Day 266: Table Mountain

Mon. 6th May 2013

And that is why it is called Table MountainAnother Monday and another hunt for a laundrette, which luckily is close at hand and promises our clothes  back by 2pm, which is good news as we are on the last day for certain (small) items! This leaves us time to begin seeing what Cape Town has in store for us. This is our last day with the car which we have until 4pm and so we select the places slightly out of town. We start with the obvious choice of Table Mountain, which is back the way we came yesterday so easy to find. It is not until this morning that we see why it is called Table Mountain, as it is a completely different view from the city side.

Long way upOn the road up we drive past the chap indicating for us to park saying “not falling for that one to pay him to look after the car”. Mistake, as the parking is all roadside and Dave lands up driving past the entrance to park, while I jump out and buy the tickets for the cable car up the mountain. I opt for the return tickets as I do not fancy whatever the alternative may be, given the steep sides of the mountain. The highest point on Table Mountain is 1,085 metres so that would be quite a climb, especially as we are out of practise (but, then again, Dave ought to think about getting in training soon….)

On top of Table MountainI rush into the cable car first to get a spot by the open window and laugh once we start, as the floor rotates so everyone gets the views. What a good system, but a bit disorientating at first. This is one of three revolving cable cars in the world, the other two are Mount Titlis in the Swiss Alps and Palm Springs, USA. The area at the top is massive and it takes 45 minutes to walk the longer circular path, according to the sign. Do not look behind you

We opt for a bit of a zigzag route to see all the views on every side and they are stunning, just like we have come to expect from South Africa. We can even see as far as Cape Point and the Kommetjie Lighthouse, following the route we came yesterday. It is such a clear day we can see for miles and miles. In the cable car coming down we can see the step path which would have been the alternative route down, and is also used if the winds get up meaning the cable cars cannot run. The cars carry 4,000 litres of water as ballast to make it more steady as well as provide water for the restaurant and facilities at the top.

Lion's Head and Signal HillFrom the top we could see Lion’s Head and Signal Hill and drive there next for more views back over Table Mountain. The view from Signal Hill out to sea meant that it was a good viewpoint to spot ships approaching Cape Town. There are also views of the west coast which is all built up and not as spectacular as the coastline further south. In the distance we spot the large stadium where Bon Jovi are playing on Tuesday (tomorrow) and Justin Bieber on Wednesday. Sounds like time to leave town.

Harbourfront with mini London EyeThe V & A Waterfront is a buzzing thriving part of town full of restaurants, so that is our nest destination. We sat out on the waterfront for lunch enjoying the sun. It is also possible to get a tour of Robben Island, a prison island where Nelson Mandela was also held for a while, but time is against us as usual and we need to return the hire car. Thank you little Polo for being a good car, it is on my short list of cars to buy on my return to the UK.

Roof of Grand Daddy HotelThe Avis office is a short walk from our hotel, which is fairly central to town and convenient for all our needs. The Grand Daddy Hotel is a quirky place with vintage Airstream trailers on the roof as additional accommodation, as well as an open air, roof-top cinema. The hotel is also close to the Nomad Office where our next trip leaves from on Wednesday morning at 8am. We head to their office next just to confirm where it is and that all is OK for our trip. I am surprised by the grill over the front door which is opened from inside – it is another reminder that there is another side to Cape Town and South Africa. For now, though, we are just enjoying the sunshine, the sights and the views of that mountain.

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