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Ever thought about visiting the iconic Table Mountain in Cape Town? It’s an experience that promises awe-inspiring vistas of South Africa. But, there’s one potential hiccup: altitude sickness. Yup, it’s a real concern, especially for newbies. So, how can you enjoy this breathtaking spot without the dizziness and nausea? Dive into this guide to find out! By the end, you’ll be armed with everything you need to tackle altitude sickness head-on.

1. Understanding Altitude Sickness

What is Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness is a condition that occurs at high elevations. The higher you go, the less oxygen there is. Symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

How does it affect the body?

Our bodies are used to a certain oxygen level. At high altitudes, oxygen drops, and our body struggles to adapt, leading to altitude sickness symptoms.

Why Table Mountain?

Table Mountain stands at over 1,000 meters. Its height combined with its popularity makes it a hot spot for potential altitude sickness.

2. Recognizing Symptoms

Early Signs

It’s crucial to spot altitude sickness early. Watch out for headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.

Advanced Symptoms

If not addressed, altitude sickness can escalate. Symptoms like vomiting, breathlessness, and chest pain are serious.

Table Mountain-specific Symptoms

Because of its unique geography, Table Mountain might induce specific reactions like ear popping and mild disorientation.

3. Preparing in Cape Town

Stay Hydrated

One key to preventing altitude sickness? Hydration. Always carry and drink plenty of water.

Eat Right

A diet rich in carbohydrates can help combat altitude sickness. Load up on local Cape Town delicacies!

Rest Well

Before your ascent, ensure you have a good night’s rest. It makes a difference in how your body adjusts.

4. Gradual Acclimatization

Take It Slow

The quicker the ascent, the higher the risk of altitude sickness. Don’t rush your climb up Table Mountain.

Rest Stops

Utilize rest stops to help your body adjust. Take deep breaths and hydrate.

Spend a day in Cape Town

Before heading to Table Mountain, spend a day or two in Cape Town to help your body acclimate.

5. Travel with a Buddy

The Buddy System

Having someone with you can be lifesaving if altitude sickness strikes. Plus, shared memories are always sweeter!

Look Out For Each Other

If your buddy shows signs of altitude sickness, descend immediately. Better safe than sorry.

Local Guides

Consider hiring a local guide. They’re trained to spot altitude sickness and know the best routes up.

6. Over-the-Counter Medication

Consult a Pharmacist

In Cape Town, talk to a pharmacist about altitude sickness pills. They can help prevent or lessen symptoms.

Natural Remedies

Some believe in the power of herbs like gingko biloba to prevent altitude sickness. Always consult an expert first!

Stay Updated

Recommendations change. Always check the latest guidelines before popping any pills.

7. Proper Gear


The right attire can protect against cold-induced altitude sickness. Layer up!


Sturdy shoes ensure you’re not exerting unnecessary energy, reducing the risk of altitude sickness.


Always carry sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. They don’t directly combat altitude sickness, but they do protect in high-altitude areas.

8. Know When to Descend

Listen to Your Body

If you feel any symptoms, it’s essential to descend immediately. Altitude sickness can escalate fast.

Better Safe Than Sorry

It’s okay if you don’t reach the top. Your safety is paramount. Table Mountain will always be there!

Descent Tips

If symptoms hit, sit down, hydrate, and descend slowly. Seek medical help if needed.

9. Educate Yourself

Altitude Sickness Workshops

Some Cape Town organizations offer workshops on preventing altitude sickness. Knowledge is power!

Read Up

There are many resources online and in local South African bookstores about altitude sickness.

Ask Locals

Cape Town locals know Table Mountain best. Don’t hesitate to ask them for advice.

10. Enjoy, But Be Cautious

Soak in the Beauty

Table Mountain is stunning. Don’t be so focused on altitude sickness that you forget to enjoy!

Stick to the Path

The established paths are designed to reduce altitude sickness risks. Stick to them.

Stay Positive

A positive mindset can do wonders. Believe in yourself, take precautions, and you’ll conquer Table Mountain!


Table Mountain, a gem of Cape Town, South Africa, promises an unparalleled experience. But like any high-altitude journey, there’s the shadow of altitude sickness. Fortunately, with the right knowledge and precautions, you can greatly reduce your risk. So, arm yourself with this guide, take it slow, stay hydrated, and most importantly, listen to your body. Table Mountain awaits, and with these tips, you’re more than ready to explore its heights!

FAQ Section

  1. How high is Table Mountain?
    • It stands at over 1,000 meters above sea level.
  2. What are the primary symptoms of altitude sickness?
    • Symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, headache, and shortness of breath.
  3. Does everyone get altitude sickness?
    • No, but it’s more common in people who aren’t acclimated to high altitudes.
  4. Is altitude sickness life-threatening?
    • In its severe form, it can be. Always descend if symptoms appear.
  5. Are there medications to prevent altitude sickness?
    • Yes, consult with a pharmacist in Cape Town for recommendations.
  6. How can hydration help?
    • Staying hydrated improves blood oxygen levels, reducing altitude sickness risk.

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