Aspects of Table Mountain Mapped 

Map 2 of 2 maps of Cape Peninsula showing difference in sea levels between 20 000 years - 400 million years ago
20 000 years ago

Cape of Morphs

 

Two snapshots back in time show the geomorphology of what's now known as the Cape Peninsula.

 

In a post-cryosphere - when the icy parts of the planet melt - would arrival at Table Island have been at Platteklip Harbour?

map 1 of 2 maps of Cape Peninsula showing difference in sea levels between 20 000 years - 400 000 years ago
400 000 years ago
Map 2 of 2 maps of Cape Peninsula showing difference in sea levels between 20 000 years - 400 million years ago
20 000 years ago

Cape of Morphs

Two snapshots back in time show the geomorphology of what's now known as the Cape Peninsula.

 

In a post-cryosphere - when the icy parts of the planet melt - would arrival at Table Island have been at Platteklip Harbour?

 

 

Geological map of the Cape Peninsula, showing the main surface rock formation

Base matters

 

Geology of Table Mountain

In the beginning there was shale ...

 

Starting some 800 million years back, it's a tale of magma up-wellings from the earth's hottest depths. Of the toings-and-froings over eons of continents adrift; when Gondwanaland fragments inland seas form in which granular sedimentary layers stack up eight kilometers deep and compress into sandstone. (Table Mountain rock weathers away slower than most.) Another continental collision follows. The land folds. The Mountain forms.  

 

To see how geology correlates with plant life see the map below.

Geological map of the Cape Peninsula, showing the main surface rock formation

Base matters

 

Geology of Table Mountain

In the beginning there was shale ...

 

Starting some 800 million years back, it's a tale of magma up-wellings from the earth's hottest depths. Of the toings-and-froings over eons of continents adrift; when Gondwanaland fragments, inland seas form in which granular sedimentary layers stack up eight kilometers deep and compress into sandstone. (Table Mountain rock weathers away slower than most.) Another continental collision follows. The land folds. The Mountain forms.

 

To see how geology correlates with plant life see the map below.

Map of vegetation types on eastern slopes of Table Mountain and the Back table; north face of Table Mountain; Devil's Peak; east and Lion's Head; western, and Twelve Apostles" above the Atlantic coast

Vegetation types on Table Mountain

 

A Cape Floral Profusion

 

Botanists are dazzled on first encountering the Cape Floral Kingdom. The region is comparatively tiny, occupying 0.6% of the world’s six Floristic Kingdoms' landmass. 

 

It’s an often-windy region, with long, arid summers. Its gritty, acidic and leached soils are of limited nutritional value, and often the richer topsoil layers get washed off in heavy winter downpours.

 

You wouldn’t expect much to grow here, and ecophysiologists admit that their models fail spectacularly in this environment. They don't expect it to be as species-rich. Instead, the Cape Floral Kingdom’s diverse floral expression is more in keeping with what you’d imagine finding in tropical rain forest regions. About 9 000 plant species are found here, representing 3 percent of the world's total.

 

And Table Mountain is in the thick of it.

Vegetation types on Table Mountain

 

A Cape Floral Profusion

 

Botanists are dazzled on first encountering the Cape Floral Kingdom. The region is comparatively tiny, occupying 0.6% of the world’s six Floristic Kingdoms' landmass. 

 

It’s an often-windy region, with long, arid summers. Its gritty, acidic and leached soils are of limited nutritional value, and often the richer topsoil layers get washed off in heavy winter downpours.

 

You wouldn’t expect much to grow here, and ecophysiologists admit that their models fail spectacularly in this environment. They don't expect it to be as species-rich. Instead, the Cape Floral Kingdom’s diverse floral expression is more in keeping with what you’d imagine finding in tropical rain forest regions. About 9 000 plant species are found here, representing 3 percent of the world's total.

 

And Table Mountain is in the thick of it.

Map of the Table Mountain Aquifer

Table Mountain Groundwater

 

The Table Mountain Aquifer is part of the greater Table Mountain Aquifer Group extending far beyond the peninsula. Its groundwater comes out of various city and mountain springs ...

 

But first, rain has to seep into various subterranean networks of cracks and caverns which transmit and store the groundwater.

 

This diagram is artist and architect Paul Andrews' impression of urban design concepts to secure various sub-systems of the TMA.

