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britman Table Mountain - A travel report by Brit
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Table Mountain,  South Africa - flag South Africa
7021 readers

britman's travel reports

Table Mountain – Cape Town

  29 votes
Page: 1 2
Table Mountain is undoubtedly one of the world’s most imposing and dramatic single mountains. Its spectacular contour embraces a 3km plateau summit resembling a table top. This gigantic sandstone backdrop dominates the South African city of Cape Town


Table Mountain reaches its highest point of 1086 metres at Maclear’s Beacon, (named after the one time Astronomer Royal, Sir T. Maclear). It is not its sheer height that is impressive but its towering form, as it rises so directly from the ocean. Its perspective is best viewed when approaching Cape Town from the sea where it is visible from 150km away

As you navigate the Cape of Good Hope, where the wild cold Atlantic Ocean meets the warm Indian Ocean, you round the treacherous granite promontory of Cape Point on your starboard side. Suddenly, directly in front of you, is a huge instantly recognisable shape, dominating the distant skyline. All adjectives are lost in describing its sheer mass, its breathtaking towering shape, its beauty accentuated by a wispy tablecloth of white cloud draping itself over its edges. Climatologists will tell you that this phenomenon is known as “orographic condensation”. Gradually, as you sail nearer to the mountain you notice tiny Cape Town, nestling at its feet. Slowly, the cities dwarf-like skyscrapers get larger as you cruise nearer. The closer that you get to the shore, the bigger Cape Town appears. You then realise that it is a large city, indeed over one million people live there but, all those thoughts are overwhelmed by the sheer size and enormity of Table Mountain.

To the west of Table Mountain across Table Bay lies Robben Island, the former prison colony once the home of Nelson Mandela. To the East is the unmistakable Lion Head and spectacular Devils Peak.

Climbers have discovered and recorded over 350 different ways of climbing to the summit of this mountain. Several climbing deaths occur each year, so the sensible alternative can be gleaned from http://www.tablemountain.net whose relative encyclopaedic website includes all the information on this remarkable mountain and how to reach its summit, including my option – the easy way - by cable car!

Favourite spots:
Getting closer to this fantastic mountain you appreciate its sheer size
Getting closer to this fantastic mountain you appreciate its sheer size
Table Mountain literally has dominated the city in every way from its first beginnings, influencing its planning, development and layout; and its climate. It certainly provides the most spectacular setting for one of the world’s major cities. Cape Town is Table Mountain. Cape Town really is a most impressive city to spend a few days in. Everyone seems to enjoy time spent here. Restaurants are excellent, shopping is easy, nightlife good, transport efficient and to cap it all the favourable exchange rate of the Rand to a whole basket of currencies is excellent. So all in all inexpensive once you get here! Don’t miss the cable car to the summit, and take in the 360 degree views over the plateau rooftop of the Mountain - well worth any cable car waits. Make sure that you make two side trips that will not disappoint:- The Cape Peninsular and Table Mountain National Park. Stellenbosch and Paarl are the nearby wine route towns - noted for their vineyards and wineries.

What's really great:
Hout Bay one of Cape Towns expensive suburbs
Hout Bay one of Cape Towns expensive suburbs
The 60 km scenic journey through the Table Mountain National Park mountain chain from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south. (see http://www.cpnp.co.z-a/). The Hout Bay suburb is halfway down that peninsula and is an impressive area with some excellent eateries for lunch. Cape Point is fascinating with dramatic coastal scenery and an overview of the Cape of Good Hope. An easy and memorable day trip from Cape Town is taking the wine routes around Paarl and Stellenbosch (the beautifully preserved second oldest town in South Africa, with splendid Cape Dutch homesteads, don’t miss Dorp Street). If there is time do visit quaint Franschhoek. Most wineries are open to the public and you can sample a glass (or two) and buy by the bottle or case for a fraction of the price charged in your local wine shop back home. They will even ship to your own country too.

Sights:
The whole panorama is dominated by Table Mountain towering above the city of Cape Town
The whole panorama is dominated by Table Mountain towering above the city of Cape Town
With a network of over 550 walks covering Table Mountain there is plenty of walking that you can enjoy. Be aware that the cable car doesn’t run in high winds. So if you are only in Cape Town for a few days make this trip a priority as soon as you can.

Robben Island (www.robben-island.org.za). This former prison is where Nelson Mandela spent years incarcerated. It was recently made a World Heritage Size – boats leave from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront itself has numerous attractions including bars, cafes, cinema hotels, markets, Maritime Museum and Aquarium, restaurants, shops together with the tourist information office and boat cruise ticketing

Accommodations:
My Bread & Breakfast  Accommodation
My Bread & Breakfast Accommodation
Cape Town has some fine addresses with great views of Table Mountain in which to stay:-
o The Mount Nelson Hotel is the classiest and most expensive at 76 Orange Street, Cape Town www.mountnelsonhotel.orient-express.com
o The Lucky Hand see their website for the view and details www.tuarex.net/theluckyhand
o Arabella Sheraton Grand Hotel on the Waterfront has 480+ rooms.
o Blue Sky (Bed & Breakfast) 14 Rugby Road, Oranjezicht, Cape Town www.bluesky-bb.co.za
o Back packers will find that The Globetrotter is good for Budget Accommodation at 17 Queens Road, Sea Point Telephone - (021) 4341539 no website.

