The last time I went to the top of Table Mountain via the Cableway was thirty six years ago. It was in the original tiny bubble car that took about twenty people at a time and now sits at the lower cable station as a museum item. I was enthralled by the experience then and vowed to make it at least an annual event.
Somehow, all those years passed and I never got around to it. Perhaps it is because every morning I open my curtains and I watch the car gliding up and down in the distance. Most mornings I subconsciously decide if it would be a good day to visit. I look at the sky searching for cloud or mist and scan the trees for signs of wind. I consider my bank balance and usually decide to concentrate on making money rather than spending it. Then I finish my tea and get on with my day. It is so accessible that I just never get around to it. I have missed out on so much.
This year I vowed that I would take advantage of the free trip on my birthday. This is an option for all South African citizens but it requires you to physically drive to the lower cable station, stand in a queue and present your I.D Book. I drove there, took one look at the queue and left. Like most Capetonians I avoid driving anywhere near the city, the traffic you know, and I just did not have time that day to stand in a long line with a zillion tourists.
However, a few days later I got something that is even better than a free pass on your birthday, I got a Cable Card. Considering the fact that a return ticket for an adult is R240, the cable card is a no brainer for anyone planning to visit more than three times in a year. For R453, (R565 less 20% because I used my Wild Card,) I can do a return trip on the cable car every single day for a year.
YES, EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR ONE WHOLE YEAR.
Now, time will tell if this is worthwhile or not. I plan to go at least once a month as it is an idyllic venue for photography. It offers endless opportunities and this mountain of ours has so many moods that a shot of the same place will look different every time.
Last week at 4pm I found myself sitting at the bottom of the road waiting for the free bus to take me to the lower cable station. Parking is impossible unless you are one of the lucky ones, but the My CiTi Bus runs every twenty minutes or so and there was plenty of parking at the foot of Lower Tafelberg Road.
As I already had a ticket I joined the much shorter queue and within twenty minutes I was stepping into the brightly coloured car. The views from the lower cable station are pretty impressive, but the swift ride to the top is jaw dropping. Cameras clicked and visitors gasped as the revolving floor offered views of the city, the ocean and the solid rock face of this majestic mountain that soars up in the middle of a city.
Once on top friendly staff point the way and I joined the crush to get out and about. The immediate area around the exit, shop and the short walkway to the café is crowded with too many people ignoring the view and intent only on the must have selfie. This saddens me as I think they missed out on so much. This is not a place to race up, take a selfie and race down again.
I moved away from the commercial area and onto one of the paths, the crowds thinned then faded to just a few interested explorers all smiling, nodding hello and trying to see everything at once.
I found a rock to stand on, put down my bag and camera and just breathed. I needed to absorb the smells and textures before I could even begin to take in the views.
My first impression was MIND OFFICIALLY BLOWN!
I spent the next two hours walking the paths planning future trips, stopping to gaze at the ocean, the beaches, the city and the suburbs, the mountains, the birds, the bushes and the rock pools. It is all too much to take in.
A long two hour queue had formed for people wanting to head back down so I decided to carry on enjoying my time and scouted around for a good place for some sunset pics. Unfortunately it was a pretty average sunset for Cape Town but beautiful to see anyway.
Once the sun disappeared it got dark, really black can’t see a thing dark. And cold. Even on arrival it is a good few degrees colder than down below so I was very happy to have a windbreaker and a beanie, essential attire when up in the clouds.
I was in no rush to leave this incredible place so I made my way to the Wi-Fi lounge, bought a cappuccino and a pumpkin and cinnamon muffin and sat nice and snug, going through my photos. All too soon the call came for the final car going down and by 20:30 I was back on earth and ready to go home.
I did not think to look at the timetable for the free bus, and as I had missed the last one I had to catch a taxi back to my car.
I have so many plans for my future trips. Sunrise, sunset, summer picnics, brisk walks in winter.
Next time I want to download the audio tour with a running commentary that is location specific. How clever is that. I will also do the guided walking tour as I am sure that there is plenty I do not know.
Apart from that, I can’t wait to spend an entire day up there with my camera.
Watch this space.
Written by blogger The Roaming Giraffe Di Brown
Get connected in the clouds above the Mother City at Table Mountain Cableway’s new Wi-Fi Lounge, which is open to all visitors wanting to connect, share, post, Tweet or simply take a seat and gaze out over the Atlantic Ocean.
Have you been up Table Mountain?
Let us know on our Cape Town Big 6 Facebook Page. Better yet, snap an Instagram shot of your favourite view and tag us with @CapeTownBig6
One Destination, 6 Unbelievable Experiences
There is no one way to explore all of the Cape Town Big 6, and much of what makes each of them so special is the variety of things to see and do at each. So if possible, take your time to explore each of the city’s most visited tourist attractions in as much depth as possible – as any local will tell you, you can spend a lifetime at each of the Big 6 and still not tire of them. Find the 3 and 4 day itineraries and tips here.