We had read so much about very long waits to buy tickets and again to take the aerial cable way up the mountain especially on such a picture perfect day as we had. Though we had a longish walk up a steep road from where we had parked the car, there was no queue luckily for either tickets or the cable car. There was no need rushing into the gondola to get a preferred view because the floor rotated at least twice giving everyone fantastic views on the less than five minute ride up.
I read with interest the facts about the Table Mountain Cableway. I especially was glad to read that the cable cars carried 4,000 liters of water for ballast during the windy season!
This was the first time we'd observed a Dassie (rhymes with fussy), a large rodent, whose proper name is rock hyrax. It was almost as if it posed for us whilst basking in the sun. Although these creatures look like oversize guinea pigs, the dassie's closest relative is the elephant as they both have collapsible rib cages. They congregate in large numbers near the upper cable station where they've learned to beg for food. Sadly, a diet of junk food over the years has seriously compromised their health.
In June of 2004, the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest and richest of the six floral kingdoms that occur on earth - home to an amazing 8,000 plus species - was selected as a Natural Wonder Heritage Site. The minuscule Cape Floral Kingdom has more species of flowers than the entire United Kingdom!
We watched for a while while these men prepared to go abseiling, which is a controlled descent of a vertical drop, such as a rock face, using a rope. This was their definition of fun but definitely not ours!
The guide explained that this plant was known as a climber's plant because it was so strong and since its roots extend more than 19 feet into the soil, walkers could hold onto it.
One of Cape Town's dams:
The peak below is called Devil's Peak and is part of the mountainous backdrop to Cape Town
I can't tell you how glad we were to have chosen this as our first activity of the day because we had read that, if there were problems with the winds and the mountain were closed, it would most likely happen in the afternoon hours.
The guide mentioned that Cape Town has the same latitude as Perth, Australia and Buenos Aires, Argentina. The latter city is on our list of places to visit when we travel to South America this fall, God willing. Here was an altogether different view of Cape Town Stadium from the one we'd seen en route to Robben Island a few days ago.
Our guide indicated that because there were 23 species of snakes on Table Mountain, it was sometimes referred to as Snake Mountain! Luckily, only 7 of them were poisonous. Yup, I know the following is not a photo of a snake but the shot of the lizard was the closest I could get to that of a snake!
After the guided walk ended, we continued walking around the plateau for a good while.
Some more photos atop Table Mountain National Park:
We felt like we were on top of the world.
On a clear day such as we were lucky enough to have, the views were to die for.
According to a sign on the plateau, Table Mountain became "one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature when it was elected by the second global voting campaign, held from 2007-2011, in the history of mankind via the internet and telephone. This marked the beginning of the third millennium and celebrated nature's diversity."
Steven said rather cynically that somebody sure made a lot of money from that campaign!
We were relieved we didn't have to take the emergency basket down the mountain when we decided to leave!
We didn't see anyone using the hiking path on either the ride up or down the mountain; think it was probably because it was a hot day and there was not a speck of shade on the arduous hike.
We couldn't get over the fact that there was so much to see and do in Cape Town - it really was one of, if not, the most exciting cities we've ever been to. When we'd heard somebody on Table Mountain say how he'd fallen in love with Cape Town, we nodded our heads in agreement as we felt exactly the same.
Watching the paragliding teams take off was like seeing airplanes take off a runway, one also immediately after another.