To the young woman who I took a picture of in front of this sunset, I hope you found what you were looking for.
Two minutes before I took this photo, the lady was by herself taking a selfie I asked, “Would you like me to take your picture for you?” She smiled and said that it would be great. I took several photos from different angles and gave her camera back to her. She looked at the photos, smiled and said “Thank you”.
I don’t know where she’s from, what country she hails from or her background, but I figured she needed a little help. I’ll never see her again, but I think I took a picture she would like to be remembered by.
In other words, fuck your selfie stick. Ask a stranger to take your photo instead.
And that’s one of the reason I travel. I read a lot of travel journalism, and the majority of it is about what they take away from travel. I’m sort of the opposite — what did I leave behind that I made somebody’s experience a little better, whether it be a solo traveler, a group, a waiter/waitress or some local group of friends that I happen to come across? Yeah, I get something out or it but I hope I leave something behind.
Table Mountain has that affect on those who visit. Everyone has a similar reaction, “Am I really here? Does this really exist? Was it that easy to get up here?” Yes, yes and yes.
For the cost of a movie on opening night (240ZAR or $17US round trip), you can experience something beyond your comprehension. I encourage you to go during sunset. Just look up when sunset is, I went Sunday and it was 7:07pm. I timed my arrival at 6pm. There’s no line and no waiting to get up even though it is the beginning of summer high season here.
It takes 2 1/2 hours to hike up to the top or 90 seconds to take the cable car. Choose your path.
Take into consideration a little common sense. You’re going about a mile above sea level. The air will be thin. It may be very warm down there, but very cold and windy up there. If you suffer from shortness of breathe, don’t spend too long up there. If you been walking or biking the city all day, it will zap all your energy because of the thin air.
In any event, mark off three hours minimum for Table Mountain, starting with an Uber/Taxi or bus to get to the base. There’s a lot to explore up there.
Sunday here was a milder day than usual, cloudy in the mid-60F. Today’s high was 88F, which is the norm in the summer. Thus, it was a lot clouds rolling along the mountain, which made the experience of being there surreal. Sure, the clouds made it hard to see the city below, but to be among the clouds as it rolled over the mountain is an amazing site.
As guides and locals will tell you, it is a National Park and they will shut down if they feel the winds are too high. 8:30pm is the standard for the last car down. They will instruct you that if you hear a siren, that means to start making your way to the cable car because the winds will be too much for you.
I got that message load a clear and the last car when I visited was moved up to 7pm. If you miss it, have fun walking 2 1/2 hours down. Yup, it was rather windy and pretty cold. My hat flew off my head, so it’s best to keep everything on you on lockdown.