What is the rock of Table


A guided hike on Table Mountain is so much more than just a walk. All our guides are knowledgeable about the natural history of the mountain and love to share this information with you.

Table Mountain in the Western Cape of South Africa is one of the oldest mountains on earth. It is 6 times older than the mountains of the Himalayas and 5 times older than the Rocky mountains. The rocks that make up the mountain are about 600 million years old, whilst the mountain itself was raised up 60 million years ago. (Numbers like these are impossible to comprehend. Sufficient to say Table Mountain is pretty old!)

The main rock type found on Table Mountain is sandstone. This was laid down underwater initially. This rock was then underlayed by a much harder layer of granite originating from molten lava. These 2 rock types are plain in the mountain today. The lower layer of granite is visible in the rounded grey rocks seen at the base of Lions Head and in the sea around the coast, whilst the upper layer of sandstone is the reddish rock we walk and climb on over most of the mountain itself.

The sandstone horizontal bands are clearly visible on parts of Table Mountain today

Initially both rock layers were found at sea level however when the continents divided, the accompanying shift of the earths crust forced the rocks to be pushed up and a mountain was formed. The subsequent erosion  of the sandstone mass has created the mountain as we know it today.

Table mountain as we know it today. Towering over the city of Cape Town