13 is a Wonderful Number
One sunny Saturday we eagerly boarded Cape Town’s ever reliable City Sightseeing bus and were whisked away on the popular red route tour. While there are many fantastic stops on the red bus tour, we had boarded the bus this time around, with our eyes locked on the object of our affection. Ok, well she’s not quite an object. She’s more of a global celebrity that leaves onlookers in awe of her magnificence. However, sometimes when she needs a break from all the attention, she clothes herself in a cloak of cloudy mystique, leaving her fans in wishful expectation of her next appearance. She’s the Mother City’s darling and on a global scale she has achieved “Wonder” status. I’m sure you need no further clues on figuring out what I am referring to. Yes, the object of our affection was breathtaking Table Mountain.
Seated on the top floor of the double-decker bus, we relaxed as it meandered through the streets of Cape Town past popular stops on the route, like the stately St. Georges Cathedral, Bus Stop 5 where Archbishop Desmond Tutu has often spoken, the South African Museum, Bus Stop 6 a hub of heritage, art and culture and the oldest building in South Africa viz. The Castle of Good Hope, Stop 10. The presence of Table Mountain is so commanding from the city centre that no matter where one casts one’s eyes, it’s hard to do so without catching glimpses of this 7th Wonder of Nature.
A good friend of mine and her bubbly son had joined me on this trip and having never been up to Table Mountain, their excitement was tangible. With his ears plugged into the highly entertaining kiddies channel, his contagious laughter peppered our journey up to Bus Stop 13: Table Mountain. He unplugged occasionally only to share his new found information from the channel and to ask time after time when we would be going up the cable car. Feeling a bit left out in the laughter department, I too changed over to the kiddies channel (when no one was watching me, of course) and my funny bone too was tickled. It’s just as informative as the adults channel but with a large dose of comedy and banter. I loved it and stayed tuned for the rest of the journey.
After the drive up steep Kloof Street, we turned left up Table Mountain road and enjoyed glorious views of the city bowl and the Cape Town harbour. The winding road up to the mountain heightens one’s sense of adventure and our little tourist loved every minute of it. However, we had to spend a bit of time on our way up, explaining to him that there weren’t lions in the area and that Lions Head was just a mountain. He wasn’t easily convinced but the kiddies channel was a perfect babysitter and soon his attention was on something else.
We had decided on going up Table Mountain to watch the sunset, so we didn’t disembark at Table Mountain at this stage, but stayed on the bus. We had asked a friend to pick us up from Table Mountain at 8.30pm and so we continued on the journey enjoying the amazing views. A few minutes later the bus made her grand entrance on the buzzing Camps Bay strip and my friend and her son posed for many photo shots on board the bus.
The scenic ride back to the V&A waterfront was breathtaking as always, but we still had to accomplish our mission: sunset on Table Mountain. They say “out of sight, out of mind” but in this case that didn’t apply at all and we just couldn’t wait to go up in the cable car. Our little traveller had learnt a lesson in delayed gratification and by the time we had returned to Bus Stop 13 Table Mountain, he had transformed into a superhero and flew down the stairs and out of the bus.
Our tickets had been purchased online, so we could cut the purchase queue and advance straight to the cable car line. We were so happy that we had our tickets, as the sunset special crowd had gathered and were waiting for the clock to strike 6pm, so that they could take advantage of the half-price special. We posed for the Table Mountain photographer, who would by the end of our experience have magically produced a full photo package for only R 150, with our photo transposed onto many scenic Table Mountain backgrounds. Up the lift, tickets scanned then through the mini boom gate to await the next cable cars return. My friend’s son was first in the line and could barely contain himself. He and his mum were about to embark on their maiden cable car voyage.
A few minutes later and we were in the cable car, rotating and taking in awe inspiring 360° views of the city beyond and the rugged mountain landscape below. My guests were thrilled as they enjoyed the magnificent scenery and our 5 year old traveller was filled with excited babblings of all his sightings. After the car docked at the top station we explored Table Mountain and took many gorgeous shots. We then found a spot (the perfect picnic opportunity) and joined people from far and wide to watch the glorious sun set. The skies changing hues, of gorgeous amber yellows and pinks, were superb and the waxing moons entrance completed the perfect picture. We explored further and had to keep up with my friend’s son who was energised by the whole experience.
A tourist we passed as we walked around summed up our experience on Table Mountain, as she remarked, “At every turn there is another out-of-this-world photo opportunity. My poor camera can’t keep up. Every time I think I’m done, I see something else that absolutely deserves another photo.” Our thoughts exactly! And so we ended our evening at Stop 13, on top of glorious Table Mountain; a spectacular setting that left us refreshed, rejuvenated and inspired by the beauty of nature. So in my Cape Town books, 13 is a wonderful number, for its where one is transported from the dust of the earth to a transcendent place of wonder, atop Table Mountain!
Buy your tickets here:
• Online at www.citysightseeing.co.za
Adults R110 (offline price R140), Kids (5-15 years) R70, Kids under 5 free.
• On the bus
• At out Ticket Office, outside the Two Oceans Aquarium: Bus Stop 1
I’m a fun loving, adventure seeking young lady with a zest for life that lives in the beautiful city of Cape Town. I have a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Tourism Management from UCT. I have had the good fortune of travelling and working internationally on a global secondment programme for a large corporate and have had many amazing travelling experiences. I also enjoy travelling locally in our beautiful country South Africa and have taken international students on many travelling experiences across South Africa. I love hiking, most outdoor activities, reading, developing people and especially writing. I believe in the power of taking the road less travelled and in the power of pursuing a purpose filled life.