Sunday, 3 October 2010

Cape Town. Day 3. Table Mountain.

Sunday morning dawned clear and sunny – the perfect weather to head up to the top of Table Mountain. The locals told us not to plan a specific day to go up via the cable car but instead ‘if you wake up and it is clear, go for it!’. We booked a taxi and went to our favourite breakfast cafe – Buzz Cafe, just down the hill from our apartment. The Cafe has a fun vibe and a ‘monkey’ theme, which we all enjoyed. We had a leisurely, delicious breakfast and then our taxi arrived to take us to the base station of Table Mountain.

Table Mountain sits at the back of Cape Town City and the Waterfront – it creates a bowl at its feet in which the city was built. The city has passed laws limiting how far up the mountain development can occur, and a clear ‘line’ of development can be seen – Except for three ugly towers which are built right on the development line, but are over 10 storeys tall. Everything above this line is National Park.

To get to the top of Table Mountain, it is possible to hike (quite arduous, apparently!) or, as we did, go to the cable car station and catch the cars to the top. After lots of experience in gondolas on the ski slopes of Europe, we were surprised by how steep the trip was. The gondola freely rotates as you travel up so you get fantastic views.

The Lion's Head mountain, a part of the Table Mountain National Park.
At the top, it is surprising how flat the top of the mountain is. There are simple walking tracks giving you views to Cape Town, to the beaches to the West of Cape Town and down towards Cape Point). Phil doesn’t mind heights, but he is not so happy with unprotected edges!

The views were fantastic, and we were fortunate to see many Dassies, which are Rock Hyraxes (the closest relative to the elephant!) They were relaxing on the rocks, eating plants and (to Cameron’s amusement) pooing regularly.

We had a lovely walk along some of the tracks, and then retired to the cafe for a coffee.
 A long way from both homes!

Whilst we were sitting there, the other thing that makes Table Mountain famous occurred – the ‘tablecloth’ rolled in. The tablecloth is fog/cloud that forms when the moist air off the ocean is forced up the side of table mountain, and as it reaches the top it rapidly cools and condenses to become cloud. It blows across the top and seems to flow over the other side. Whilst we were in the cafe, we were reduced to a total white-out. It was a good thing that we had already done our sightseeing.  We had to wait a little while until the cable car opened again before we could head back down the mountain.

We made our way down in the cable-car again, very quickly dropping below the tablecloth and back into lovely sunshine. We reached the bottom station and decided to walk back down into town, to our apartment. It was all downhill, and it was a nice few kilometres in the sunshine. We arrived back at the apartment, had our lunch, and took the kids to the pool.
The pool was colder than it looked, and the boys were in and out very quickly. However, they were happy to play by the pool (with rocks, stones and whatever else they could find). Nicole and Phil kicked back with some coffee and a great selection of South African books from Derwent House.

We again had dinner at DaVinci’s. After our first visit, Phil decided to have something a bit smaller – a steak was a good choice! The boys enjoyed drawing on the tablecloths (butcher paper) and Cameron drew a picture of a Shark ‘beating up’ a seal pup. A very funny picture, which he asked that the restaurant stick up at the counter with their other customer drawings – which they did!

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