Tag Archives: table mountain

Drive up Signal Hill, Cape Town (2018-11-17) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 23 FEB 2019

While the Noon Gun still merrily continues its daily midday pigeon onslaught from the slopes of Signal Hill, the signal flags from which this Cape Town landmark derives its name have long since left, leaving behind the perfect viewpoint for those of us who don’t always feel like physically climbing up Lion’s Head just to experience the stunning views out over our Mother City.

I took the girls up the hill for a quick jaunt towards the end of last year, their first time up, and they immediately super excitedly fell into tourist mode by demanding to take photos of everyone and everything around them.

So my phone was obligingly passed around, lots of photos of pretty much everything around us were snapped, and then we did some strolling whilst successfully avoiding the various vendors and picnicking crowds on the other side of the hill.

As always, one of the best and easiest ways to get a great close-up view of Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain!

Related Link: Signal Hill | Cape Town

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

Ice Cream at Lagoon Beach in Milnerton (2017-11-18) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 28 JAN 2018

The girls and I had been out and about on a weekend adventure as always, first with a trip to the venerable Blue Train Park at Mouille Point for some play time, then a stroll over to the Oranjezicht City Farm Market (quickly abandoned because it was far, far too busy for one dad and his two little girls), followed by some Spur time for the munchkins in the V&A Waterfront, and then finally wrapping it all up with some ice cream on the beach.

For this final part of our day, I decided to pay a visit to Lagoon Beach in Milnerton, a place that I don’t think I’ve necessarily visited before.

The GPS and Google Maps took us up through Paarden Eiland, past the Milnerton Flea Market (which I’m sure used to be in Milnerton back when I was a kid), and into the parking lot in front of Wang Thai and the Lagoon Beach Hotel (where I was promptly accosted by a gang of wandering homeless kids and a couple of guys wanting to sell me shark teeth).

At this point the girls were already bothering me for ice cream to no end, so I relented, flagged down a passing Ola ice cream vendor on his bicycle, and bought the girls each a chilled chocolate coated treat on a stick.

This of course didn’t go that well, because it was almost instantly just dropped chocolate and melting ice cream everywhere!

(I was not impressed, and embarrassingly, a little shouty about this. I have no idea why this act of messing sticky ice cream everywhere bugs me so.)

Anyways. It is a bit disconcerting to see all the polluted water warnings for where the Dieprivier river flows towards the sea, but outside of that, the wide concrete walkway makes for a lovely walk along the beach, with the end reward being of course those utterly magnificent views of Table Mountain as you come around the hotel grounds.

Hard not to appreciate the view really.

(In truth, I am a tiny bit jealous that none of my local beaches have such a classic view of Table Mountain as what those on the Milnerton/Bloubergstrand side of Cape Town do!)

Related Link: Milnerton

The Lions of Rhodes Memorial in Cape Town (2017-06-24) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 17 NOV 2017

I’ve written about the Rhodes Memorial on these pages before,  and earlier in June I took my two girls up the slopes of Devil’s Peak to go and see this unique, classically inspired memorial to the English-born South African politician Cecil John Rhodes.

Firstly, if you have never seen this national monument in person before, then the Sir Herbert Baker and Francis Macey designed structure sitting on the flank of Table Mountain (above my old alma mater UCT for that matter) is guaranteed to impress.

(Well, that said, the girls didn’t really think it was all that. The liked the stairs and the horse, but as far as what they were concerned, the most exciting bit was  the prospect of being allowed to take a photo or two with my phone camera, a promise that I had to make before we had even exited the car!)

Flanked by eight lions (cast by J.W. Swan and modeled upon those protecting Nelson column in Trafalgar Square), the memorial is fronted by the dynamic ‘Statue of Energy’, an imposing horse with rider sculpture – said to be a tribute to Rhodes’ restless drive and determination.

49 granite steps (one for each year of his life) then lead you to the main viewing platform which is adorned with a classic arrangement of Doric columns, the center at which stands the bronze bust of Cecil John Rhodes himself.

At this point of the photos, you might of course notice something slightly out of place.

Sadly, during the populist anti-colonialism outcry (complete with symbol defacement) that took place throughout South Africa in 2016, a few activists tried to behead the bust, ultimately failing in their attempt but doing enough damage so as to leave Rhodes without his nose.

As you might imagine, this does rather spoil the whole effect.

The site is also home to a popular tea garden and restaurant (makes sense when you consider the gorgeous view over Cape Town to be had from this location), and is also the starting base for a couple of popular Table Mountain hikes.

(The hour long walk to the King’s Blockhouse being one of those).

For the record, we didn’t pop in to the tea garden because we still had quite a few other interesting things to get to on the day (Llandudno Beach, Hout Bay Harbour, and World of Birds to be exact), but the girls were okay with that – after all, I did let them fool around with my phone camera for a bit…

A visit to Rhodes Memorial doesn’t take particularly long, and no matter your view on colonialism or the likes of people like Cecil John Rhodes, it is worth a visit just for the architecture and view alone!

Related Link: Rhodes Memorial | Rhodes Memorial Tea Garden

Catching Sight of Table Mountain from Bloubergstrand (2016-11-27) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 01 DEC 2016

Following a lovely morning spent at the Century City Natural Goods Market, followed by a trip to Canal Walk for some Lindt chocolate from their newly opened boutique shop, we decided to cool down with a trip through to Bloubergstrand, in the hopes of securing a lunch spot at perennial favourite, The Blue Peter Hotel – and of course to give the girls a chance to play in the sand by the sea for a bit.