Map of the Table Mountain Aquifer

Table Mountain Groundwater

 

The Table Mountain Aquifer is part of the greater Table Mountain Aquifer Group extending far beyond the peninsula. Its groundwater comes out of various city and mountain springs ...

 

But first, rain has to seep into various subterranean networks of cracks and caverns which transmit and store the groundwater.

 

This diagram is artist and architect Paul Andrews' impression of urban design concepts to secure various sub-systems of the TMA.

Map of Table Mountain springs

The Springs of Table Mountain

 

Historically there were over 30 springs in the City Bowl. Depending on the season the sheer weight of volume often forced the stuff out without need of pumps.

 

Five of the springs still yield 5.9mil litres of water daily. Most of it runs out via underground rivers into Table Bay. This probably renders it one of the cleaner major harbours around. Some water runs through the fynbos gardens of Green Point's Urban Park. One stream runs beneath The Little Theatre in Gardens. During performances a noisy pump in the orchestra pit is turned off, and after the final curtain the stage manager has to turn it back on again to prevent the theatre from flooding. 

 

But many of the other rivers and springs may never be rediscovered. Rubble, concrete and old bones have seen to that. The City of Cape Town has only 13 springs on their records. Parliament is sitting on two springs.

 

A famous brand of mass-produced beer uses spring water in its production.

 

The main public collection point is at the Newlands breweries.

The Springs of Table Mountain

 

Historically there were over 30 springs in the City Bowl. Depending on the season the sheer weight of volume often forced the stuff out without need of pumps.

 

Five of the springs still yield 5.9mil litres of water daily. Most of it runs out via underground rivers into Table Bay. This probably renders it one of the cleaner major harbours around. Some water runs through the fynbos gardens of Green Point's Urban Park. One stream runs beneath The Little Theatre in Gardens. During performances a noisy pump in the orchestra pit is turned off, and after the final curtain the stage manager has to turn it back on again to prevent the theatre from flooding. 

 

But many of the other rivers and springs may never be rediscovered. Rubble, concrete and old bones have seen to that. The City of Cape Town has only 13 springs on their records. Parliament is sitting on two springs.

 

A famous brand of mass-produced beer uses spring water in its production.

 

The main public collection point is at the Newlands breweries.

screenshot of map of Reclaim Camissa project on Table Mountain present and historical water sources in Cape Town

Reclaim Camissa

 

Talking of water, one of the shabbiest municipal charms the City provides is the Turkish Baths in Long Street. Back in the day its plunge pool was fed by constantly running chilled mountain water. After a morning of steam and soaking, one's skin never felt more silky and snug. Until of course some tenderer 'upgraded' the pool. A pump was installed needing chemicals. The water became murky. The big brass pipe is still there waiting to reconnect us.

 

Which brings us to this evolving map. Created by public participation, it is part of a visionary project - Reclaim Camissa. "Camissa meaning 'the place of sweet waters' is the ancient Khoi name for Cape Town. Embedded lost and obscured within the city's fabric this vital ecological link still exists."

 

Founder Caron van Zeil envisions bringing a progressive water management strategy to the city. A model to help the transformation of Cape Town into an equal society for everyone.

screenshot of map of Reclaim Camissa project on Table Mountain present and historical water sources in Cape Town

Reclaim Camissa

 

Talking of water, one of the shabbiest municipal charms the City provides is the Turkish Baths in Long Street. Back in the day its plunge pool was fed by constantly running chilled mountain water. After a morning of steam and soaking, one's skin never felt more silky and snug. Until of course some tenderer 'upgraded' the pool. A pump was installed needing chemicals. The water became murky. The big brass pipe is still there waiting to reconnect us.

 

Which brings us to this evolving map. Created by public participation, it is part of a visionary project - Reclaim Camissa. "Camissa meaning 'the place of sweet waters' is the ancient Khoi name for Cape Town. Embedded lost and obscured within the city's fabric this vital ecological link still exists."

 

Founder Caron van Zeil envisions bringing a progressive water management strategy to the city. A model to help the transformation of Cape Town into an equal society for everyone.

map showing course of Table Mountain Disa River into Hout Bay

Fair Game For Fouling?

The Mountain's rear end

 

While on the Back Table looking at frogs basking in clear tea-red waters of Disa Stream, it is shocking to recall how murky its water becomes just a few kilometers downstream once it joins the Hout Bay River. Several years ago word was that it had the highest e-coli count in the country. Bathers on the beach complained of its harmful effects.

