In the shadow of Table Mountain

Early morning dew clings to delicate strands of spiderwebs and hangs pearl-like on a necklace of graceful stems of the Autumn Pypie. The shadow of the northern buttress of Table Mountain reaches down the slopes of Camps Bay and mutes the multitude of green hues of tall stone pines that clutter the Glen. A light haze over the bay softens the outlines of giant tankers in the roadstead. Winter brings relief from the harsh heat of summer, replacing it with cool breezes to temper the still fierce rays of the sun, allowing us to appreciate its warmth on our backs as we reach the line between shadow and light along the pipe track.

Rain and increased foot traffic (quite noticeable after lockdown, as more people discover the great outdoors so freely available in Cape Town) have not been kind to the trail, and loose rocks and exposed roots are a treacherous hazard to be negotiated with caution. One can hardly imagine maintenance being down with conceivably the only means of getting materials there being a wheelbarrow (!?) – a challenge that needs to be met before the erosion makes this popular route impassable. On the bright side, the slow pace as we negotiate ankle-busting outcrops enables us to take in the awesome views of slopes of sugarbushes in full bloom, pale blue gladioli and dozens of excitable, brilliantly plumaged Orange-breasted Sunbirds feasting on the nectar of the proteas. A paradise indeed.

Far below, a strong swell breaks over ancient weathered granite boulders, leaving trails of white foam spreading with the currents up and down the coastline. No soul can be seen on the white sands beyond the tall palm trees lining the coastal road – a thankful respite from the heaving crowds and traffic jams of summer for locals, no doubt. Somehow winter beaches are more appealing – a place to get away from it all and let the wind blow your hair and whisper secrets from far off lands.

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