I own no land, instead I have wheelestate. I’ve been a full time RVer since 1997. Working summers as a Park Ranger takes me to many beautiful places and playing during the winter takes me to many more. This blog is simply the story of my life's adventures.


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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Table Mountain

01 Sunrise across False Bay from Moonglow B&B Glen Cairn Cape Pennisula ZA pano (1024x280)

I got up very early at Moonglow B&B to visit Table Mountain and the drive was gorgeous. On World Environment day in 1998 President Nelson Mandela declared Table Mountain ‘a gift to the Earth.’

02 Clouds covering cable car portal on Table Mt NP Cape Peninsula ZA (1024x722)

The upper cableway portal towers 3563 feet (1086 m) above Cape Town and slipped in and out of the clouds. The clouds flowing over the mountain, known as the ‘Tablecloth’, form when moisture laden air is blown in from the sea and condenses over the mountain. The precipitation clings to plants and rocks filtering down through cracks and fissures resulting in springs and streams that replenish the water-table. Cape Town’s Khoi name, Camissa or ‘Place of Sweet Waters’ suggests the mountains vital role in providing pure fresh water along an arid coastline.

03 Complex for cable car ride up to Table Mt NP Cape Peninsula ZA (1024x767)

A power outage shut down all the computers and tickets couldn’t be sold for a while. So I wandered through some sales stalls hoping for a change.

04 Cableway mechanisms & generator Table Mt NP Cape Peninsula ZA (1024x756)  Then the generator was fired up but the cableways couldn’t carry their normal capacity of 65 and moved real slow.

05 Old cable car from Q for cableway Table Mt NP Cape Peninsula ZA (1024x682)

Officially opened to the public on October 4, 1929, the first cable car had a tin roof and wooden sides that carried 20 passengers.

06 Cableway going up to portal Table Mt NP Cape Peninsula ZA (730x1024)

The new revolving cars came into use 68 years later and carry 65 passengers at 800 people per hour. The car can carry a weight of 11464 lbs (5200 kg) and it usually travels a maximum of 32 feet (10 m) per second.

07 Lions Head, Signal Hill, Table Bay & Cape Town from Q at Table Mt NP Cape Peninsula ZA (1024x419)

Not so this day, so I waited 2 hours in the Queue enjoying the view.

08 Table Mt trailhead sign Table Mt NP Cape Peninsula ZA (933x1024) Maybe I should have hiked. In fact I later talked to a couple my age who hiked up in 2 hrs.

09 View SW to N Table Mt NP Cape Peninsula ZA pano (1024x380)

Finally got to board the cableway and go up where the clouds mostly blocked the, what should have been, spectacular views.

10 Cableways at top Table Mt Cape Peninsula ZA (791x1024)

I was totally amazed at the apparatus to move these cable ways. The length of the cables is 3937 feet (1200 m) each and they weigh a total of 18 tons. The cables are attached to counter weights each weighing 134 tons.

 11 Portal & cableway Table Mt NP Cape Peninsula ZA (1024x762)

The cableway is round for two reasons; for excellent aerodynamics in high winds and so the floor can rotate giving 360 degree panoramic views. When the wind does blow there’s a water tank below the floor of the cabin that keeps things steady. When there’s no wind, the tank is emptied at the upper station.

12 Relief map of southern Africa Table Mt NP Cape Peninsula ZA (1024x755)

This great relief map shows how far away major cities around the world are, Chicago 8490 miles (13663 km). Table Mountain National Park stretches from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south encompassing the seas and coastline of the peninsula. The narrow portion of land with its many beautiful valleys, bays and beaches is circled by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the warmer waters of False Bay in the east.

13 Both cableways Table Mt NP Cape Peninsula ZA (757x1024)

My views may not have been superb, but I’ll bet on a clear day you can see forever. Named in 1503 by Admiral Antonio de Saldana when he anchored his fleet in the bay and climbed the mountain naming it Taboa do Cabo – Table of the Cape. Yet long before the Europeans, the local Khoi people called the mountain ‘Hoerikwaggo’, The Mountain of the Sea.

14 Dasie Table Mt NP Cape Peninsula Za (1024x741)

I settled with observing the wildlife. These Rock Hyrax, or dassie, look like overgrown guinea pigs. Believe it or not, the dassie’s closest relative is the African elephant.

15 Cableway coming into upper portal Table Mt NP Cape Peninsula ZA (1024x768)

I too soon ran out of time trying to wait out the clouds and caught the cableway back down…

16 Going down in cable thru cloud Table Mt NP Cape Peninsula ZA (768x1024)

…through the Tablecloth.

17 Lower portal going down in cableway Table Mt NP Cape Peninsula ZA (1024x756)

After all, I still had to return to the Cape of Good Hope and see penguins on my last day in South Africa.


Diane said...

Your pulling at my heart strings again!!!!! Magic photographs. Diane

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

TWO HOURS!! My goodness!! But I was forgetting that it would have been school holidays by the time you got there so I am not surprised.

The Cape has never been a place I have gone too often, for one it is a VERY long drive from me and two, the region always seems to be misty and not my kind of weather at all.

You did really wonderful with this terrific post Gaelyn. I was lucky the last time I was there to have good weather.

Small City Scenes said...

Excellent, excellent post. Great pics and great info. 2hrs is an awful long wait but you surely were rewarded by the experience. I like the name 'the tablecloth' for the fog or clouds covering the mountain. MB

Pat said...

I think I would have hiked up, too. Cable cars or any small, high, enclosed space make me nervous. I'm still trying to figure out how the dassie is linked to the elephant!

This is a place I'd like to see.

Camels & Chocolate said...

We didn't see any wildlife, but I suppose that's because we didn't tackle the hike (not enough time). That little guy is cute! And I love the name Moonglow for a B&B.

blog with no name said...

Wow! I think I would have been freaking out by the time the cable car was half way there!

Beautiful views though!

Barb said...

Gosh - I almost get vertigo just looking at the photos! Beautiful scenery, and I love the photo you took coming through the tablecloth!

Zane said...

Ok - that photo sequence is so complete - it will save me the money and trouble to visit Table Mountain. I was last on the mountain as a child.

Lovely post.

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

What a grand experience, Gaelyn. Thanks for taking us along with you. One can NOT have a fear of heights on that journey, eh?

Janie said...

Interesting history and info on the importance of Table Mountain. Too bad the clouds blocked the view, but the misty look is impressive.
The cable car sounds like a point of interest in itself.

Al said...

Even without the best views, your pictures are simply spectacular! I'd love to visit that.

Carolyn said...

Gaelyn, this is such a wonderful post with so much info and great photos. I love tramways and this one is simply spectacular. Thanks for stopping by my blog and please forgive the keyboarding errors. My camera died and I borrowed another and I was late posting...I did not check it before publishing!!!
Have a nice week.

Firefly the Travel Guy said...

I love Table Mountain. When I go to Cape Town, the mountain is the first thing I look at and when I leave its the last thing I say goodbye to. Driving around town I always glance at it and when I haven't been there for a long time (like now), I actually miss it.

Garry Hayes said...

I share your frustration about the view and the clouds. I was in Switzerland and had what will probably be my one and only chance to take a similar tramway up Mt. Pilatus for a view of the Alps, and of course we disappeared into the clouds. Got a bit of a view after patiently waiting a while...

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Gaelyn: What a neat place to see, if I ever get there it is on my list.

A human kind of human said...

Did you know that only a few days before you posted this post, snow fell on Table Mountain, a very unusual occurrence.

Dawn Fine said...

Oh wow..that place is awesome!

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