T is for Table

Cape Town and Table Mountain

Table Mountain actually,  T. Things beginning with T. A while back i I posted about Water and skinny dipping off Lizard Point on the afternoon of the eclipse, the day I decided; to leave my job and find an adventure. By the beginning of October I was on a flight to South Africa but that’s a whole other story.

This is a bit of the ‘other story’. I have a friend, who at the time was living in Cape Town, I flew in with too much luggage as Spring breathed new life into the Cape. I’d packed in my job, packed up my belongings and given the keys back on a rented house. I’d left a life I wasn’t much happy with. She thought I’d come for a couple of weeks, I asked if I could stay for Christmas. Cape Town became my base from which I explored Southern Africa. My friend lived in Camps Bay, it turned out, I’d fallen on my feet.

Camps Bay from Table Mountain

While my friend went to work I sat on the beach, then I drove the short drive to Cape Town. Through a friend of her mother’s I joined a walking group. I remember meeting them in a car park at 7.30 am for our first walk. I was the youngest by a good number of years, I was fit and running a bit. I appraised the group of women and a couple of retired gents and thought; this will be a breeze. How wrong was I? An hour later as I struggled to keep up, I began to think they might be an elite under covering fighting group, over sandwiches and flasks of tea, I discovered most were mums and this was their weekly walk. They were happy for me to join them regularly and we walked the mountains in the Table mountain range, often by precarious routes. We trekked to the top of Table Mountain, two or three times, it’s 1,086 metres (3,563 ft) above sea level and a challenge, I wouldn’t have done it without them.

one of the routes up Table Mountain

I got fitter, I got happier and I found my confidence, again. In the days between the weekly walks. I explored the Cape, then the coast; watched whales. Drove into the wine region. In Cape Town I went into the Townships and discovered more about apartheid and South Africa’s history. I took the boat to Robin Island and saw Mandela’s cell (I wept). Jetted North to a reserve and experienced Africa’s big five.

In December, I travelled from Cape Town to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, it’s over a 1,000 miles and I wouldn’t recommend the journey by mini bus, but waking from an uncomfortable sleep as the sun was rising and seeing a lake teeming with pink flamingos, made it worthwhile. In Bulawayo I joined an overland trip, first to Victoria Falls and then into Botswana and the Okavango river delta. The delta is lush and green, it’s populated with lilies and hippos and baboons and small islands where a travellers like me camped under the stars, some of the water is so shallow the only way is paddle in a dug out canoe. It was an adventure. My whole time in Southern Africa gave me memories to treasure forever, but it’s wouldn’t have been half the trip without those women and their walks up Table Mountain.

me on my way up Table Mountain




  1. HonestMum

    So funny, I’ve just blogged about SA too. My husband’s family live there and despite my protests (at the incredible height) my experience going up Table Mountain was utterly incredible. Amazing you walked it though, I took the wimp’s way in the cable car.

  2. C is for Cape town

    Like seeing ‘my’ mountain up there! And love that you loved walking it. And hey, maybe you should just do a whole lot of A is for … etc posts for NaBloPoMoFothingie?

  3. Kirsty

    Wow, Gemma that looks absolutely amazing. What a view! Sounds like a fabulous adventure, and a reminder that life is what you make of it – puts me in the mood to take risks. 🙂

  4. Midlife Singlemum

    How wonderful to be able to just leave a less than satisfactory life behind and go off on a three-month adventure in the sun. I wonder when (if ever) we’ll be in a position to do that again now that we are mothers with mortgages.

  5. Beadzoid (@MummyBeadzoid)

    Oh it sounds so amazing! And those views are stunning. South Africa is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit, especially in a non-touristy capacity. I am quite envious of your experience xx

  6. mutteringsofafool

    It looks truly beautiful, I always get a little nervous though thinking about traveling in that area, no doubt it’s no where near as bad as the news reports would have you think. But I may stick to safer places, like the lake district 🙂

  7. Isil

    Gorgeous pictures and I enjoy reading your story. It’s the kind of thing that you can only do when you aree young, before committing to a family. And it’s these kind of experiences that help us to find ourselves.x

  8. actuallymummy

    I love this post. This was our honeymoon, and we did it almost exactly as you describe. Went all the same places. I am in love with the wine-region, and Actually Daddy is desperate to take the kids to a game reserve, such was the thrill of that part of our trip. Lovely – thanks for reminding me!

  9. LauraCYMFT

    Wow what a fantastic story. Your travels sound idylic and sounds like you saw many wonderful sights! Gorgeous views from and of Table Mountain. My Grandma is a rambler and you just can’t get over how far those oldies can walk! Great post!

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