Friday, June 17, 2011

Home sweet home

The most beautiful view in the world: Table Mountain from the window of a Boeing. After five days in Gauteng, home sweet home.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Free at the top

The colours on top of the mountain are blue, bright blue and deep blue. I don’t know about you, but it’s been ages since I’ve been on the actual flat tabletop bit; the western table, if you’re looking at a map. The part where the cablecar ends and a lot of tourists walk around. 
The Table Mountain Cableway’s new cable card is a great offer. For R490 per person you can go up and down the cableway as many times a year as you like, but not more than one return trip a day.

So this morning, when Jan and I felt like an easy post-flu stroll but still needed to be on the mountain and smell the fynbos, we had the brainwave to buy the cable card and put it to work immediately. We sailed up and the best thing of all was the sense of wonder on every face - including our own - even though we had done this many times before.

At the top it took us just a few minutes to shake off the crowds and walk towards Maclear’s Beacon (named after an astronomer who also has a crater on the moon named after him).  

This path is close to the blue sky. Clumps of reed-like restios stand ankle deep in pools of shallow winter water reflecting all that blue. A winter’s day like this is a perfect Cape Town day. Not a breath of wind, mellow sunshine and, up here, the croaks of tiny frogs like hairline cracks in the still air.

The route that loops back from the beacon takes you along the edge of the mountain and sudden, original views of the city, seen from the sharp side of the mountain. It’s like floating to the roof of your room and looking down at a familiar scene. Below us the cliff face dropped hundreds of dizzying metres. Although it’s not really exposed, it’s exhilarating to feel as if you’re walking along on the edge of the mountain, with the ocean a kilometre below you. 
Wisps of cool night air hang over the Atlantic Ocean, below the Twelve Apostles.
Ahead of us Table Mountain was a massive chunk of reassuring sandstone, with Lion’s Head looking very small from up here. And then we were back where we started. An hour and a half’s easy stroll, but a great mountain high. No sweat. At all. Just flash those cable cards.