Tag Archives: cable car

Cable Cars and Signal Hill Sightseeing in Cape Town (2017-05-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 24 AUG 2018

The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has for many years now offered a free adult ticket up the mountain on a South African citizen’s birthday – a deal which I’ve seldom made good on, but not necessarily for the lack of trying. It has far more to do with the fact that my birthday falls in the Cape Town winter season, meaning that weather conditions are almost never in my favour.

After a rare success in 2016, I once again tried my luck in 2017, however the strangely quiet cable car station should have been enough of a hint that the operation was shut for the morning, thanks to adverse conditions at the top of the mountain.

Not too daunted though, I instead altered my trip to that of even more of a local tourist, opting to go on a scenic drive (filled with photo stops) past the nearby kramat up on the ridge, even further up to Signal Hill, over Kloof Nek and down into Camps Bay, round the coast to Seapoint, lunch in the V&A Waterfront, and then ending it all off with a tour of the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum. Certainly a more than adequate replacement plan then.

Talking about the kramat, Cape Town is actually surrounded by a ‘holy circle’ of kramats – shrines of great Muslim spiritual leaders. There are about 20 recognised sites scattered throughout the peninsula, with two of these sites actually situated on Signal Hill – that of Tuan Kaape-ti-low at the Army Camp, and that of Sheikh Mohamed Hassen Ghaibie Shah on the ridge (the one that I pulled over at).

Continuing further up the road you will eventually reach Signal Hill, a great (car-accessible) location for viewing Table Mountain, Cape Town, its surrounds and the last vestiges of Peninsula Shale Renosterveld – particularly useful if you don’t feel like the strenuous walk that accompanies going up the likes of nearby Lion’s Head.

Driving down from Signal Hill towards Camps Bay, you’ll spot a couple of cannons overlooking Camps Bay along Kloof Nek road, originally placed there by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to defend the castle from attack via the wagon track which led from Camps Bay to the Castle via Kloof Nek. Yes, I did pull over and take a few photos. I can only imagine that Chantelle was very happy not to be tagging along with me for the day!

As for Camps Bay itself, as always it is breathtakingly beautiful (when not overrun with sun-seeking beach goers), and the public art installations along the beach makes for a nice distraction while stretching one’s legs.

The remainder of the drive takes you around the rest of the rich, beautiful (seemingly always under construction) Atlantic Seaboard towards Green Point, and because I like stopping to take pictures, I inevitably stopped along the Seapoint promenade to get my first ever glimpse of the once relatively controversial Michael Elion’s “Perceiving Freedom” public sculpture/Ray-Ban advert.

I didn’t really mind it all that much to be honest.

As for the rest of my day NOT walking about on top of Table Mountain? It was pretty pleasant.

Related Link: Table Mountain Aerial Cableway | Signal Hill | Camps Bay

Table Mountain Cableway Birthday Trip (2016-05-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 14 MAY 2016

The popular Table Mountain Aerial Cableway company gives South Africans a free cable car ride on their birthday, and although I’ve unsuccessfully tried to take advantage of the offer before in the past, this was the first year where I’ve finally been able to go up the mountain on my birthday – and what a great trip it was!

IMG_20160511_120025 craig lotter grinning like an idiot on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Traditionally, Touchwork gives us the day off on our birthday, and so roping Chantelle along (she was working an afternoon shift on the day), we dropped the kids off and then headed out to Cape Town, with the trip through to the mountain going surprisingly fast (we were expecting loads more traffic).

The mountain itself was however a different story – despite it being a Wednesday morning, there were loads of tourist buses dropping people off, and after eventually finding a spot to park (behind a bus), Chantelle and I strolled down to the Lower Cableway Station and joined the queue – a waiting process that would last a good hour and a half in the end!

IMG_20160511_113856 cable car leaving the station on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Eventually, our turn to board the Visa branded cable car arrived, and with each and every ticket scanner having happily proclaimed “Happy Birthday Craig” as we passed through, I climbed into the car grinning like a complete idiot.

