On top of Table Mountain

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.

Travel tip

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.

Dedication

For Peter and Kay, the TC’s parents, two travellers dauntless and generous.

The photos

Me and Peg on top of Table Mountain, near the cable car station and looking out over a fog-covered Atlantic seaboard:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

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:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

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:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

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:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

Here’s another view of the cables with the back of the top cable station behind them:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

The cable car going down, with the top cable station on the left and Lion’s Head (the round mountain top) on the right:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

The cables leading downwards, with Lion’s Head (669 metres) on the left and Signal Hill (350 metres) on the right:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

Dassies on a rock overlooking the Atlantic seaboard beyond Camps Bay:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

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:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

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:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

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”.

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

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:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

A closer view of the protea:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

Another bit of fynbos that caught the TC’s eye:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

Still overlooking the Atlantic side, here’s a view of Hout Bay:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

Now you’re looking over the eastern side towards Fishhoek and Simon’s Town, except that they’re covered in fog today:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

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:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

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!

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

Back to the mountain-top restaurant safe and sound, and a rock pigeon joined us for tea:

On top of Table Mountain

On top of Table Mountain

That’s all for today dudes.

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://travellingworm.wordpress.com/2009/05/10/on-top-of-table-mountain/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You’re very clever, Wordsworm! You can take a picture of the back of TC from 3 or more metres away, and you don’t have any loose hands or fingers you can use. I’m impressed😉

  2. Heh. In the virtual world anything is possible.

  3. Hello Worm,

    A message for TC — wish I’d known you were in Cape Town, I would have given you a book to house your lovely worm. Two in fact — I have another one out :))
    see http://helenmoffett.book.co.za/blog/2009/06/03/the-first-time/ for details.

  4. Hallo Helen

    Girl, that’s marvelous. Congratulations on getting your second book published. Your blog post says it all. I love the image of “a stack of velvety-black, pink and red books” on your bed. “Strange Fruit“, what a simply irresistable title for a book of poems!

    This worm wishes you the very best of luck with the book launch.

  5. […] Town, South Africa, last week. We spent a day on Table Mountain. This worm has been there before (blogged too). The top of the mountain is one of the TC’s favourite places to be. This worm is fond of it […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: