Table Mountain, South Africa

Many of us travel because it fills our soul, because in doing so we satisfy -momentarily- our quasi-infinite curiosity, we learn about new cultures: we enjoy new flavors, we listen to new languages and rhythms, we become aware of social problems, we understand or question their historical facts … Traveling mixes so many emotions that it actually changes us, because we take something from every destination and in each one we leave a piece of ourselves. Strangely, in each trip you not only know more about a region, country or continent, you know more about yourself as well.

Reflections like this arise spontaneously when there are very precise situations that favor us upon the experience of an immense sense of gratitude. It happened to me when I realized that I was laughing, there, on top of the first “natural wonder of the modern world” that I was visiting, at that moment I was grateful that life would have allowed me to embody that uncontrollable desire to smile in different parts of the world … And in this case the context was not for less: being on top of Table Mountain smiling was a reflection as natural as the environment itself.

It looks very pretty and the view is cool, but what makes that mountain SO special? A friend asked me to whom I was showing my photos. I smiled again, but this time with tenderness and proceeded to do my best to concentrate on a response, moderately brief about all that this place had been building and preserving for millions of years.

Located in the Cape Peninsula, South Africa, Table Mountain is a flat-topped topographic eminence characterized by a plateau of approximately 3 km from side to side that is surrounded by steep cliffs.

The area where its located is not just a National Park, it is considered by UNESCO as “one of the most important plant biodiversity zones on the planet”. In fact, South Africa is the only country in the world with its own floral kingdom, called “Floristic Kingdom of the Cape”. It is the smallest of the 6 realms currently recognized and, proportional to its size, it is also the most diverse of all.

In addition to being considered a World Heritage Site for its value to the biosphere, Table Mountain was chosen as one of the “7 natural wonders of the world”. Which implies that, at the time of an international contest that started with over 400 nominations, it was selected as one of those seven natural jewels that stood out for their exceptional value. Out of the winners four are in Asia, two in America and one in Africa.

Going to Table Mountain is impossible to just pass by, unless you have an impressive luck, ascending and descending such mountain will take at least three hours. To reach the top you can choose go on foot, with routes that go from 2-6 hours depending on whether you choose the easy option, the beautiful or the challenging one; or you can use a cable car that operates since 1929 and whose cabins have revolving floors to offer you, in a five minute the trip, a 360 ° experience. In both options you will discover captivating views of both the city and the mountain itself plus enjoy impressive changes in both the climate and environment.

Many of the trails of Table Mountain end in huge rocks that, for me, ended up becoming playgrounds because I ended up jumping the rocks one by one (although I could’ve walked). As you approach the edge of the cliff you will find spectacular panoramic views of Cape Town that show the relationship between coast, city and mountain, which contrast and perfectly complement the natural environment in which you find yourself. Being up there is evidence and without doubt that South Africa is diversely spectacular!

And, being at the right time, it is very likely that you can appreciate the curious cloud formations that in a matter of minutes make the top look like the setting for a horror story.

I’m a photographer and I communicate through still images, but this destination is one of those where  the desire to invite you to come with me arises and I use the video recording instead, how else can I get you to listen to the intensity of the wind, appreciate the sight and, at the same time, describe my impression of the  first I found myself in both Table Mountain and  Cape Town?

While nature lovers will be delighted with the beauty and diversity of the environment, those who seek adventure have the option of rappelling from the top of this wonder of the modern world. The descent, which has impressive views of the mountain and the coast, is about 100-120 meters and concludes with a path of approximately 25-30 minutes. The company that offers this service is “Abseil Africa ZA” and, for obvious reasons, this activity is subject to weather conditions.

The best thing is that you don’t have to climb to the top to enjoy this natural wonder, Table Mountain is the most iconic image of Cape Town and, as a matter of fact, of all of South Africa. View from below offers an authentically memorable picture with its curious formation, the sudden invasion of mischievous clouds and, in this case, a beautiful summer sunset in January captured from the “Waterfront”, heart of the city of Cape Town and example to follow in terms of the valuation and use of natural heritage as a tourist attraction.

P.S. so that you can see that the force that the wind can reach is no joke, I leave this “blooper” that might make you laugh.

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