Cape Town Travel Blog› entry 15 of 17 › view all entries
Day 13 - Table Mountain
You have the Space Needle, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge, all manmade and beautiful. You have the Grand Canyon and Yosemite, natural and beautiful in their own rite and they are equal to the majesty of Table Mountain. We saw it as we arrived in Cape Town. We saw it from the balcony of the apartment and now we saw it up close and personal. One can only imagine the groaning of the earth as this mountain pushed upwards. And to have the city pretty much built up around it and as high as structurally possible on its sides, spectacular.
Yo, Alan, Shinja and I were the brave ones on this. The girls opted to sleep in and take care of their stuff at the apartment.
We were shown where to park on the edge, and I do mean the edge, of the road. Getting out of the passenger side of the van was almost an act of mountain climbing. When we finally got out and got our stuff together we headed across a very busy parking area. If there is a negative here it would be the parking. Very large buses making U turns through the crowds and kids running all around does not make for a very safe area.
Originally we had planned to hike up to Table Mountain using Platklipp George trail and take the cable car down. Since one of our number opted out I was not doing it alone. Little did I realize how fortuitous this would be?
We did get tickets for the cable car and this is a trip onto itself. The cable car stations have very wide receiving areas to guide the swaying car in the event of wind. There are also signs warning if you hear the "hooter" hurry back to the station as the cable cars will not run in high winds. Ominous warning but not for us today. The top of the mountain had the famous Tablecloth cloud cover on it and was obscured. Odd seeing the cables headed up to the clouds connecting to ???? or at least we hoped connecting to something. The car also rotates on the way up. This allows everyone a full panorama view of the trip and view it was. For the faint of heart there are seats in the center that do not move.
We did arrive safely on the top. The cold nor wind nor clouds can stop the photographer in their appointment rounds. Opps, wrong blog. With the limited visibility it was a surreal landscape. It was almost flat and no real reference for distance or horizon. It was almost like being in Alaska during a whiteout. Alan and I opted to hike across the top of the mountain and do the upper part of Plateklipp Trail while Yo and Shinja opted to stay and be warm and dry as well as be the smart ones.
As we were walking the clouds seems to start clearing and we could actually see the true majesty of the area. The flora is so very beautiful and appeared to be indigenous to the mountain. We are checking that now. We did not see any fauna, Dassies, also known as rock rabbits but not for lack of searching. There was water flowing, we assume from condensation, and puddles everywhere. We did get to the south end and were headed back when I stepped into a puddle that was actually a hole about a foot deep. Dumb move, Art. Now I had about 45 pounds of camera equipment in my backpack. Oh well, I hobbled back towards the entrance. We still managed to records lots of photos all the way back now that we were traveling MUCH slower. I told Alan I stepped into the hole so we could slow down and see more. It sounded like a good excuse at the time.
Anyway, by the time we did get back to the upper cable car station the clouds lifted and the view was beyond anything I've seen before. Cape Town spread out below, Robben Island sitting isolated from the mainland and the waterfront! We had no idea Cape Town had such a busy waterfront.
As the morning drew to a close the crowds started to get bigger. Tour groups started arriving and we decided to head out. Down we went. As we got to the bottom we watched a very brave soul flying an ultra light around Lion's Head.
The four of us stopped in the Bo-Kapp area for lunch. The colors are so vivid and the area is so photogenic and, above all, the people are so friendly. We were in a small shop and some people struck up a conversation.
We found a restaurant on the second floor of a building that gave a great view and great food. We also became intimately acquainted with a product called Hotter En Hell. Just believe us when we say this is proof of truth in advertising. Naturally, being law abiding citizens we wanted a bottle knowing it was prohibited from being brought into the US. That notwithstanding the server graciously gave us a bottle. Subsequently Shinja found it on a store shelf also.
Knowing the next day was going to be a long one we opted to veg out and take care of some necessities such as laundry. As it was we almost had to chase some of the clothes across the room to get them into the washer.