Cape Town Trip: Table Mountain & cape.

Posted on December 30, 2012

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Synonymous with any of the representations of Cape Town you may be familiar with is the mountain rising precipitously from the city’s edge: Table Mountain. Not only is it emblematic of the city, it is the sentinel of beauty in which both introduces and immerses you in the natural splendor surrounding you in the area. Previous to arriving, I dabbled in trip preparation and nearly everywhere, Table Mountain was the leaping off point to your time in the city.

Seeing the towering flat-topped mountain 1085 meters (3559 ft.) above the city center at elevtion 0 ft… Rea and Lea knew we knew we had to go explore. The mountain calls…

As ‘holiday’ exists nearly everywhere in the world this time of year, the road up to the cable car tram dock was packed. There are numerous options to climb the mountain, including a cable car ride. Without our knowledge, we opted for what was probably the most difficult route up; beginning just past the tram dock and nearly scaling straight up the bluffs and through a small gulch to the top.

We squished their little car into a spot on the side of the road–quite literally with next to a thousand foot drop down the side of the mountain–and began nature’s Stairmaster. Table mountain is known for its cloud covering the summit, due to the maritime and warm inland air colliding at the summit, the “table blanket”-however, the early morning blanket burnt off by the time we purchased our supplies for the trek. The sun was hot on our shoulders interrupted by the puffiness of cumulonimbus clouds that form interpretable animals guiding each step. The trail was busy, but not the Korea kind-of busy, and we often had time to ourselves to share a gasp of breath, some ‘jellys’ (gummy bears), and goldfish crackers. Without the mercy of the breeze dancing its way up the mountain flanks, we would have hiked at a similar pace as the poor girl that twisted her ankle early on the trail. The trail was a well-built rock staircase, worn by weather and the footsteps with an illogical use of barbed-wire to prevent any errant hikers.

It took just under 2 hours to the summit. We emerged through the small rock gateway to a windy summit field of stunted juniper-like bushes and rock outcroppings. A short jaunt brought us to the top tram dock, loads of well-rested tourists, and a few outbuildings consisting restrooms and a cafe. We sat, finishing up our goldfish and bananas and soaked in the view; thin clouds swirling about us all. We decided to take the cable car down after (shortly) considering the never-ending staircase we just came up.

The cable car line seemed to traverse the entire mountain, but moved quickly and we were soon onboard with about 25 others. Just after leaving the dock, the floor of the cabin started to rotate, giving everyone a chance to take in the view-the rotating tram was a first for me.

We then headed off to the coast to visit the Boulders Beach penguin colony. A boardwalk over a short stretch of beach on the Indian Ocean side of the cape took us within arms-reach of real life penguins in nature… can’t say that every day.

Towards Point Cape, we stopped to see the merging of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The Indian, being much warmer water, was a rich indigo. The cooler Atlantic Ocean was a paler green. Not only in Point Cape the historically significant landmark for explorers opening up the trade routes to Asia, it is the point where these two seas collide in an identifiable blend of the two water masses. We peered the mix from a roadside turnout, just beyond a sign warning us of the local baboons.

Yeah, I said baboons.

Baboons! Run!

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