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Of course, at this point any local would have already rolled their eyeballs at this plan, because anyone from the area would immediately point out that on such a gorgeous, wind free summer’s day, there is literally a snowball in Hell’s chance of actually finding a table at the iconic Blue Peter!

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They would of course be 100% right.

So no Blue Peter Sunday lunch for the Lotters then, but that’s okay, because there was plenty of space for us on the nearby (but popular) Little Bay beach, where we were rewarded with the most beautiful view of the iconic Table Mountain.

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Nice right?

This classic view of Cape Town’s beloved mountain is of course absolutely stunning, and something rather special to see if you don’t normally come out this way – i.e. like us.

(Plus, as a massive bonus, we even got to enjoy the famous Silver Falcons do two formation fly-bys over the beach while we were there!)

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We are working hard at getting the girls more comfortable with the sea (in preparation for our December trip to Gouritz), and amazingly, despite the icy cold Atlantic water which feels like ice blocks on your skin (thanks Benguela Current!), the girls allowed themselves to get wet and in the end had an actual ball – both going so far as to strip right down to their undies!

(We really should plan our beach visits better – you know, bring with costumes etc. At least we had the presence of mind to apply sunscreen to the girls in the morning!)

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The kids had a blast, we were left with a quaint collection of mud painted rocks and shells to bring home, and of course, mommy and daddy managed to soak up some sun as well.

Not a horrible way to spend a Sunday afternoon out and about then!

A handy map to where we were:

Related Link: Bloubergstrand | Blue Peter Hotel

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

A Weekend of Wonder and Mountains My Life 03 JUL 2013

Last weekend was particularly awesome mind you. It kicked off with a trip after work to the big Carnival Weekend, the showpiece segment of the Gordon’s Bay month long Winter Wonderland festival, and I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with what I saw. (Even Jessica approved, what with her dancing to each and every live bit of live music she got exposed to!)

Because little toddlers aren’t known for staying awake very late, we eventually returned home and with Jess in bed, we set about watching the absurd but enjoyable British black comedy Keeping Mum, with me even sneaking in some WordPress development for the heck of it.

Saturday was an early start for Jess and me, as I drove the two of us through to Bellville in order to deliver Jess to Monty and Cheryl, who had asked to take her with them on a one night stay in Jacobsbaai. With that delivery handled, I then headed off to Ryan’s place, where after a quick bit of FIFA, we hopped into his Polo and rode off to Constantia Nek, meeting up with Karl-Heinz, Trish and one of their friends for an epic 2.5 hour expedition up Table Mountain via the jeep track, a picnic in the shadow of the dams our end goal. As it turned out, the weather was fantastic for the trip, and all in all everyone enjoyed quite an entertaining five hour long outing on the mountain!

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Back in Bellville, I quickly popped in to pick something up from Mom’s place, before hitting the road again to head home, grab a shower, and then join Chantelle for a movie date night, catching the well made (but not quite for me) Spud 2: The Madness Continues, followed by a relaxing and tasty supper at Panarottis in the mall. From there we braved the cold and headed off once again to the Winter Wonderland festival, where we were entertained by the live music while enjoying some rather delicious pancakes! (In fact, we had pancakes each and every time we ended up at the main tent over the weekend…)

Sunday morning meant a bit of a sleep in for me, but that didn’t last forever as we eventually headed out in order to drop off the Andy’s sister’s birthday cake Chantelle had made during the course of Saturday at Gordon’s Beach Lodge, after which we then took the scenic route through to Betty’s Bay, where we enjoyed a good breakfast at Jack’s Cafe, the first time we had ever been to that particular establishment.

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Following our delicious breakfast, we decided to pop in to Koggelbaai, heading down towards the beach and marveling at all the surfers catching waves and showing off their skills, not to mention the gorgeous scenic views of the surrounding area.

Now I know why Koggelbaai is always such a hit with surfers and tourists alike! (Plus, the playful young baboons causing havoc were an added treat I might add).

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Back in Gordon’s Bay we once again popped in to the Winter Wonderland festival, strolled around a bit, caught a piece of a Lukas Maree tribute band, before heading home where Chantelle caught a bit of an afternoon nap, while I was tasked with doing a spot of shopping.

Late afternoon saw the two of us drive through to Bellville in order to pick up Jessica who had enjoyed an entertaining stay with Oupa and Ouma in Jacobsbaai, not to mention tuck into the delicious snoek that Robert eventually prepared on the braai for us!

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So yeah, a pretty awesome weekend was had by all.

(Though I’m not going to mention just how stiff and in pain I was for the two days following the Table Mountain expedition mind you!)

Photo Gallery: Table Mountain: Constantia Nek to the Dams (2013-06-29) Photo Gallery 02 JUL 2013

Saturday saw us walk up Table Moutain for a picnic by the dams, taking the Constantia Nek jeep track route up. This particular route is fairly easy going in terms of terrain obviously, but don’t be fooled – it’s the elevation that gets you!

So, so stiff the day after! :)

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Related Info: Constantia Nek – Around the Dams

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)