Table Mountain for Slackers

Two weeks travelling solo in South Africa is about to come to and end. It’s been a high tourism, high energy trip – especially this last week in the Western Cape – and I’m now back in the city of Cape Town pretty much wiped out. The day is not yet over, though, so I’m looking for one final excursion.

Going up Table Mountain is not on the cards. I like looking at Table Mountain. So much so that going somewhere you can’t see Table Mountain from, even if that place be Table Mountain itself, doesn’t jive with my idea of time in Cape Town well spent. Sorry (not sorry).

I’ve seen Table Mountain from the city, I’ve seen Table Mountain from the beach, I’ve seen Table Mountain from the road to Hout Bay, and from each new vantage point it gives me THE AWE like I’m seeing it for the first time all over again. Nothing I’ve seen in the world can dominate a landscape like Table Mountian does, and I want to spend my last afternoon in South Africa staring right at it.

I contemplated climbing Lion’s Head, but I’ve heard that Signal Hill gives views that are just as good but for half the exertion and at this point in the trip that’s the clincher. I was also planning on actually walking to the top, but I  accidentally (swear to god) ordered my Uber to the summit instead of the bottom, so yeah… maybe next time.

The whole Uber thing turned out very well and good as my driver Melvin was pretty excited to be taking somebody up there during the day. Melvin was all sorts of good chat, and at some point during our conversation I managed to persuade him to do something he’d never done before – take a break and enjoy the view.

At the top you’re greeted by friendly Guinea fowl. And when I say friendly I mean they have the balls to come right up to you and rip a cheese breadstick out of your grasp. Turns out I really like Guinea fowl. They’re so… square.

As you approach the edge, the view opens up so you can see the whole of the City Bowl sprawled out beneath you, the skyscrapers of the CBD, the harbour with the tanker basin and container terminal, and the coastline all the way out to Sunset Beach.

Looking just a bit to the left, you get great views of the football stadium they built for the 2010 World Cup (also where they had the second weekend of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Tournament just a couple of days ago).

All these views are nice but you know that’s not what we came for. We came to be wowed by Table Mountain, and that’s exactly what happened next. You have to skirt round some trees and wade through some light shrubbery, but then you’re standing on the edge and all you can see in front of you is that giant tsunami of rock towering over the city, liquid clouds pouring over the edge in what they call the “tablecloth effect“. This is it. On my last afternoon in Cape Town, I finally found the quintessential view of the city I was looking for. The money shot. The one you see on the postcards. Maybe I’ll print this off and send it to my parents. Table Mountain, you are magnificent.

Some while later, I called an Uber to take me back to Sea Point, and as fate would have it, it was Melvin. He’d truly taken my suggestion to have a good time up here seriously, and had been chilling and enjoying the view and the evening sun for at least an hour. We resumed our conversation in the car on the way back, and I promised I’d hit him up for rides next time I’m in Cape Town.

Which is hopefully pretty damn soon.

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