Arrival into South Africa

December 29, 2007 - Cape Town, South Africa

We arrived in Cape Town at 8:30pm local time on December 29, 2007.  This ended a 30-hour journey that started in Toronto with stopovers in Washington and Jo'Burg. Even though Big Blue (hostel) in GreenPoint was not our first choice (as the holidays are the busiest season for Cape Town), we were happy to check in and get settled for good night's sleep, especially Dave who hadn't slept at all the night before due to overdosing on Cold FX.

The next day Namita and I took a short walk to the V&A Waterfront with the hopes to purchase tickets for the Robben Island ferry and tour.   Cape Town's Watefront is the most developed I've ever seen. The area reminded me of a small Whistler village but on the water. It contains shops, restaurants, malls, residences and hotels. Namita thought it was cool that one of the scenes from Blood Diamond was shot there.  We weren't able to get tickets to Robben Island as they were sold out until Jan 10th (again, busy season), however, by booking an independent tour we were able to secure tickets to visit the island.

That afternoon we headed out to hike the flat-topped Table Moutain. This moutain can be seen from almost anywhere in Cape Town as the city wraps around it's base. Table Mountain is part of Table Mountain National Park which covers three quarters of the peninsula - from Cape Town to Cape Point. Our Taxi dropped us off at the bottom of the Cableway. There are many trails to the top of the mountain and we decided to take the shortest route which was up the face of the mountain. So, Namita and I began the one kilometer walk down the road to the trail head. It was a very hot day, unusually hot for Cape Town and very hot for us who had left snow two days earlier. Namita already had her doubts as we started up the steep trail. After about a tenth of the way up, Namita was not feeling well and felt that she wouldn't be able to make the journey to the top so she turned around, hiked down and walked back to the cableway. I was beginning to have my own doubts at this point but wanted to carry on for at least awhile more.   We definitely weren't acclimatized.

The hike got progressively harder and I was really feeling the heat. If I had any idea of the true distance and difficulty I would have turned around several times. After almost an hour I came across an older South African man who appeared to be guiding two young guys from Vancouver. They were on their descent and were taking a rest at the time. The man told me that although I had travelled about half the distance the second half would take me twice as long because it was about to get much steeper. This was not encouraging news at this point in the hike, however, turning back at this point didn't seem to be much of an option.  I had also just entered the shade of the mountain giving me a break from the sun and I could now see the top.  The last section of the climb was very steep and at this stage of the hike my rests lasted about as long as my walks between them. In my final rest before reaching the top a family walked by me. The young boy was the last to pass. As he approached he said hello and told me his name was Josh. I asked how the hike had been. He said "good, but hard". He then stopped and asked if I wanted his walking stick. I thanked him but said no. My body language must have been showing how hot and tired I was because as Josh got a few steps further he turned around and said "are you sure?". I really didn't need any more humbling at this point in the hike but young Josh just served up another helping. I was completely exhausted when I reached the top. It took me just under 2 hours but a great way to break in my new sport sandals that I had just purchased and weren't fitting so well.  The view from the top of Table Mountain was spectacular. I was hoping to find Namita at the peak but she had decided not to take the cableway ride up.

We made our way back to our hotel, Cape Diamond, where we cleaned up and headed out to Long Street for dinner. We walked along the busy street known for its restaurants, nightlife and hostels.  On our way back from dinner, we came across a festival which we checked out for a while before returing back to the hotel.  We were exhausted from the long day and were ready for a good night sleep. 



1 Comment

Soraya and MS:
January 18, 2008
Hey Guys. Wonderful pictures. Just looking at them I can smell and taste Cape Town and the Garden Route. Great to hear you are having a wonderful time!
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