How Table Mountain’s tablecloth works

Table Mountain's tablecloth
If you've ever been in Cape Town and taken a long look at the tablecloth-like clouds covering the mountain, perhaps you've wondered how it is that there could be no other clouds in the sky, except for the sheet covering our flat-top mountain. Perhaps you've also been as transfixed as I've been, watching as the clouds roll down the side of the mountain, disappearing into nothingness.

What happens is that a warm south-easterly wind blows up the back of the Table Mountain range, until it reaches the summit (which is about 1000m above sea level) where it quickly cools down as it meets the cold air covering the top of the mountain. Because cool air isn't able to hold as much moisture, condensation and a thick cloud results.

The air continues to move towards Cape Town and Table Bay, and as it falls off the edge of the mountain it descends, meeting warmer air that's able to absorb the cloud's water vapour, making the cloud disappear, literally into thin air. :)

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