Saturday, August 25, 2007

Table Mountain

Table Mountain South Africa (Tafel berg).



Table Mountain South Africa image courtsey: virtualtourist.com


There are numerous mountains but just one Table Mountain!


Mountains with pyramid shapes are not just common but that is the norm for them, but Mother Nature has gifted something extraordinary to Table Mountain a flat foot ball ground like surface. Located in the Democratic Republic of South Africa; very near to Cape Town this land mark stands tall as the most important tourist location in that nation. The unusual shaped top (flat like a table top) of this mountain has been doing the job of pulling crowds since ancient times, still it remains as the number one among the exotic places for South Africa and it is a part of the Table Mountain National Park a UNESCO recognized World Heritage Site since 2004..


What are there?


This table mountain formed of stand-stone is two miles wide and about 3500 feet above sea-level and stands encircled by The Robben Island, Table Bay and Cape-Town. The steep pathways to reach top are many, it will take about four hours for a healthy man to cover the distance, but the journey is worth its effort as the steep climb enables one to see the rarest of the rare members of the plant kingdom as well as mammals, butterflies, reptiles etc quite exclusive to the locality. As a tourist hot spot there are many tour operators who arrange packaged hiking tours like a four day tour with all arrangements to three nights sleep and sufficient relaxing facilities.


An easy way!


It is advisable for those with not so good health can catch a cable way and reach at the top within minutes, these cable cars are able to revolve on its center that can enable the visitor to have a look at the surroundings of the climb simply sitting idle, a feeling of being at the to of the world without much effort! Only problem that can upset a visitor is the occasional arrival of dense clouds that can hinder visibility and the visitor may be forced to return being not able to see anything. These clouds are considered as ‘table- cloth’ as the place Table Mountain.


The Kruger National Park.


The Kruger National Park is as vast as a small country and tourists can experience wild life like the giant African Elephants, Giraffes, Zebras and Lions as well as all sorts of animals as well as endemic vegetations in its original habitat. Kristenbosch National Botanical Garden is a real pride to the South African Nation which is a treasure house of plants of all hues, most of them indigenous to the continent.





Geology.


Table Mountain South Africa image courtsey: bookinafrica.com

The land mass at the south-western tip of South Africa consists of alternating layers of fine-grained wacko sand-stone and slate is one of the oldest rock formation in the world. These rocks were a part of the erstwhile Super Continent the Gondwanaland –a continent that was split millions of years back - which transformed in to the present continents of Africa, Its tabular shape results from nearly horizontal layers of sand stones got exposed by natural forces like sun, wind, and the rain which took away the weak parts left at the top; revealing the underlying hard sand stone. For centuries this peculiar shaped mountain had attracted sea farers.


History.


The history of South Africa is not much different from other undeveloped nations, as Europeans come first colonize and then turn in the masters of the natives. It was the Dutch merchant Van Riebeeck who first established a European settlement at the periphery of Table Mountain. Migration of foreigners caused the Xhosa tribes (indigenous people) to retreat eastwards. There were a lot of battles the Europeans had to fight for the establishment of their power in this region. Battle of Blood River was one of the land mark event where Voorlrekker defeated the Zulus in the Anglo Zulu war and annexed Natal and the entire Zululand. After the Anglo-Boer war the whole Boer Republic came under the British Crown. The ascent of the right wing nationalists coming to power and the reign of the Apartheid era are all the things of the recent past.


Richly endowed.


The actual uniqueness of the region is not a flat topped mountain; but the biodiversity this part of the land is endowed with. The entire Table Mountain National Park covers about 55,000 acres of land. The entire Table Mountain National Park hosts more species of animal and plant kingdom than Great Britain. That is the intensity of biological richness of this area. About 111 species of invertebrates are endemic (not found in other places) to this part of the land. The Fynbos (biological conservation sites) Site located at the north and west of Table Mountain. The mole cricket found in this region is very much exclusive to this region even though it is considered as an agricultural pest. It is a pity that most of the species both animal (mostly invertebrates) and plants are not well documented.


Recent woes!


Recent human invasions (clearing natural forests for cultivation of pine) also cause havoc to the exclusive variety of plants and animals that inhabit there. Influx of tourists and other service providers often cause destruction by causing wild fires and stampedes. It was recently reported that criminals intrude in to tourist service providers’ role and engage in mugging and other antisocial activities all causing destruction to an environmentally fragile eco-system.


3 comments:

YOFFY said...

Hola Bibi, muchas gracias por tus palabras. Me ha resultado muy curioso lo que encuentro en tu página !South Africa! el sueño de mi vida, es un lugar que me encantaría conocer.Conocí una vez a un sudafricano, Gary Bodill, amante de la Naturaleza que me ilusionó con su país y la belleza de su paisaje.Recuerda...España es diferente!!! Nos seguiremos leyendo, shalom.

Graham said...

From the same spot where this image was taken, I many years ago also stood with my then girlfriend. It was a hot day and I hid a six pack of Amstels amongst the rocks to cool down while we went for a walk. When we got back they were gone, either stolen or washed away. Man, those rocks look familiar.......

moon said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog..thought »I would pop over and read yours..glad I did, very interesting...will be back for sure...have a great day

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