Monday 22 September Cape Town – Sunny 30° C

We both had the best night’s sleep since we arrived in South Africa – from about 11.15 last night until 6.00am.

After a lovely breakfast, we met our fellow APT travellers in the foyer and Delia told us that we were very lucky because the weather was clear and we would be able to go up Table Mountain.

We met our Coach Driver, Nando, who will be with us until we get to Port Elizabeth. Nando drove us through the Downtown area of Cape Town, to the base station of the Table Mountain Cableway, while Delia gave us a history of Cape Town

We rode the Table Mountain Cableway to the top of Table Mountain – the cable cars are hi-tech and the floor rotated around so that everyone got a view. The cableway took us from the lower cable station about 302 m above sea level, to the plateau at the top of the mountain, 1086m. It travelled at 10m per second, which was pretty fast. When the mountain is wrapped in cloud or mist, this is called the tablecloth. Today, the weather was perfect – sunny and clear and so we had the most amazing views from the Cable car.

Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town. It is a popular tourist attraction, with many visitors using the cableway or hiking to the top – we saw some people climbing up a very narrow path. The mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park. The view from the top of Table Mountain has been described as one of the most epic views in Africa. We overlooked Cape Town, Table Bay and Robben Island to the north and the Atlantic seaboard to the west and south. Table Mountain is a World Heritage Site and is the natural home to fynbos, a unique, endangered collection of shrubs and plants.

We went for a walk along the top, taking in the amazing views as well as the beautiful fynbos growing among the rocks. We also saw a Rock Dassie, which is a little furry creature that looks like a cross between a rabbit and a guinea pig. Interestingly, the Dassie has “built in sunglasses” allowing it to look directly at the sun to help it to escape from Hawks and Eagles.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Table Mountain with its spectacular views!

We returned to town and visited District Six Museum, which is in the former inner-city residential area, District Six. The museum was founded in 1994 as a memorial to the forced movement of 60,000 inhabitants of various races in District Six during Apartheid in South Africa. The government took the houses, the land and livelihood from everyone who was not pure European. And they were forced to relocate. In 1968, the first demolitions occurred and the name was changed to Zonnebloem. After Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and made President in 1994, he gave the District back to the people. District 6 Beneficiary Trust was formed in 1997 to co-ordinate the process of restitution and redevelopment of District 6.

The floor of the museum is covered with a big map of District 6 with hand written notes from former inhabitants that indicates where their houses were located then. We also saw a display of old street signs and a big “Name Cloth” which began in 1992 and has had the names and messages embroidered to save them. A very sad story.

Nando drove us through town on our way back to our hotel to have a quick lunch and get ready for our afternoon Freedom of Choice activities.

We chose to go to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, which is said to be the most beautiful in Africa and is claimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world. We were impressed with the size of Kirstenbosch, set against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain

Kirstenbosch was established in 1913 and was the first botanic garden in the world to be devoted to a country’s indigenous flora. Kirstenbosch displays a wide variety of the unique plant life of the Cape Flora, also known as Fynbos, as well as plants from all the different regions of southern Africa.

The 36 hectare garden is part of a 528 hectare estate which has over 7,000 species, including many rare and threatened species.

Terrence, our guide, took us up a hill to the top of the gardens to the Treetop Walk, which is quite new. It is made from curved steel and timber and winds its way through and over the trees. It is called the “Boomslang”, which means tree snake.

We enjoyed seeing all the beautiful African plants and flowers, especially the King Protea, the “King of the Fynbos”. While we were exploring the gardens, an Egyptian Goose, which is actually an African Duck, and her three babies wandered past. We saw a Breede River Yellowwood tree that was hit by lightning and fell over but continued to grow in two segments.

After a wonderful, but hot afternoon, we were returned to our hotel to get ready for our special dinner this evening.

Tonight, we were taken to an African restaurant, Gold, where we joined an African drumming session – each of us had an African drum that we held between our knees and played the simple patterns, There were about 100 people at the restaurant and we made lots of noise and had so much fun! We sampled various tradition Cape Malay food while chatting to our fellow APT travellers and listening to the African entertainers, who sang and danced between the tables. After a wonderful and unusual night, we were returned to our hotel, where we fell into bed, exhausted but delighted.

2 Responses to “Monday 22 September Cape Town – Sunny 30° C”

  1. Liana says:

    Glad you had OK enough weather for the Table Mountain experience. What do you think of CT as such? Enjoy the next leg of your trip – will definitely have a look again tomorrow!xx

  2. sandy says:

    Liana, we absolutely loved Cape Town – it was so hard to cull the photos as we had taken SO many!! Table Mountain was wonderful yesterday and the Cape Peninsula was stunning today – so beautiful.

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