 

 

Read the History of Water in the Cape Colony and the building of the Table Mountain Dams

More useful stuff about the river to be had here.

Fair Game For Fouling?

The Mountain's rear end

 

While on the Back Table looking at frogs basking in the clear tea-red waters of Disa Stream, it is shocking to recall how murky its water becomes just a few kilometers downstream once it joins the Hout Bay River. Several years ago word was that it had the highest e-coli count in the country. Bathers on the beach complained of its harmful effects.

 

 

Read the History of Water in the Cape Colony and the building of the Table Mountain Dams

More useful info about the river to be had here.

Map of Table Mountain in 1908 published by Mountain Club of South Africa

UCT DIGITAL COLLECTION

click to enlarge

Fancy a Pint?

Topographical Map of Table Mountain, 1908.

 

Prepared by The Mountain Club of South Africa this shows the coastline from Sea Point to 'Kommetje's Bay.' Features include the Back Table, Orange Kloof, Victorskloof or Kronen Dal and Modder Gat.

 

Major water sources on the mountain are Woodhead Reservoir, Hely Hutchinson Reservoir - and the Wynberg Reservoirs - now known as the Alexandra and Victoria dams, as well as the Molteno Dam. Also marked is that other great watering hole - Foresters Arms. 

 

Note the Camp's Bay Tram station and the route of the Camp's Bay tram-line. 

Map of Table Mountain in 1908 published by Mountain Club of South Africa

UCT DIGITAL COLLECTION

click to enlarge

Fancy a Pint?

Topographical Map of Table Mountain, 1908.

 

Prepared by The Mountain Club of South Africa this shows the coastline from Sea Point to 'Kommetje's Bay.' Features include the Back Table, Orange Kloof, Victorskloof or Kronen Dal and Modder Gat.

 

Major water sources on the mountain are Woodhead Reservoir, Hely Hutchinson Reservoir - and the Wynberg Reservoirs - now known as the Alexandra and Victoria dams, as well as the Molteno Dam. Also marked is that other great watering hole - Foresters Arms. 

 

Note the Camp's Bay Tram station and the route of the Camp's Bay tram-line. 

Leisure Mountain

 

"I’M SO BORED" in this town doesn't wash. Except when it rains. (But don't expect the Cape Stormers in current 2017 form to keep you charmed indoors.)

list and symbols of recreational activities on Table Mountain

Leisure Mountain

 

"I’M SO BORED" in this town doesn't wash. Except when it rains. (But don't expect the Cape Stormers in their current 2017 form to keep you charmed indoors.)

list and symbols of recreational activities on Table Mountain
map showing wheelchair access near Upper cable Station Table Mountain

Wheelchair upon a Natural Wonder

 

The Table Mountain Cableway has wheelchair access. This map shows you the routes along which you can roll once you are up there, to take in the views.

 

Note that the map has north at the bottom.  

Wheelchair upon a Natural Wonder

 

The Table Mountain Cableway has wheelchair access. This map shows you the routes along which you can roll once you are up there, to take in the views.

 

Note that the map has north at the bottom.  

map of climbing routes by Adele McAnn

Roping it

 

Adele McAnn's Cape Classic Climbs has a series of nineteen Table Mountain maps of carefully and quite beautifully drawn routes up the trickier parts of the Western Table.  

 

Just above from where you'd dangle, about 800 thousand visitors a year amble more prosaically in anything from designer shoes to slip-slops.

Roping it

 

Adele McAnn's Cape Classic Climbs has a series of nineteen Table Mountain maps of carefully and quite beautifully drawn routes up the trickier parts of the Western Table.  

 

Just above from where you'd dangle, about 800 thousand visitors a year amble more prosaically in anything from designer shoes to slip-slops.

file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/ClimbZA_WC_CT_TM_Cape_Classics_v03.pdf

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech
Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Get some perspective

 

Table Mountain’s towering cliffs add dramatic effect to what is actually not such a high mountain.  Peaking at 1086 meters it is the first ripple in ranges of folded massifs that were created let's just say a long time ago.

 

Beyond the Cape Peninsula, when the Cape Doctor has blown, you see out to where those far bigger bergs with similar geologic DNA to Table Mountain range ...

 

Feel like a stroll?

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech
Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Get some perspective

 

Table Mountain’s towering cliffs add dramatic effect to what is actually not such a high mountain.  Peaking at 1086 meters it is the first ripple in ranges of folded massifs that were created let's just say a long time ago.

