This is the blog of a 25-year-old bookmark. I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC) .
Today’s travel notes
Me and the TC have been in Cape Town, South Africa, for the last week. While we were there, we went up Table Mountain.
My impressions? “The purpose of evolution, believe it or not, is beauty.” (Joseph Brodsky.)
The TC is feeling philosophical at the moment. This is affecting me and all who travel with her. The top of Table Mountain is a good place for quiet reflection.
To boldly go where no man has gone before — that’s “marvellous”, as the TC’s father would say. This worm adds: Do split those infinitives and question other rules that may prevent you going where you need to go.
The book I’m in
World without End, by Ken Follett.
For Peter and Kay, the TC’s parents, two travellers dauntless and generous.
Me and Peg on top of Table Mountain, near the cable car station and looking out over a fog-covered Atlantic seaboard:
We went up the mountain on a day when the city and coast were shrouded in fog. At first we thought the cable car would not be running. But as we drove up Kloof Nek Road we rose up over the fog bank into the bright sunlight.
Here’s a view from inside the cable car going up, seeing the other cable car coming down to meet us:
Below is a closer view of the top cable station as we approach it. Those last few metres are very steep. The cables creak and grind and the ground falls away on both sides to reveal a breathtaking view of Camps Bay as well as the city. When they’re not covered in mist, that is:
The top cable station is at an altitude of 1067 metres. Take a look at the cables that anchor the station. The man sitting on the wall next to the cables gives you some idea of scale:
Here’s another view of the cables with the back of the top cable station behind them:
The cable car going down, with the top cable station on the left and Lion’s Head (the round mountain top) on the right:
The cables leading downwards, with Lion’s Head (669 metres) on the left and Signal Hill (350 metres) on the right:
Dassies on a rock overlooking the Atlantic seaboard beyond Camps Bay:
What is a “dassie”, you may well ask? It’s a cute fat furry creature, about the size of a cat. And it’s the elephant’s closest living relative! You’ll see many of them sunning themselves on the rocks on top of the mountain, especially on the side that overlooks Camps Bay. They’re not too bothered by humans but if you get too close they disappear into a crevice. Here’s one that we saw on the city side of the mountain top, taking advantage of an empty bit of path at a viewing site:
Starting from the top cable station, we walked along the top of the front table with the Atlantic seaboard on our right. The vegetation up there is lovely:
The Cape Floral Kingdom is famous for its diversity, and Table Mountain in particular is home to many unique and lovely species. There are only 6 floral kingdoms in the world, and the Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest but richest. The vegetation is called the “fynbos”, which means “fine bush”.
It really is flat on top of the mountain. Most of the plants are short, because the soil is shallow and the mountain-top climate is harsh. Still, even up there, you see some beauties like this protea overlooking an empty dam:
A closer view of the protea:
Another bit of fynbos that caught the TC’s eye:
Still overlooking the Atlantic side, here’s a view of Hout Bay:
Now you’re looking over the eastern side towards Fishhoek and Simon’s Town, except that they’re covered in fog today:
If you’re more energetic than the TC, you can walk up the mountain via Platteklip Gorge or one of the other gorges. You do need to be careful, especially if it’s misty. Every year a few tourists simply walk off the edge and fall to their deaths. The mountain seems friendly because it’s right in the middle of the city. But it’s a mountain after all. One of the gorges is named “Skeleton Gorge”, appropriately enough. Here’s a view of Platteklip Gorge, at the point where you would emerge if you walked up it:
Below is another view over the top of Platteklip Gorge. The TC’s sister Tracy crept to the edge and attached me and Peg to a meagre bush overhanging the precipice. It seems that that ruthless desire for adventure-by-proxy, with this worm as the proxy, runs in families!
Back to the mountain-top restaurant safe and sound, and a rock pigeon joined us for tea:
That’s all for today dudes.