern section. The Silvermine reservoir, on the north side, was built in 1898 to supply water to Cape Town.Until 2000, there were significant pine stands in the reserve, but the last of these were felled in following the major fire in that year. The area was again burnt in March 2015 and the reserve was closed for the rest of the year.The area is popular for walking, hiking, picnicking, and mountain biking. There are a number of sandstone cave systems in the reserve and there are rock climbing routes on Muizenberg Peak.
The Silvermine river, which starts in the reserve and runs to Clovelly, is the only river in the Cape Peninsula that runs its whole course without going through a developed area.
The South African Navy's Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre is in an underground bunker on the lower slopes of the Silvermine mountain.South African National Parks
South African National Parks (SANParks) is the body responsible for managing South Africa's national parks. SANParks was formed in 1926, and currently manages 21 parks consisting of over 4,000,000 hectares (40,000 km2), over 3% of the total area of South Africa.The best known park is Kruger National Park, which is also the oldest (proclaimed in 1898), and the largest, at nearly 2,000,000 hectares (20,000 km2). Kruger National Park and Table Mountain National Park are two of South Africa's most visited tourist attractions.Table Mountain
Table Mountain (Khoekhoe: Huri ‡oaxa, mountain rising from the sea; Afrikaans: Tafelberg) is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa. It is a significant tourist attraction, with many visitors using the cableway or hiking to the top. The mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park. Table Mountain is home to a large array of fauna and flora, most of which is endemic.Table Mountain Fire (2009)
The 2009 Table Mountain fire was a large fire in and around the Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town, South Africa. It broke out at approximately 20:30 on 17 March 2009 in the vicinity of Rhodes Memorial and initial fears were that the fire would spread to UCT's Upper Campus. The Table Mountain National Park quickly deployed firefighting personals on the mountain, but the fire quickly spread due to the strong winds. At around 23:20 on Tuesday evening, the fire started moving up Devil's Peak and by 00:00 was at the tip and making its way around the mountain to the suburbs of Tamboerskloof, Oranjezicht, Vredehoek and Gardens on the north side. The flames were engulfing the mountain and the huge amounts of smoke made it hard for rescue and fire-fighting helicopters from making their way to the fire. By 00:30, people from the aforementioned areas were told to evacuate due to the strong winds pushing the fire quickly around the mountain. By this time, Fire & Rescue Services had deployed 29 fire engines and 90 firefighters all of whom were being assisted by 45 firefighters from the South African National Parks and volunteers of Disaster Management The day following the fire, four helicopters, including a defence force Atlas Oryx, were called in at dawn to water-bomb the fire, and to lift a team of firefighters high onto the mountain. Park fire chief Philip Prins said about 500 hectares (1,200 acres) of park land had been burned: some fynbos, some renosterveld, some grass, and stands of pine trees.Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area
The Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area is a marine protected area around the Cape Peninsula, in the vicinity of Cape Town, South Africa It was proclaimed in Government Gazette No. 26431 of 4 June 2004 in terms of the Marine Living Resources Act, 18 of 1998.The MPA is of value for conservation of a wide range of endemic species, and has considerable economic value as a tourist destination. It encloses a large number of recreational dive sites visited by local residents and tourists from further afield. The shark and whale watching tourist industries are also represented, and there are several popular surf breaks. The MPA is mainly a controlled zone where extractive activities are allowed under permit, with six small no-take zones. The MPA is administrated by the Table Mountain National Park, a branch of SANParks.
The marine ecology is unusually varied for an area of this size, as a result of the meeting of two major oceanic water masses near Cape Point, and the park extends into two coastal marine bioregions. The ecology of the west or "Atlantic Seaboard" side of the park is noticeably different in character and biodiversity to that of the east, or "False Bay" side. Both sides are classified as temperate waters, but there is a significant difference in average temperature, with the Atlantic side being noticeably colder.The MPA contains culturally significant fish traps, historicalwrecks and traditional fishing communities, and is also important for commercial fisheries. Part of the West Coast rock lobster industry takes place within the MPA – as well as recreational and subsistence fishers, and an illegal poaching industry mostly targeting abalone, rock lobster and territorial linefish from the no-take zones.Tokai Park
Tokai Park, previously known as "Tokai Forest", is a small wing, about 600 ha, of the greater Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town, South Africa. Tokai Park is made up of two sections: upper and lower Tokai Park. Lower Tokai Park is flat, and characterized by the threatened Cape Flats Sand Fynbos. Upper Tokai Park is on the slopes of Constantiaberg Mountain, and consists of conservation area as well as the Tokai Arboretum. Upper Tokai Park is characterized by Peninsula Granite Fynbos, Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos and Afromontane Forest and noted for its diversity.Until recently, most of Tokai Park was under plantation. However the lease of Tokai Park by MTO Forestry expires in 2025, and the removal of the last of the commercial plantations has been followed by restoration efforts by South African National Parks and other conservation organisations. Today Tokai Park has over 110 plant species threatened with extinction or extinct in the wild and restored at Tokai. Perhaps the best known example of a species that is extinct in the wild, but which is recovering at Tokai Park is Erica verticillata. More than 350 plant species have already naturally returned. There are now over 440 recorded plant species at Lower Tokai Park according to a species list compiled by scientists. According to William Frederick Purcell's list, there may be over 500 plant species expected. Tokai Park is also a popular recreational area, with walking trails, horse-riding and cycling trails as well as a picnic area. Whilst recreation is regarded by all as an important ecosystem service provided by this park, there has been much contention over shaded walk-ways, with scientists maintaining that shaded recreation is not compatible with Fynbos restoration, and a group of the public who wish to retain the plantations for shaded recreation.
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