Nightlife:
Lions Head and Devils Peak are clearly visible from this angle
Lions Head and Devils Peak are clearly visible from this angle
After dark Cape Town comes alive with numerous music-pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, discos, and wine-bars all vying for your business. The Waterfront development has rejuvenated Cape Town’s downtown and its nightlife. Camps Bay, Sea Point, and lower Cape Town are also busy clubbing areas. Night owls take a look at the website that the locals use http://www.clubbersguide.co.za/

The Waterfront’s – “Green Dolphin” is one of Cape Town's leading jazz venues.

“La Med” on Clifton 4th Beach, is a favourite Sunday night venue.

Many Capetonians however abandon the city and head for the suburbs in the evenings

Hangouts:
Excellent views from
Excellent views from "Le Petite Ferme" restaurant down the Franshhoek Valley
Pubs abound throughout South Africa, most are excellent inexpensive sources for food and drink. In Cape Town I recommend two historical pubs with atmosphere:-

o The Fireman's Arms:- Is a busy pub in the city centre at the junction of Buitengracht & Mechau Street. Pub dates to 1906 has good cheap pub lunches. Telephone 021-4191513.

o Forrester's Arms Pub, 51 Newlands Avenue, Newlands. Another historical pub with a good carvery on Sunday lunchtimes. Telephone 021-6895949.

Restaurants:
Bobotie is one of the most authentic S.African dishes - try it yourself with this recipe.
Bobotie is one of the most authentic S.African dishes - try it yourself with this recipe.
South African food is based upon the western palate and the quality is usually exceptional. Similarly, its wines are amongst the best in the world and of course very inexpensive by international standards.

The Waterfront is the modern city centre dockside development which offers many varied walk in restaurant choices, just browse and choose from the vast array.

For restaurants in and around Cape Town try these websites:-
http://www.eating-out.co.za/
http://cape.town.diningguide.net/

My recommendations:-
1. Jonkershuis, Groot Constantia Estate, Main Rd., Constantia; this restaurant in the house attached to the winery is excellent.

2. Au Jardin Restaurant at the Vineyard Hotel, Newlands, Western Cape, Cape Town is recommended.

3. Franschhoek considered to be the gourmet capital of the Cape has one of the most outstanding restaurants around - “La Petite Ferme” See the recipe for Bobotie a traditional South African dish in my photograph.

Other recommendations:
South Atlantic Sunset taken from the coast off South Africa
South Atlantic Sunset taken from the coast off South Africa
**If any member wants a printed copy of the Bobotie recipe above just email me asking for it**

Travel information:

Climate: - Mediterranean type with mild wet winters and warm, dry summers.

Visas:- Most passport holders need visas to get into South Africa. Check on http://home-affairs.pwv.gov.za/visas.asp-. Upon arrival, you must be able to prove that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay. You must also have a valid return ticket.

Time Difference: - GMT+2 hours

Exchange Rate: - Cash machines abound. 1£ =10.86 Rand 1 $ =5.63 1€ = 7.60
Language: - English and Afrikaans are the languages spoken

Useful web sites:-
http://www.cape-town.org
http://www.travelrack.co.za/
http://capetown.gopassport.com/


Published on Thursday December 23th, 2004


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Wed, Mar 22 2006 - 11:02 AM rating by sajjanka

nice

Thu, May 19 2005 - 04:54 AM rating by ardelia

Great report...excellent, very informative..

Sat, Apr 02 2005 - 05:09 PM rating by yellow_daisy

Very interesting!
Great report -- thanks Brit for sharing.
Daisy

Fri, Dec 31 2004 - 02:59 AM rating by fieryfox

Wow Britman! This is just an excellent report. I enjoyed it so much. This mountain just made it to one of my top visit list! I was eyeing Mt. Kinabalu in Sabah first LOL. Thanks for sharing the experience. Good Luck for the mountain report contest. I think you might take home that red backpack.. Cheers. Farizan

Tue, Dec 28 2004 - 02:58 AM rating by mistybleu

Britman
Great report, with useful information. I've never been to Africa, but Cape Town sounds like such a fantastic place, I must visit there. It's scheduled for 2006 but reading your report has me researching my trip now.

Sun, Dec 26 2004 - 08:36 AM rating by rangutan

Superb description of one of my favorite mountains. You have set the quality for reports very high which should not discourage us to do the same, rather suggests we take more time and patience in preparing reports, attracting more members and web-surfers to GLOBO and making the quality here top international standard!

Sat, Dec 25 2004 - 02:43 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

first of merry cristmas to you and wish a a new year 2005 too.
well as i told you before ur name itself is enough for me to rate the report ,excellent work nicely written.
ravi

Fri, Dec 24 2004 - 02:59 PM rating by magsalex

Another wonderful report!

Fri, Dec 24 2004 - 03:58 AM rating by esfahani

excelent ... I do not need a guidebook anymore!!!
wish you a merry christmas, again.
Regards from Frankfurt
Ralph

Fri, Dec 24 2004 - 01:57 AM rating by gloriajames

Aint no mountains high enough (mmm... u make me remember this song!) BM u have done it again!.. Bravo.. we are not worthy! jejejejje.... Well written and very enticing report...Another 5*

Thu, Dec 23 2004 - 09:53 PM rating by picasso

Dear Brit i had enjoyd as allways reading your outstanding report.After reading,I just wanted to get packed and follow your steps as soon as possible,but................. .*****

Best wishes and a lot of exloration.

Boris

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