African shoestrings – South Africa Day Thirty-five – Table Mountain Cape Town
In our previous visit to Cape Town we had taken the cable car to the top of the 1000 metre Table Mountain (and back down again).
This time, we promised ourselves, we would walk to the top and catch the cable car down. Today was a public holiday and even minibuses would be few and far between so we had to brave another of Andre’s lectures as he very kindly gave us a lift into the city.
From there it was just a short walk to the main track that winds up the Platteklip gorge the easiest way up from the that side of the mountain.
There are two very distinct features about Table Mountain, the fact that from a distance it appears to have as the name suggests a completely flat top and it’s “tablecloth”. The tablecloth is cloud that regularly rolls in and covers the top for anything like a few minutes to the rest of the week. This phenomenon usually happens around mid- morning so we wanted to ensure that we got up there early enough to see the 360° views.
Last time we got to the top we had about 5 minutes before our vision was reduced to about 5 metres. This time we hadn’t even got up to the top before it rolled in, reducing visibility to a few metres and slowing our already slow progress.
The track was a winding trail that zig zagged awkwardly and was strewn with large boulders and obviously designed for mountain goats. Worse still we had the challenge of having to clamber around hundreds of people all with the same idea. Now we had to pick our way through damp mist and poor visibility. Being as I said a public holiday, the last thing was I would have expected would to be find teenage school groups. But there hundreds of the little shits who, as well as some adults, seemed oblivious to the fact that there was actually a trail with lots of signs asking us to keep to it.
But the gods did smile on us as we approached the top, the ‘tablecloth’ disappeared as quickly as it had appeared and we were able to spend a good hour and a bit admiring the great views. Table Mountain is at the end or the beginning of a small range called the twelve apostles that travel south and reduce in size at the beginning of the Cape Peninsula. It had cleared enough for us to see the famous Cape of Good Hope some 70 kilometres away at the end of the peninsula.