Postcards from Table Mountain

At around 250 million years old, Table Mountain is older than the Andes and Himalayas. Sit back and enjoy its majesty, as award-winning travel writer, Jocelyn Pride, takes you there.

Image © Jocelyn Pride

From royalty to screen queens, sports heroes to rock stars, more people have walked on Table Mountain than the entire population of Australia. With a constellation (Mons Mensa) named in its honour and at more than 250 million years old, this majestic slab of rock has been around longer than the Andes and Himalayas.

Image © Jocelyn Pride

Towering more than 1000 metres over Cape Town, a ribbon of land that winds along the Atlantic Ocean, Nelson Mandela once described South Africa’s most recognised and photographed landmark as ‘A gift to the Earth’. And in 2011, it was named as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. What a gift.

Image © Jocelyn Pride

Over my five days exploring the ‘Mother City’, I often find myself gazing up at the mountain in a trance. It’s as if I’m getting to know a new friend. The way the ‘tablecloth’ of cloud rolls in, blanketing the mountain as I watch the last rays of sunlight dance across the tabletop or sheets of rain sliding down the sheer rocky face. 

Image © Jocelyn Pride

The day I ride the cable car to the top is a stroke of perfection. Windless, cloudless, boundless. Trails meander throughout the boulders, vistas on all sides sweeping to the Cape of Good Hope somewhere in the distance.

Image © Jocelyn Pride

Sunbirds and red-winged starlings chatter and chirp as they dart in and out of more than 2200 species of plants (many endemics). The elephant’s closest relative, the Dassie (a badger-like creature) magically squeezes through rock crevices and I feel the energy of a mountain that stands as a sentinel to South Africa’s history.

Image © Jocelyn Pride

As I look out towards Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, I think of his speech on World Environment Day in 1998 – ‘Table Mountain belongs to all of us’.

What a man. What a mountain.

Image © Jocelyn Pride

Five tips for heading up the mountain:

  • if it’s a clear day, don’t hesitate, just do it
  • take a hat, plenty of sunscreen and a jacket
  • be prepared to queue (especially on the way down)
  • if you decide to hike, hire a local guide
  • there’s a café and gift shop at the top, but you may like to take your own water and snacks.
 

Image © Jocelyn Pride 

Related articles:
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The ultimate bucket list
A normal day in Africa

 

Jocelyn Pride is a multi-award-winning freelance writer and photographer. Her stories and images are published in various Australian and international print and online magazines. When she’s not travelling, Jocelyn enjoys cooking, keeping fit, watching movies and looking after other people’s dogs.

Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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