Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Upgrade

Table Mountain, Cape Town

The 1997 upgrade of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway saw the introduction of the current Rotair cable cars, the complete overall of the winching system and major upgrades to both the Lower and Upper cable stations.

The landscape project at the Lower Station included the integration of the traffic planning in the forecourt arrival area with safe pedestrian circulation at arrival and departure. This was achieved by creating a paved pedestrian priority plaza area, with integrated traffic calming measures that accommodated pedestrian movement, arrival, departure and through traffic.  The granite finishes to the paved surfaces and street furniture linked the intervention to the geological context of Table Mountain*.

Being within the Table Mountain National Park, the disturbance area was strictly monitored, and endemic planting re-established at the interfaces of the new infrastructure. The improvements on the Tabletop were altogether more challenging given the environmental sensitivities and was achieved through an integrated interdisciplinary approach. The landscape on the Mountain had been quite severely disturbed given uncontrolled pedestrian access and the project included establishing a demarcated pedestrian circulation system, the upgrading and resurfacing of pathways, new pedestrian bridges over gullies and most dramatically the introduction of cantilevered steel and timber decks at the very edge of the mountain face.

At all times the physical & visual impact of the new infrastructure was carefully considered, and new structures were designed to both minimize the construction impact and to fit into the natural context. The landscape response included the use of natural stonework for edge walling, washed aggregate concrete for pathways and contrasting steel and timber pedestrian bridges & decks. The latter being seen as clearly contemporary lightweight interventions. Bespoke details were developed for low level ‘dark sky’ lighting and minimal signage elements. During construction, the environmental management plan required no spoiling of materials at the top of the mountain & had to be removed.

Pedestrians are now encouraged to stay on pathways whilst visiting the Mountain where the new pathway system provides spectacular views to one of the most frequented tourist destinations in Africa.

*Table Mountain at 1086m is home to 1460 different species of Fynbos, as part of the Cape Floral Kingdom and was declared a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE in 2000.
Table Mountain is one of the new provisional SEVEN WONDERS OF NATURE.

Table Mountain National Park

National Park

Landscape Architecture