To all Capetonians, even South Africa as a whole, Table Mountain is more than just the iconic flat-top that we see on souvenirs. This natural world heritage site, and Natural New Wonder of the World, is found within the Table Mountain National Park, whose 221 square kilometres actually spread South all the way to Cape Point; the southernmost tip of Africa.
To celebrate this pristine landmark, South African National Parks have a variety of places to stay that offer peace and quiet in these natural surroundings. There are luxury tented camps close to the beach as well as cottages in the forest, and even on top of Table Mountain. They range in price, so there’s something for every wallet.
Book a weekend away on the lower slopes of the mountain at the historical Platteklip Wash House, or even hike to the very top to spend the night under a canopy of stars at the beautiful Overseers Cottage.
Where to find a room with a view
Set on the slopes above the inner-city suburb of Oranjezicht (Stop 7) you’ll find the Platteklip Wash House. Built back in the 1800s the historic Wash House became the precinct where local Malay slaves and washerwomen plied their trade. After closing down around 1940, the complex has since been carefully restored as a guest house.
This award-winning establishment can accommodate up to 24 people between 3 separate units each offering 4 double-beds, which is self-catering and fully-equipped. The communal braai area, dining room, lounge and boma make the Wash House a great place for group stays, and is also a popular venue for celebrations, even company retreats or even small weddings.
Take advantage of the great hikes and mountain bike trails on Table Mountain, catch a spot of bird watching, relax in one of the hammocks around the sunken campfire, or play a game of boules on the lawn.
To top it all off, not only is the venue wheelchair friendly but if you chose to visit in the winter, SANParks offers a 20% discount off all accommodation through May, June and July.
A secret spot well worth the effort
Atop Table Mountain - and undoubtedly offering the best all-encompassing view of the Mother City - you will find the Overseers Cottage; built over a 120 years ago to accommodate those ‘overseeing’ the construction of the nearby Woodhead Dam in the 1890s.
This historic treasure allows you to sleep at the very top of the mountain and offers comfort and jaw-dropping views of the entire peninsula. The catch? You have to hike there!
This unusual accommodation spot only allows visitors access on foot, but luckily there are a number of routes offering various difficulties.
The easiest way up is via the winding gravel track above Constantia Nek (Stop 21) where the gradient is gradual and the paths are well-established jeep tracks. You don’t need to be a mountaineer to reach the cabin. It is a short 2-2.5 hour walk from here, and as an added bonus - a porterage service is available to take your luggage and supplies up to the cottage to meet you on your arrival.
Placed on the back-table section of the park, the cottage is just a stone’s throw from some of Table Mountain’s grand dams like the De Villiers and Woodhead dams. Isolated and pristine, this is the perfect vantage point to explore the top of the table, or to just relax, swim or sit around the fire in the completely undisturbed silence.
The cottage can accommodate up to 16 people in two fully equipped and self-catered units with comfy couches, a big fireplace, gas-heated hot showers and several rooms with big soft beds. There is no electricity here, but there are a gas stove, geysers and fridges, and braai facilities.
Both of these locations we have mentioned are part of other multi-day hikes across the mountain, but you can also rent each of them separately for a weekend away. Probably the most beloved of these hiking trails is the Hoerikwaggo Trail.
Why just go up one peak when you can explore the whole range?
Huri ‡oaxa (or Hoerikwaggo) is the Khoi Khoi name for Table Mountain meaning “sea mountain”, and this professionally guided, fully catered, and portered hiking experience celebrates everything that makes up this incredible landmark. Spend a couple of days exploring the natural and cultural heritage of Table Mountain National Park while overnighting in some of the park’s most picturesque settings.
Starting at the Nelson Mandela Gateway (Stop 1 or 2) which you can reach with our Big Red Bus city route, you begin your walk through the city to learn about the complex yet important social history and eclectic architecture and Cape Town. You will also get to experience many of Cape Town's attractions like Robben Island, and once you ascend the mountain - many interesting heritage sites such as the old Waterworks Museum and the dams that were constructed in the 19th century.
Staying overnight at both the Wash House and Overseers Cottage, you get to explore some of Cape Town’s best views while experiencing some of its best flavours. The trip is catered in traditional Cape Malay and South African style.
A number of trail options are available and are entirely up to you and your fitness level, as well as the time you have available. The full 5-day hike is fairly demanding, but will take you right from the heart of the city and ends all the way at Cape Point - the southernmost tip of Africa - where along the way you will stay in a variety of locations from restored historic buildings to campsites out in nature. If you don’t have 5 days at your disposal, you can opt to hike for 3 or 2 days over the sections of your choice, subject to hut availability.
Whichever way you choose to explore this Natural Wonder, consider spending a night on her slopes to fully understand the ‘wonder’ that is Table Mountain.