Today we finally redeemed our promise to take the children up Table Mountain this winter. Ever since the July holidays we have been waiting for the right day: clear weather, not too much wind and no other pressing obligations. With only one more week left of the Winter Special, whereby two children get to go free for each paying adult (a necessary condition of going as taking the whole family would otherwise cost the equivalent of half a week's groceries), we gritted our teeth and went for it.
At home it was cloudy, but a phonecall to my husband in Cape Town, whose studio looks out on Table Mountain, elicited the happy news that the mountain top was clear. We piled into the car with our friends, way over European safety regulations (but this is Africa after all) and with only minor squabbles and whinges over the squashed seating arrangements, an hour later we made it to the cable car station. A chill wind blew as we waited for the cable car, but excitement levels were high, so all the jumping up and down kept us warm. The fancy new cable cars, that rotate 360 degrees as you go up so everyone gets the whole view, bore us smoothly to the top. Once there it was warm with a mild breeze, slightly hazy and a sea of cloud over the ocean, wisping around beneath us. Perfect.
The smooth weathered rocks just begged to be clambered over and even distracted the kids, for a short while, from the prospect of exorbitantly priced ice cream. Once that ceremony had been disposed of, more rock clambering ensued. Plenty of opportunities for spotting lizards, sunbirds and other wildlife but the famous rock dassies were absent.
Really it is just one big adventure playground up there, but with the added thrill of knowing you musn't go too close to the edge, as there is a very real risk of tumbling precipitously back down the mountain.
Youngest, for a while, refused to believe that we were really on Table Mountain, as it wasn't completely flat. It was her first trip up since she was a baby, so she suspected that we were trying to pull her leg.
We only came back down a short while before closing, when the last cable car was announced. A real special treat on our doorstep and appreciated all the more for its rarity. When the kids are slightly older we'll be able to walk up with them - an hour and a half for the quick ones up steep steps and rocky paths, then the ice creams will really have been earned!