Hot chocolate at 1086 metres

Anyone who’s ever been to the top of Table Mountain knows that dassies, or rock rabbits/hyrax (Procavia capensis) are the most common animal to be seen up there and they are so used to human visitors that they’re rather tame. But this little guy was the tamest I’ve ever seen. I’m sure we could have picked him up or at least stroked him, neither of which I’d want to do, by the way, but you get my meaning. He was nibbling away at a plant between steps and rocks and completely ignored us as we took photos and my guests exclaimed over the sight.

It was freezing up there on Friday but at least the sun was shining. My clients and I were so cold, especially our hands (note to self, remember the gloves!) that we simply had to go to the restaurant for hot chocolate instead of waiting in the long queue to go down.  The relatively new restaurant is an improvement on the old tea-room that could not cater for the increasing number of visitors. There is a good selection of hot and cold food , snacks, cakes and drinks, and even some wine, but the prices are outrageously exorbitant.  It’s actually a disgrace because foreign tourists are not idiots who don’t look at prices so one has to wonder why the restaurant was so full.  Maybe the cold, maybe the long queue.

Aside from that, I’m glad they didn’t demolish the old tea-room (it’s the curio shop now) and have built the new one adjacent and with the same type of stone so it flows nicely (look to the right in the next pic, the new stones are lighter). I really like the well-marked paths and new lookout points – some of them are positioned to give you a feeling of overhanging the city and there’s one near the restaurant overlooking Camps Bay that is not for you if you suffer from vertigo.

I still want to walk up from Kirstenbosch one of these days, and also do the Back Table/Maclears Beacon walk, … but that can only be done with friends, not clients, because I need to be free to stop as often as I want to. And whinge and swear.  I suggest early next year when the wind has dropped and it’s warm, and I will happily make a very early start of it.

In the meantime, I will gladly take visitors up in the cable car. One of my favourite things to do when riding up is to show everyone (and I mean everyone) when I see rock climbers clinging to the rocks – I wish the car was slow enough to get a photo of them, from that angle it would be impressive.

The old tea room, now the souvenir shop

Robben Island zoomed in.  New phone camera has nice zoom function. My hands were freezing up by this time.

New toy!

Look at these colours

So, I finally made my choice and upgraded my cell phone.

I wanted all the functions of a smartphone and I have them, or will have them once I figure out how to use everything properly and customise it. What I hadn’t thought of was the camera aspect and it’s quite a pleasant surprise.  The quality is much better than what I get with my point and snap camera and once I figure out a few settings and I stop pressing the wrong buttons it’ll be great.

So far I’ve managed to accidentally take photos of my own face because it has a self-portrait function; I’ve filmed my own feet tapping in impatience and my index finger has featured a lot, and of course the usual skew horizons which kill photos that could have been a great success. Although I can’t see what I’m doing when outdoors, I did briefly notice a function that can help with that, perhaps I can find it again and activate it.

Why do dead fish heads look prehistoric?

Usually when I try to take photos just before sunset they come out blurred but I managed this from the top of Table Mountain yesterday. I can’t wait to see what it does with sunsets and night lights.

A vast improvement on previous attempts!

In the middle of writing this I went outside to experiment with a few close-ups of flowers and caterpillars and it would appear that this phone camera might solve my macro challenges – a walk on the mountain is in order before the end of spring. A planned photo project is to go to the centre of town on a Sunday, when it’s a bit less crowded, to take photos of old buildings for my Tours du Cap website so I’d better start looking at those settings.


A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

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