Table mountains



// Nikon D7200 | -33.98875 : 18.43453 | alt. 114m

After a very expensive night at Imhoff campsite, I first had to find a cheaper place to sleep for the rest of my time here. One night at chapman camp, still too expensive, but nice location with plenty of birds (feels like being in a farm !). Finally found millers point, on the south east side of the peninsula, 130rand per site per night.

I first went for the lower table mountain, north of Noordhoek. A fairly big network of trails to explore with multiple lookouts and a few summits to climb. This place would be amazing if there wasn’t any warning sign at the entrance about possible thefts on the way…. Took me a few minutes to decide, but after I saw a few single girls running in the area, I guessed it was probably safe.

Lower part is perfect to train a bit before doing the highest part. I still don’t know how long it’s gonna take to climb, most of the times given on the map are for elderly people , or South Africans should really do some exercise. It seems pretty easy to cut down the times by 2 or 3.

The day after was mostly spent chilling out on the beautiful lawns of the botanical garden, the second biggest in the world. This place must be outstanding in spring, but despite the sun and warm temperature, we are in winter !
On top of that, the botanical garden is also the trailhead for the smurt track, going up the table mountain via skeleton gorge. Someone told me you have to pay for any trail going up…. so at least security guys were very friendly here, and they allowed me to sleep on the parking lot. There is also a restroom on the parking, and a restaurant with wifi (1hr access per day only) Best deal to camp in Cape town !

So next day, I wanted to start early the steep climb, but the table was in the clouds….. Let’s wait a bit, to see if it’s gonna clear out, and it looks like it. So around 11am, I took my chance and went for it.
You have to pay for the botanical garden, cross it, then start a very steep way to the skeleton gorge (which is a fault in the table). It gets so steep you have to use metal ladders in a few sections, the rest is easy scramble.
After only 1 hour, you are already on top of the worst section ! Amazing, still one hour to make it to the top, but it’s now a piece of cake to walk on flat rocky trails.
I was at the top, but still nothing to see because of the fog/clouds !!!!
So I went to the other side of the table, overlooking Cape Town, since the clouds form when the air from the ocean climbs over the table, this side should clear first. And finally, with the afternoon light, the clouds gained altitude and started to disperse ! At last, I could see the massive wall of the table, with the city below it. A very impressive sight with some 360 views on the way. (you can nearly see cape of good hope from here !)

The problem is when you are on top of the table, you cannot see it ! You have a beautiful view, but the best sight in the area is the table itself !
The best option for this is to hike on top of lion’s head, a rock in between Cape Town and the Table. This is a short and easy hike with a steep section (steel ladders and chains ) but the top gives you the classic shot of Cape Town and her mountain in the background. With the usual clouds rolling from the top, I finally have my epic shot of Cape town 🙂

Back from the table mountain, Eiji and Chizu were looking for a campground for the weekend, and we met again at miller’s point on the south east side of the peninsula. Always a good moment with them, and we could chat for hours, which we did !
On the first night, we went for dinner in a seafood restaurant next door, and we spent a lovely evening with fish and white wine. And on the way back to our camp, we met a group of 4 swiss people overlanding southern Africa. Time to catch up all together with beers and wines….. maybe a bit too much, but it was still a very nice moment 🙂

Next day, hangover, we went to the penguin colony, and while waiting for them on the beach (been to the colony a week ago), I also saw some penguins swimming there and walking in front of a seafood restaurant, hilarious 😀

We decided to go for dinner again, and after a short walk, we went for the first proper restaurant on the way, the Mangata.
The menu seems interesting, with some unexpected dishes like duck confit ! Nope, I had to try something local, so springbok it is !
The plates came, and what a surprise ! Everything is looking amazing !!! Staff is nice, main room is nicely decorated…….cannot get better than this. Too bad we drank too much last night, they must have a very good selection of wines, but we stick to water……
Time to see if the kitchen is so good, I tried their creme brulee…… and it was delicious, it’s not even easy to find such a good one at home… we are very impressed ! Definitively a place you should check out while visiting Cape Town (well, the place is in Simon’s town, by the navy base).

It was time again to split with Eiji and Chizu after this wonderful evening. They still had stuff to do on their toyota, and time for me to see the rest of the country.
Last night I forgot to switch off the fridge, and since its thermostat is not the best, it ran all night and drained my precious deep cycle batteries to the critical limit. Obviously, next day was overcast, even rainy.
Damn me !!!

I went back to African overlanders, most of the spare parts shops are in the area, and I need internet to look for references. My front shock absorbers are too weak for the dirt road, and I need a battery charger.
A full day going from place to place, finally found my battery charger (25 % more expensive than in europe :p) , but shocks were over expensive. I went to a different shop, recommended by another delica owner in Cape Town. After short inspection, the guy told me I should adjust my torsion bars first and he gave me another address.

Next place, the manager had a look, and told me it would be an easy job. I usually ask for a quote first, but I didn’t, this place looks honest and friendly. The tech guy worked one hour to adjust the bars, all for 500rand, sounds like a good deal. So the big change from that, is the clearance, almost twice more than before, and the shocks are now sitting in a better position to do their job. I still need stronger shocks, but honestly, I could do without, it’s not worth the extra money for some comfort.
Obviously, when you change the geometry in the front, you have to realign the wheels. Well that went pretty smoothly, price was given up front, job done in 20min, well done, nothing to complain about ! Everyone has been friendly and helpful, not trying to get extra money from me, I’m a bit surprised !

Back to the african overlanders campsite, I was tired, looking for junk food and beers. So was Duncan, the manager, after a terrible week. Alright, time for a nice chat around some beers. I’m gonna miss this guy !

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