South Africa: The Climb Up Table Mountain

Friday, December 7
Mzansi Super League Cricket
PPC Newlands Cricket Ground

One does not forget their first live cricket match, especially with this backdrop. At about three hours, it’s a short match. I’m told we’re rooting for the Cape Town Blitz and they win it handedly. I feel like I’m just getting the hang of it – ends, runs, wickets, the bowler – as the match comes to a close. Somehow I missed taking a picture of the shirtless, painted in green rugby man, who is vocally making a spectacle of himself and advertising the game for the next day.

Saturday, December 8
The Wine Tour

Root 44 for breakfast and shopping.
Hidden Valley for wine tasting nestled in the Stellenbosch Wine Region.
Constantia Region for a birthday party.

Sunday, December 9
Platteklip Gorge
Table Mountain
Skeleton Gorge
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
6 Miles
My fitbit says 31,289 steps and 13.67 miles for the day.

No trip to the Cape is complete without using ones human power to drag their body up the flanks of Table Mountain. Luckily I have my own personal tour guide and Cherub knows just the right route in order to torture me. No, I’m just kidding. There is only one way up and no matter the route, it’s straight up. Nature’s perfect stairmaster!

We depart from the Platteklip Gorge and I huff and puff my way up the steep rock face. It’s dotted with beautiful flowers and the weekend masses are out. As we approach the top, it’s cloudy and cold as the the wind rips through the gorge. In case you’re looking for your newest challenge, try running up and down the Platteklip Gorge in some 9 minutes and change. It only took me two hours to go one way.

Once atop the Table, we have relatively flat trail to Maclear’s Beacon. Where it is most certainly not clear and we take the selfie regardless. Cherub brings South African snacks and they are indeed a sweet treat. Maclear’s Beacon is the high point on Table Mountain at 1085m or 3559 ft. And then it’s down and more down. And when my leg muscles scream no more, there’s more down. The descent into Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden goes in stages. First the rock steps, then the ladders and then more rock steps.

I hobble into the spectacular Kirstenbosch where I could certainly spend days wandering around. We’re here for Cherub’s friends birthday party and it’s a place where people gather for weekend picknics on the grass. Her friends are all so welcoming no matter which event she takes me to. A nearby family is letting their kids chase a mother duck and her two ducklings and a few people from our group speak up and say don’t chase the ducks. BTW, in case you are inept, it clearly states on the entry ticket not to chase the wildlife. Next thing we know, the mother while clutching her crying child, is yelling at us saying her child is only 3 and we should not be telling him no. She says imagine how he feels. And I’m thinking, imagine how the ducks feel. I check and apparently this is not normal Kirstenbosch happenings.

I grab a beer from the cafe and then meander the grounds. There’s an arial path through the trees which is pretty cool. Zillions of people are lined up aka in the queue for a concert that starts soon. If there had been tickets we would have gone to this concert too. But I’m grateful to head for home for a chill evening.

Monday, December 10
Table Mountain Cables
Two Oceans Aquarium
Cape Wheel

This is my week to travel the city sightseeing bus. I look outside at the weather and see that it’s crazy clear. No tablecloth atop Table Mountain!! So I Uber to the V&A Waterfront and catch the City route bus. I get off at the lower Table Mountain Cable and get in line. It’s an hour queue before I’m headed up the mountain. The cable rotates so you get a 360 view on the way up. I wander around for all the views. It’s crystal clear and there’s no wind so the views go on for days. I enjoy a slice of pizza and beer as I watch a woman work on her selfie for 10 minutes. I spend probably three hours up top before descending and rejoining the city tour route.

We zip along the coast and then back to the V&A Waterfront stop. It’s rush hour so I decide to kill some more time before heading home. I spend a peaceful hour in the Two Oceans Aquariums just before they close and then I find a marimba band rockin’ it on the waterfront. To the soundtrack of marimba music, I board the Cape Wheel and get some perfect sunset views of the Mother City and her harbor.

Tuesday, December 11
World of Birds
Camps Bay
Long Street

A hike up Table Mountain is not without its price. My muscles are still stiff and I’ve got a certain hiker hobble as my muscles strain to support me. I’m feeling so out of shape but Cherub admits to stiff muscles too so I feel a little bit better.

I Uber to the closest bus location which is Kirstenbosch. I take a peak in the gift shop and then ride the Peninsula Tour bus until the World of Birds. It’s always a challenge for me to see animals in captivity but these birds would otherwise be dead without the aid. It’s a spectacular meandering exhibit as the path enters cage after cage. The birds cross my path at free will and everytime one peacock starts to call they all join in. It’s not just birds. There’s marmosets, monkeys, meerkats, serval cats, goats, and turtles too.

I get back on the bus and stop in Camps Bay. I’m starving so I find a lunch spot with an ocean view. I sip gin and dry lemon while listening to the adjacent 23-year-old Australian talking about how she’s going to buy property here and in California. Maybe she’s just talking but maybe she’s not. Camps Bay if full of the richie riches.

I make my way to Long St. where I chill for a bit at a coffee shop. And then I walk the short distance to Tiger’s Milk on Kloof St. where I meet up with Soup Nazi, a fellow 2013 PCTer. We chat about the trail, beer, traffic, travel and all things South African.