This was my first time ever using the revolving cars (the last time I took the cable car was back as a kid – I’m reasonably sure of this), and I have to say, gimmick or not, I quite enjoyed this little trick up the rather impressive cart’s sleeve.

(That said, the cable car ride itself is of course ridiculously short, so there isn’t all that much time to admire things, revolving or not – so completely unlike 2014’s longer and thus slightly more enjoyable ropeway ascension in Komagatake that I did with Ryan.)

IMG_20160511_131216 mountain binoculars on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

As luck would have it, it was an absolutely beautiful day at the top of the mountain, sunny skies, no wind, minimal cloud cover and thus great visibility – meaning that one could take their sweet time strolling around the tourist paths and admiring all the stunning views at whatever pace suited them best.

(It’s been a while since I’ve been up the mountain, and although ascending the mountain in this manner and this particular tourist friendly part of the mountain is not the greatest, it still remains a pretty awesome experience in terms of sights to be had!)

IMG_20160511_123032 view outside table mountain cafe restaurant on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Chantelle was pretty keen (read: hungry) on eating something, so we headed over to the Table Mountain Cafe, ordered what on the menu reads “Ostrich Subs”, but is in reality a ostrich boerewors roll, and grabbed one of the outdoor tables that were open – quite surprising considering the amount of tourists milling about on the top!

IMG_20160511_125542 tourists with a view on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Unfortunately we couldn’t spend too long up on the mountain because unlike me, Chantelle actually needed to go into work, but I was fortunate enough to catch two dueling birds of prey before going down – which I thought was a pretty good birthday present to myself!

The cable car ride down was smooth (with our enjoyable cable car ‘conductor’ putting on a great show in the process), and finally, the drive back to Gordon’s Bay went without incident.

In other words, it was a pretty good birthday outing!

Related Link: Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

Japan 2014 – 44 Taking the Komagatake Ropeway to ascend Mount Komagatake in Komagane (2014-10-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 26 DEC 2015

Our two week long Japanese sightseeing trip was rapidly coming to an end now. With one day to go to the big day of Yuko and Terrance’s wedding, Ryan and I decided to spend our last day as tourists by taking the Komagatake Ropeway up the local mountain and see a bit of the famous Chuo Alps.

IMG_20141011_111031 craig lotter on mount komagatake of the chuo alps, komagane, japan

To get there we first needed to navigate from Ina to Komagane via train, slightly trickier than in the big cities because out here no English language signage is available.

Nevertheless, we managed easily enough (really, it’s essential to hire a data modem for the duration of your trip – an invaluable tool in this day and age!), and once in Komagane, we made our way up to the bus station where we were able to procure our tickets (an expensive outing mind you) up to the cableway station without too many hiccups.

DSC07894 taking the komagatake ropeway up mount komagatake of the chuo alps, komagane, japan

First opened in 1967 (refurbished in 2014 – lucky us, best timing ever!), the Komagatake Ropeway was Japan’s first ever mountain ropeway, and climbs Mount Kisokoma, running up to the Senjojiki Cirque which is directly below Mount Hokendake.

Its summit station is noted as being the highest in terms of altitude cableway station in the country, coming in at an altitude of 2,611.5 m.

(In other words, the views of the Chuo Alps are simply beyond spectacular!)

DSC07899 the komagatake ropeway up mount komagatake of the chuo alps, komagane, japan

Autumn was starting to hit its stride, meaning that the scenic forests on the way up were all starting to turn various shades of orange and red, making for a fiery spectacle on the way up, whilst at the top the landscape was a lot more barren, with loads of beautifully fragile Japanese mountain foliage on display.

DSC07909 vegetation on mount komagatake of the chuo alps, komagane, japan

Of course, that high up the air was pretty crisp and very cold – not that it bothered us South African blokes mind you – shorts and t-shirts all the way! (Much to the amusement of the other mountain travelers in case you were wondering!)

