Posted by Noah
We were foiled in our first attempt to get to Table Mountain by high winds. As you may recall, we had already paid for a cab to get us to the cable cars, but arrived ten minutes after they had shut down. After returning from safari, we saw that a thick cloud layer was covering the mountain the next morning, so it would have been pointless to go then. That left us one day to see the defining feature of Cape Town.
Luckily, our final day was a beautiful one, so after Amanda's skydiving adventure, we hopped a cab back to the cable cars and were immediately treated to …
An hour long line.
Oh well, we are hardy tourists with dozens of Disneyland visits under our belts, so we know how to wait in line. We also know how to apply sunscreen which seemed to evade the lobsteresque British tourists beside us in line.
The cable ride was worth the wait by itself. Amazing views and just enough of a dangerous feel to be thrilling. The round car actually rotates as it goes up the cable, performing a complete circle in sync with the length of the cable.
It is possible to hike up, but it takes two to four hours and some of the trails are very challenging - not quite "get out your axe and harness" challenging, but definitely "find a toe-hold, try not to slip" challenging. Since the wind or clouds could have picked up any moment, we didn't want to risk it. Oh, and we're also lazy, lazy people.
Up top we went straight for lunch. A little unromantic perhaps, but, dude, we were hungry. We both got boerwors, a South African lunch staple - basically just a sausage sandwich. I think our inter-port student from Cape Town told us it was pronounced "Bo-ers wurs" … essentially "Boer's Wurst" … but someone else told me it was "brewers." Since the latter was easier to say, I went with that. Like all sausage, it's heavy and filling, but the seasoning made it seem a little special and certainly authentic.
Amanda was very pleased to hear Rick Astley playing on the muzak in the restaurant. By the way, I'm curious what the construction of the buildings atop Table Mountain must have been like. Or what it's like to go to work up there every day.
But, of course, the view was the reason to come, and it is genuinely breathtaking. Many of the mountain formations have names like "The Twelve Apostles" but I'm afraid I couldn't really see more than "a lot of cool rocks."
We followed trails around the mountain and got more amazing views. We also ran into many SAS people, some of whom had done the climb.
Sadly, we didn't see any of the dassies (pronounced "dussies"), the little rodentlike creatures that live there, which apparently are the closest relatives of the elephant on Earth … or maybe that's just a joke zoologists came up with.
Most visitors' guides tell you to see Table Mountain first thing in Cape Town. But it made a nice grand finale, too.