Saturday, January 21, 2012

South Africa, Cape Town By Night And Day


It is Tuesday evening and already I know I have made the mistake of not allowing myself enough time to visit this beautiful part of South Africa.

I must now make the most of my time left before I catch my flight back to Johannesburg tomorrow afternoon. With that in mind, I take a drive up to Table Mountain even as night is falling.


JNB Trip 472As I drive up the dark and  whining mountain road the wind is blowing as an almost full moon is making it's way from behind thin gray clouds.

The lights of Cape Town sparkle below as I continue to the base of Table Mountain.



The night air has a damp chill to it as I exit my car to get an unbiased view of the night scenery. The illuminated mountain hillside looks almost spooky and unreal as it is beginning to be covered by moist evening clouds.

Distinct sharp jagged edges, highlighted by artificial lighting gives this part of Table Mountain a very cool effect.




JNB Trip 474Table Mountain



A close drive from Table Mountain and I am looking down at a darken coastline spotted with tall buildings still visible before the evening fog rolls in from the ocean. What I have seen so far has wet my appetite to return to Signal Hill in the morning.

A light rain is falling as I begin my drive on Wednesday morning back towards Signal Hill. Driving in and out of mountainous fog banks, I am beginning to think my trip back will be fruitless.

Arriving at the viewing point from the previous night, I can barely see my hands in front of me as I exit the car and stand in the cold damp morning air. Disappointed, after a few minutes I return to my car and then a miracle happens.



JNB Trip 482I turn around and the fog clouds have disappeared right before my eyes. From left to right and near to far I can see as clear and as far as my eyes will allow me to see.




The views are just as beautiful today as last night but with more colors and clarity. A white surf dresses the coastline and cars can be seen moving along the streets below. Cape Town is waking up nicely.



JNB Trip 491Leaving the viewing point and following a path along the mountain top an inviting sound can be heard in the distance. Even as I approach the area where the sound is coming from I cannot see the producers as they are hidden behind dense bushes.



Accompanied by musical instruments, the vocal sounds are definitely not English but seem African. I am intimidated to approach any closer but then from an inquiry, a young man gives me an open invitation.



JNB Trip 503On a Wednesday morning, what a treat to stumble upon a group of locals worshiping on Signal Hill when all I thought I was doing was coming here to take in another view of Cape Town.







JNB Trip 507Robben Island


Returning to my car, the weather has improved so much that I can now clearly see Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held as a prisoner for 27 years. For about R$200 you can take a scheduled ferry from Cape Town waterfront to visit the island. I understand it is a popular journey and tickets sell out fast. So book early.



JNB Trip 512Leaving Signal Hill is bitter sweet as I take in views of the Waterfront, Futbol Stadium, Downtown and Lion Head Mountain.

All places that I will not have time to visit.







JNB Trip 487Lion Head




JNB Trip 517Cape Town Waterfront








Either way my visit here has planted a seed for me to visit Cape Town again as this is one city that has a lot to offer.



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