With the arrival of the first settlers looking for drinking water and a place to grow fresh crops for passing boats, many of the local tribes had their cultural history removed, replaced, ignored or “educated out of them” in what was one of the many humanitarian stains on our collective human history.
The Khoisan people, endemic to the Cape, were avid rock painters and keepers of oral tradition, so thankfully there is some record of their culture to speak of, and that’s what we will be looking at this week. Cave paintings and the history of a culture that effectively draws its roots from tribes that predate the migration to the North.
“You don't stumble upon your heritage. It's there, just waiting to be explored and shared.”
The Cape was the first part of South Africa to be settled and thus has its fair share of historical sites of interest and heritage. This week we’ll look at three fine examples of history in the present day.
Cape Town is known as “the city with the mountain” for a reason, and that reason is our spectacular range that forms the backdrop of every piece of tourist literature, Table Mountain. Around 300 million years ago the mountain top was at sea level, and ice sheets progressing across the peninsula during an ice age “sheared off” the top, giving it its unique profile. The trip up on the 65-person, 360 degree rotating cable car is as brief as it is spectacular, in no time (+/- 10 minutes) you will have ascended to a 1000 metres above sea level, with views that encompass the entire southern peninsula, all the way out to Robben Island and far beyond.
For the adventurous (and fit) there is the hiking ascent, with the firm knowledge that at the end of your summiting endeavours, you will be able to enjoy a fine glass of bubbly, the best view in the world, and a sedate cable car ride back down. On the “tabletop” you will find a restaurant and Deli that serves fine fare and delicious beverages as well as a network of paths (a lot of which are wheelchair friendly) and information boards that inform guests about the indigenous flora and fauna. Take heed when the cloud comes in, and especially when the summit station starts sounding it’s klaxon to indicate poor visibility, that means it time to head back.
Seeing as there is a “no bookings” policy, before heading through to the base station please call the information and weather line to see if the cable car is operational (+27 (0)21 424 8181) or you can try the office line (+27 (0)21 424 0015). On a regular day of operation, a cable car will depart from the summit and base station simultaneously every 10-15 minutes, and as a rough guide (remember to call the info line for specifics on the day) the first and last cars up are 08h00 to 08h30 and 17h30 to 21h00 respectively, and the last car down can range from 18h30 - 22h00.