The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is closing down from the 22nd July till the 25th August; it’s longest closure for many years. Urgent replacement work is needed as well as seasonal repairs. So, no getting to the top by the cable car.
In your humble writer’s view, this is a blessing in disguise as it an opportunity to hike up the many paths which lead to the summit. My favourite, which I have made several times with my children is via Skeleton Gorge.
Driving to the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens, you leave your car in the parking. Almost immediately, you start to ascend the gorge made famous by the walking habits of Jan Smuts and which is almost entirely covered by a canopy of indigenous shrubs and trees. This canopy is a godsend in summer as it gives you much respite from the intense heat and moments to sit down in shade. The ascent will take an averagely fit person about 2 hours and then a further 2.5 hours to reach the cable car station from which you can hike down.
After the shade of Skeleton Gorge, vistas open up and you spend almost as much time looking at the sublime views as you do concentrating on your walk.
Talking of climbing, figures recently released confirm record numbers of visitors and tourists to Cape Town. The seasonally good weather always helps but a convergence of good news is promoting Cape Town internationally. In no particular order: the designation of Cape Town as world design capital in 2014, its inclusion as one of the 7 natural wonders of the world as well as an acceleration of sporting, conferencing and business events. More international artists are touring in the mother city with Justin Bieber, Rodrigues and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers all appearing in the next month. The international Cape Town 10s rugby tournament in February and the largest mass participation bicycle race in the world, the Cape Argus in March are just some of the sporting highlights.
We who live here always knew that Cape Town was special but it was our private secret. It seems that the secret is well and truly out. Rock on 2013.
Nicolas Edwards (Climbing Table Mountain)
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