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A Sojourn in South Africa II: Table Mountain


First Weekend Trip

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Yes, we were sent to Cape Town for a business trip. But that doesn’t mean to say there are no weekends. For that reason, we took this opportunity as well to discover what could Cape Town possibly offer to us during this short stay that we have.

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As mentioned in my first blog for South Africa, we can already have an impressive view of a prominent landmark from our hotel, and that is Table Mountain. So with that, Marefe and I decided to go visit it for our first weekend.

Quick Facts

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Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain which forms parts of the Table Mountain National Park. It was one of the voted and officially named New 7 Wonders of Nature last November 2011. It has an elevation of 1087 meters above sea level and you can reach the top in two ways. If you are an adventure enthusiast who loves to hike, then you can choose one from four major trails:

  1. Platteklip Gorge Trail
    • Distance   :  2kms
    • Duration  :  2 hours one way
    • Difficulty  :  Easy to moderate
  2. India Venster Trail
    • Distance   :  2.5kms
    • Duration  :  2 – 4 hours one way
    • Difficulty  :  Moderate to difficult
  3. Skeleton Gorge Trail
    • Distance   :  6.2kms
    • Duration  :  4hrs 15mins up until the upper cable car station
    • Difficulty  :  Moderate
  4. 12 Apostles Trail
    • Distance   :  6kms
    • Duration  :  4 to 5 hours
    • Difficulty  :  Easy

(You can find out more here regarding the above-mentioned trails.)

However, if you are not a fan of hiking or time is of the essence and you just want to see what’s on top, then you can go for the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. You can either book online or just buy a ticket once reaching Tafelberg. As per experience, there are a lot of tourists and locals alike during weekends wanting to go there. So if you want to save time, it is better to reserve online in advance. If you want to check their rates and book online, you can check here. As of today, a one way trip costs R190 for adults and R90 for a child with 4 to 17 years of age. Discounts are also offered for SA Senior Citizens. A one way ticket in the morning costs R50 and R80 in the afternoon.

Getting There

From our hotel in Tyger Valley, we just decided to go by Uber going to City Sightseeing Cape Town near V&A Waterfront to check on their tour packages at around 8AM. However, upon arriving, we were not able to catch the bus going to Table Mountain. With that, we just booked again with Uber and headed directly to Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Ticket Office along Tafelberg Road.

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Just a few meters before the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Ticket Office

Upon arriving at around quarter after 10, we were already greeted by scads of tourists and locals queued up, waiting for their turn to buy tickets for the cableway. There were three booths so it didn’t take that much long for us. Upon having bought our own ticket, of course we took the opportunity to have a picture of it with the mountain serving as a backdrop.

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It was at this time that I noticed something with the ticket. As you can see, it shows that there is 1 Up – Adult on the topmost part of the ticket. It got me thinking then that maybe we bought the wrong ticket as we are planning to have a ticket going down. So with that, we went back to the teller and she said that they are only selling tickets going up, not down. If we plan on having a ticket going down, we should buy the ticket at the top. Good thing, they do refunds and it was quick. Talking to them however was the hard part as we were not able to really understand each other that easily.

Starting with our hike

From the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, there aren’t much signages to direct you where to start with your hike. In our case, we just asked some of the staff around the area where is the entry point. From one of those we have asked, he said that our the start of the trail would be around 20 to 30 minutes from the ticket office. We just have to follow the road and there would be an information center to our right once reaching the jump off point. With the given information, we then started our hike at around 11:30AM and of course, took some pictures along the way.

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Platteklip Gorge Trail

When we were there, we were not really fully aware that there are different trails we could take to reach the top. Once we were able to have a sight of the information center at 10 minutes before 12NN, we saw a path on its right marking the starting point for the Platteklip Gorge Trail.

IMG20180210115046We read some facts about it and soon after, we now started our hike going up.

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Going Up

From this point on, let these pictures tell the story.

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After thirty minutes of walking, we are already at a higher elevation.

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Trails are established so there’s no need to worry about it.

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After almost 3 hours (contrary to the estimated 2 hours due to lots of stop overs taking pictures along the way), we were able to reach the top.

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And oh wait, let me take a selfie first. :p

At the top, we were also able to meet Olli (from Finland) and Marc (from Romania) who were also sent for this business trip.

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To more selfies :p

We took some time to roam around the area and after an hour or so of exploring, we decided to have our late lunch at the Table Mountain Cafe at around 3:30PM. They offer a variety of foods from meat, vegetables, desserts, and more. You can check out more details about it here.

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Chef Special Dish of the Day: Beef Bobotie. It is a well-known South African dish consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping.

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After eating, we took another round in exploring the area more.

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Lion Head on the background

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Lion Head

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Souvenir shop on the background :p

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Searching for someone 😀

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For their souvenir shop, I wasn’t able to take that much photos as I was overwhelmed by the prices for most of the souvenirs. 😀 All I can say is that they have souvenir shops both at the top and by the side of the ticketing office below.

As we finished roaming around, we decided to already buy tickets going down at around 17:00 as the cableway has limited time operation and if in case the weather suddenly goes bad, they would also have to stop it, which will leave us with no choice but to hike going down.

The cableway ride only takes less than five minutes and once we were down, we decided to go and have our dinner at V&A Waterfront. (Details about it will be written in my succeeding write ups.)

Until then!

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Lion’s Head from below

Summary

  • 08:00 Leave from Protea Hotel in Tyger Valley
  • 08:40 Arrive at V&A Waterfront Cape Town Sightseeing Bus Ticket Office
  • 09:50 Decided to head directly to Table Mountain Aerial Cableway in Tafelberg Rd.
  • 10:30 Arrival at Tafelberg Rd.
  • 10:50 Head to jump off point for Platteklip Gorge Trail
  • 11:20 Arrival at jump off point, start trek going up
  • 15:00 Arrival at the summit
  • 15:30 Late lunch
  • 18:00 Ride cableway going down
  • 18:10 Arrival at the ticketing office below; Head for V&A Waterfront for dinner

 

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