Rock Hyrax – Dassie – The Little Furry Animal on Table Mountain, Cape Town
A VISIT TO CAPE TOWN’S MOST FAMOUS ATTRACTION | Darrin Henry
The little furry animal on Table Mountain, the Rock Hyrax or ‘dassie,’ is just another of the delightful surprises for visitors to one of the world’s new seven wonders of nature, this iconic landmark towering over Cape Town.
World Class Table Mountain Beats The Eye
My first ‘flight’ in the shuttling Table Mountain cable cars was back in 1991; this year (2017) for me was visit number four, but far from a ‘been there, done that’ feeling, the experience was once again spectacular.
Table Mountain is more than just a good viewing point. Not only are the panoramas from the top breath-taking but the whole geological presentation of Table Mountain, linked as it is to the city below, is quite incredible.
By chance my Dad happened to be in Cape Town at the same time as us which also coincided with Father’s Day weekend – what’s the chances? Sharon and I decided to make Table Mountain our Father’s Day treat.
Cloud cover or any kind of adverse weather will cause the cable car station to close down, so when the day dawned clear we wasted no time in beating any potential queues that might come later. Good advice for anyone else.
A round-trip ticket for the Table Mountain cable car (in June) was R255 (South African Rand), or £15.50 GBP, and you can explore at the top as long as you like. When you consider a 30 min trip on the London Eye in London, England costs £26 GBP and lasts 30 min it goes to show what super value this attraction in Cape Town is.
How High Is Table Mountain?
The big viewing windows in the cable cars are great and the whole pod rotates slowly during the 3 min 55 sec ascent so there’s no need for passengers to move around, the views come to you. I’m not particularly good with heights but the cable car ride was solid and felt safe, so easy to enjoy.
At the top, in June, there’s a crisp chill in the air. Don’t be deceived by the brilliant blue sky overhead; dress warm! Don’t forget, the plateau of Table Mountain is 1,085 metres above sea level. That’s 3,559 feet!
The cable car station at the top is located on the far right side of the mountain, as you look up from the city. Just behind the big building are wide pathways and viewing platforms that take in the coastline sprawl of Camps Bay and beyond. At one viewing spot you can see all the way to Hout Bay.
There are public toilets (free) a cafe and a souvenir shop. This is all on the same right hand side of the mountain.
Guess Who’s Related To The Little Furry Animal On Table Mountain
And then from here, a spidery network of semi-paved walking trails spreads out to the left across the flat top of Table Mountain. There are no more buildings, just an expanse of outdoors in the form of boulders and grass. It’s a wonderful way to spend a few hours wandering about, marvelling at the views down into Cape Town, taking photographs and the gazing at the mystical mountain ranges stretching off into the distance to the north.
And the little furry animal on Table Mountain, the Rock Hyrax or dassie? Well we spotted these on the boulders back near the cafe. These little animals are a bit like bloated rabbits but without the big ears. They’re my tiny piece of trivia that I’ve remembered from my first visit all those years ago, because they have hoofed feet and are in fact related to – the elephant!
If you are so inclined and have the time, you can also walk up to the top of Table Mountain for free. There are a number of trails and it’s something I regret we still have yet to do. Mind you, reason to go back again one day for visit number five. And to see once again the ‘dassie,’ the little furry animal on Table Mountain.