It’s iconic. You have to do it. And so we did – the first morning we arrived in Cape Town we were up early and straight up that mountain. The one that we had first glanced from the plane as we flew in from Johannesburg the afternoon before:
We had also got some great shots of the mountain from the V&A Waterfront on our first evening in town – the area stuffed full of restaurants and shops which attracts huge crowds and which was hosting a big-screen showing of the Wales vs South Africa match that evening. I think we were the only Wales supporters in the vicinity…
We had no idea what to expect in terms of queues etc when we arrived at the bottom of the mountain on a sunny Sunday morning, about half an hour before the cable car that takes you to the top was due to open. There are other ways to get up there – namely, walking. And had our children been a little older and a little less moany this is something I would have loved to have attempted. But given we were dealing with a pair of seven-year-old legs and a ten-year-old who will run around a football pitch for hours on end but whinges on a ten minute stroll to the shops, we decided the electric version was the only way up.
So after a relatively short wait in the line along with a motley collection of tourists from around the world (it feels strange being amongst tourists – this isn’t something that really happens in Pretoria), we bought our tickets and got into the round car. These cars are huge – I think each carries 65 people, so although it seemed like there were a long queue, it went down pretty fast. The other thing about the car that I hadn’t realised is that they rotated – at least, the floor rotated but the windows stayed still. Like one of those 1970’s revolving restaurants that were all the rave for a while. Anyway it was great fun and made sure you got to see every view possible without having to move from your spot.
When we reached the top we headed straight for the cafe as we hadn’t yet had any breakfast. However, it was hard not to get distracted by the views:
Breakfast wasn’t a great success – they had some sort of buffet system where you paid by weight. But quite honestly it took such a long time to go through the process, the food was cold when we eventually sat down to eat. Cold scrambled eggs – not a good thing. We should have just ordered a coffee as there was no arguing with the fact that this must be one of the best breakfast views in the world!
Once we had eaten as much as we could face, we had a stroll around the area closest to the cable car. There were plenty of short walks you could do, as well as longer ones, and we made sure we saw the view over the city from every angle.
There is also a fair amount of wildlife at the top of the mountain. As well as the fat dassies sunning themselves on rocks which I have already mentioned in a previous Cape Town post, we snapped pictures of some of these handsome fellas:
Eventually we tore ourselves away from the views and made our way down the mountain – probably not a bad idea as the top was starting to get a little over-crowded with Japanese and other tour groups….
Near Table Mountain is another stunning viewpoint called Signal Hill. So called because they used to signal weather warnings to ships from its pointy top (and where they now fire the famous noonday gun from), it is also now known for the paragliders that launch from it’s heady heights. Paragliding is a bit of a “thing” in our family as it is my husband’s passion. He hadn’t brought his “wing” with him due to baggage restrictions on the flight down so could only watch enviously as glider after glider took off in front of us:
But Signal Hil wasn’t just about paragliding and stunning views – the foliage at the top was pretty spectacular too. This really is the most photogenic country!
And yet time and time again we just kept coming back to the views. After all, you really just can’t argue with scenery like this: