Table Mountain wildlife

We may not have the big five in the Cape Town area, but this certainly does not mean that there is a lack of wildlife on Table Mountain. Ranging from the shy klipspringer to the cheeky dassie you can be sure that while you are hiking on Table Mountain whilst you might not see them, there is a multitude of wildlife keeping an eye on you.

Here are some of the animals and signs of animals that I have seen in the past month.

The klipspringer is a small and very shy antelope that is indigenous to the mountain. A sighting is a rare and beautiful treat, but you can often find clear footprints in the sand. These fresh footprints were found on Smuts Track. I imagine the Klipspringer were very close at the time as these prints were very fresh.

footprints of a klipspringer found on Table Mountain

clearly defined hoof prints of a klipspringer

As I am on the mountain almost daily I am on occasion lucky enough to spot one myself. This one was seen on the 12 Apostles path. He was obviously a bit confused about what we were as he stayed on the rock staring at us for quite some time. We were able to get relatively close to get some photos before he moved off.

A klipspringer on Table Mountain

A klipspringer on Table Mountain is a rare sight

An animal that I have never seen, but see plenty of signs of, is the porcupine. These animals are mainly nocturnal hence the lack of sightings. However you can clearly see where they have been digging for bulbs and of course they often leave quills behind as clear evidence of their existance.

porcupine on Table Mountain

A porcupine quill leaves clear evidence of the porcupine population on Table Mountain

More common to see is the Himalayan Tahr. A herd of this non indigenous goat has lived on the mountain since a group escaped from a zoo. They almost seem part of the scenary now, and are far less shy than the the local Klipspringer.

Tahr on Table Mountain

The non indigenous Tahr (Himalayan mountain goat)

Other smaller animals include the mongoose, often seen running across the path, and the dassie. This little animal has in many cases got used to the presence of humans and so will remain sunning itself on the rocks as you pass.

Dassie on Table Mountain

A particularly fearless dassie on India Venster

Birds, amphibians and reptiles abound. Toads are heard in full chorus throughout the winter and in the summer can seen relaxing in the many pools on top of the mountain. On a day hike in the summer you are almost bound to see a Southern Rock Agama.  A colourful reptile that perfoms pushups on a hot day.

Agama on Table Mountain

A Southern Rock agama with its distinctive blue head

A tortoise is also a common sighting although more common in the Silvermine or Cape Point areas. I found this one last week on the Pipe Track.


tortoise on Table Mountain

A tortoise found on Table Mountain

I have merely touched the tip of the iceburg with this blog. There are numerous other animals and of course the birdlife on Table Mountain is wonderful. Next time you are here join me for a hike and lets see if we are lucky.