 

Beyond the Cape Peninsula, when the Cape Doctor has blown, you see out to where those far bigger bergs with similar geologic DNA to Table Mountain range ...

 

Feel like a stroll?

map of comparative mountain szes with an X marking where Table Mountain fits into the scheme.

... Greater perspective

 

Anthony Finley's 1861 Comparative Map of the Principal Mountains of the World

 

Comparative maps of landmark mountains were all the rage in the 19th century. The biggest beast at the back is Dhaulagiri, in Nepal. They hadn't yet worked out the height of Chomalangma, later called Everest. But Dhaulagiri took longer to conquer - 1960.

 

Back to Table Mountain. X marks the spot.

 

map of comparative mountain szes with an X marking where Table Mountain fits into the scheme.

... Greater perspective

 

Anthony Finley's 1861 Comparative Map of the Principal Mountains of the World

 

Comparative maps of landmark mountains were all the rage in the 19th century. The biggest beast at the back is Dhaulagiri, in Nepal. They hadn't yet worked out the height of Chomalangma, later called Everest. But Dhaulagiri took longer to conquer - 1960.

 

Back to Table Mountain. X marks the spot.

 

Brown Mountain

 

In 1510, writes Nicolaas Vergunst, a Portuguese expedition of dispossession (of Khoikhoi children and non-human animals) led by Francisco d’Almeida landed in Cape Town. A battle ensued near Devil's Peak. Almeida and several of his men were killed.

 

 

 

Brown Mountain

 

In 1510, writes Nicolaas Vergunst, a Portuguese expedition of dispossession (of Khoikhoi children and non-human animals) led by Francisco d’Almeida landed in Cape Town. A battle ensued near Devil's Peak. Almeida and several of his men were killed.

 

 

 

White Mountain 1 

Hedged In

 

Soon after the Dutch established the colony, van Riebeck stuck a hedge around it. Twenty-five km of wild almond trees provided a multi-branched horizontal tangle of stout trunks, made more impenetrable by brambles.

 

Why? To keep cattle which the settlers regarded as theirs from straying. Or being reclaimed.

 

Remnants survive at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

White Mountain 1 

Hedged In

 

Soon after the Dutch established the colony, van Riebeck stuck a hedge around it. Twenty-five km of wild almond trees provided a multi-branched horizontal tangle of stout trunks, which was made more impenetrable by brambles.

 

Why? To keep cattle which the settlers regarded as theirs from straying. Or being reclaimed.

 

Remnants survive at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

Group_Area

White Mountain 2 - APARTOPIA  

 

Uprooted hedge replaced by policy

 

This 1950 map his illustrates the group area proposals made to the Land Tenure Advisory Board by the Planning and Reference Committee appointed by the Government.

 

 

 

Group_Area

White Mountain 2 - APARTOPIA  

 

Uprooted hedge replaced by policy

 

This 1950 map his illustrates the group area proposals made to the Land Tenure Advisory Board by the Planning and Reference Committee appointed by the Government.

 

 

 

White Mountain 3 

CapeTown 2011 (4)

White Mountain 3 

CapeTown 2011 (4)
map showing Cape Peninsula in 2050 divided by sea
2050

What goes around ...

 

That was quick.

 

In a local survey: 'Cape Town in 2050  - what does the future hold?' mapmaker Chris Berens turns up the heat.  This chart enters the spirit of the Post-Truth moment that's helping to drive our swift drift into the Anthropocene.

 

map showing Cape Peninsula in 2050 divided by sea
2050

What goes around ...

 

That was quick.

 

In a local survey: 'Cape Town in 2050  - what does the future hold?' mapmaker Chris Berens turns up the heat.  This chart enters the spirit of the Post-Truth moment that's helping to drive our swift drift into the Anthropocene.

 

Same same but different - 2 Table Mountain Birds-eye views

Then ...

Illustration by De la Loubere, 1691, from the publication by Nicolaas Vergunst, 'Hoerikwaggo: Images of Cape Town.

by De la Loubere, 1691

 Now ish ...

birds eye view Cape Town and north face Table Mountain

MAPPERY

The rights holder and original artist are indistinct on this copy. It was created in 2007. I'd be pleased to hear from them so as to place an acknowledgement here; less so get a take-down notice because so lovely a map to finish off here with there cannot be.