DSC07914 walking up mount komagatake of the chuo alps, komagane, japan

An absolute treat of an excursion and definitely a recommended pit-stop if you ever find yourself travelling through the Kiso Valley and Komagane in particular!

Oh, and of course, Ryan’s stuffed pig got his photo taken as well:

IMG_20141011_102640 ryan lotter on mount komagatake of the chuo alps, komagane, japan

Related Link: Komagatake Ropeway

Mouille Point and the Cinnabons My Life 13 SEP 2011

This miserable overcast weather we’re had in Cape Town this weekend past reminded me of this year’s 31st birthday, which by now is long past but come to think of it, I never actually got around to mentioning in these here pages!

With Touchwork’s new policy of getting the day off on your birthday, Chantelle and I decided to make the most of by ensuring that she too was off. Jessica was also deposited in the care of someone, but for the life of me I can’t remember that far back!

The morning kicked off with presents of course, the highlight being the office chair Chantelle bought for me and which I immediately set about assembling and then rolling about on through the house. There were others too of course, but I distinctly remember sitting on the bed, scratching my head with screwdriver in hand, so that’s the one that gets mentioned! :P

The plan for the day was simple: Table Mountain Cable Car adventure baby!! Seeing as the operators are kind enough to let you go up for free on your birthday and the fact that we were actually not at work on the day of my birthday, this was a brilliant plan, particularly when you consider that I’ve never actually been up in the new (well new to me) rotating cable cars – in other words it would have been a treat like none other.

Except of course, the weather gods didn’t want to play along.

At all.

Dark, heavy clouds saturated the whole of Cape Town, closing down the cable car operation and thus dashing my hopes for some Table Mountain fun in a cruel and vicious, heavy handed blow. However, all was not lost. Chantelle and I made the most of our day without a young Jessie to distract us, shopping, eating, and merrily ambling along, before the eventual return home through rush hour N1 traffic thanks to some silly planning on our behalf.

One of the things that we did however end up doing on the day was take a drive through to the new Cape Town stadium in search of the biodiversity park, before taking a turn and finding a parking spot at Mouille Point, where we whipped out the Cinnabons that we had just bought in Canal Walk and polished them off along the promenade.

Which was pretty nice.

And now for some photos because I can:

(Note the lack of Cinnabons in the shots. That’s because they were devoured so quickly! :P)

Table Mountain Interrupted My Life 25 JAN 2008

Cable CarOriginally I had plans of taking Chantelle on a sunset cable car trip up Table Mountain last night, but thanks to Monday night’s catastrophe that saw a power cut disable the cable cars leaving countless people stuck up on the mountain and quite a few (now very claustrophobic) people trapped in the cars, all alone in the dark and swaying in the high winds, I decided that maybe this wasn’t the greatest of times to be doing it. As it is, it looks like the area did indeed suffer a power cut last night, so I’m glad we decided to abandon our original plan.

This was all well and good anyway, because instead we spent the evening enjoying a raucous braai at the Montgomery’s place in celebration of Cheryl’s sister being down in Cape Town on a visit from America. As always, Rob was brilliant in the role of Tongmaster behind the raging fire, serving up a delicious assortment of chicken and sausage for our mass consumption. Combined with salad, veggies, farm-style baked bread and copious amounts of beer and red wine, we had everything needed to enjoy a supper fit for a king. Chantelle secured some delicious cheesecake and ice-cream for dessert and by the time everyone was finished no one could have complained about going home hungry.

Of course, what made the evening so enjoyable was the fact that everyone had so much to talk about, particularly with Debbie there (the last time she was year was about 2 years ago apparently), and because I took the firm decision in turning the television off early, the fun and games went on well into the night – which was just a well because last night was so hot and humid that we struggled to sleep in anyway!