Watch out for the South Easter cloud on
One of the most famous views of Table Mountain, is with the Table cloth!!
The Table cloth is a layer of thin and whispy clouds that appear to pour over the mountain like a waterfall whilst the rest of the sky is clear. The local legend is that this smoke is the result of a smoking competition between the devil and an ancient pirate, Van Hunks. However there is also a meteorological explanation for this phenomenon.
The clouds are formed by the South Easterly wind pushing air against the mountain where it is forced to rise. On reaching the cooler air higher up moisture in the air condenses and forms the cloud. The reverse then occurs as the clouds pour over the otherside of the mountain. On meeting the warmer air lower down the moisture evaporates, and the clouds appear to disappear into mid air.
Although beautiful to look at the tablecloth can be dangerous. The drop in temperature between the bottom of the mountain and the top can be quite dramatic and catch the unprepared hiker by surprise. Similarly a sudden descent of the cloud can also cause hikers unfamiliar with the mountain to quickly lose their way.