A trip of a lifetime

Climbing Table Mountain

The moment had arrived! After one entire week waiting for the perennial cloud on top of Table Mountain to go away, the wonderful and clear sky of Friday, the 21st of October, 2011 was challenging me to try to reach it!

Sunset from Table Mountain

Sunset from Table Mountain

Unfortunately before that, I had to spend half of the morning walking around Cape Town putting ads at the backpacker’s trying to find people to rent a car to Namibia, since everyone I’d met had told me that public transport in Namibia was inexistent and that the car was my only option. So against my first impulses of thinking that I could go across the country by hitchhiking, I surrendered to the idea that I was going to need a bit of commitment. And I’m glad I did it, because they were right! There was no public transport and in some places you can’t see any cars for an hour or more.

But back to the mountain story. After ‘working’ in the companions’ search, I met a capetownian couchsurfer and a German girl and travelled in the back of a pick-up truck (or bakkie as they call them in South Africa) on my way to the gorgeous mountain.

Lion’s Head from Table Mountain

Lion’s Head from Table Mountain

This capetownian mountain goat, Patrick, didn’t take us up the mountain by the normal route, but by the difficult climbing route, known as the India Venster (‘India window’ in Afrikaans and Dutch). The route passes along an area called the India Ravine, which has this name because it resembles the shape of India when it’s viewed from below.

So after passing some warning signs saying “extremely dangerous route with steep rock climbing and difficult navigation”, we started our way up and after a long and steep hill we got to the climbing part. And I enjoyed it a lot! I discovered that the more difficult it was the more fun I had, and I wasn’t bad at it! I was a goat too and I loved it!

Climbing the India Venster

Climbing the India Venster

We continued climbing up until half way, where Patrick told us that we could take a detour along the precipice to enter some cracks on the main mountain wall. The German girl didn’t like the idea of establishing October 21st 2011 as the date of her decease, so she waited on us and ate some snacks, much less risky (from her point of view, because she could have choked on an olive bone and nobody would have been there to save her).

One of the smallest cracks

One of the smallest cracks

Inside the cracks

Inside the cracks

And there we went, along the precipice with a wonderful view of Cape Town and on a beautiful, sunny day. The rocks that were falling down while we walked couldn’t cloud the happiness I was feeling. After a while we arrived to the crack in the wall and crawled inside. The sensation of being inside the mountain was amazing. Peace and quietness surrounded us, we could feel the breath of the mountain, and she was talking to us. I enjoyed every second of this experience. Then we went back to retrieve our hiking companion; she was still alive and happy! So we continued to alternate hiking with climbing, and eventually we arrived at the top of Table Mountain.

View from the top

View from the top

The summit welcomed us with astonishing views, which we enjoyed while devouring our sandwiches. We walked along the summit, and it definitely lives up to its name, because it’s an enormous and absolutely flat table. We had to share it with the high number of tourists that were coming up the cable car, because whether you like it or not, it’s one of the city’s tourist attractions.

Warning about the India Venster

Warning about the India Venster

Since we watched a bit of the sunset from the top, we went down when it was getting dark, and got to the bottom at night. Luckily our guide had a flashlight! But being lit by the city lights as we walked down was a great experience.

And that was the end of my love relationship with a mountain, but I’m sure someday I’ll hike it up again, and of course I’ll take the same route!!

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