Sunday, August 16, 2009

Book on line for Table Mountain Cableway

Cape Town tourism advises that the Cable way on Table Mountain is introducing a new on line ticketing system, which will be effective from Monday, 17 August.
This is great news for our overseas and Gauteng visitors who have previously been unable to make a reservation, making it difficult for them to plan their holiday outings. The new system will allow visitors to buy tickets online for an additional R10 fee. Online tickets will be valid for seven days and, if not used within this period, a full refund can be claimed (excluding the administration fee). To show how customer focused this new approach is, a ticketholder may extend the ticket’s validity for a further three weeks, provide it is done within the 7 day validity period of the ticket- but then you forgo a refund. Tour operators and Guest houses will be able to benefit by being able to have tickets ready for guests so they bypass the ticket office, saving time. The cable cars depart every 10 to 15 minutes Be cautioned however that the cableway is concerned to maintain its excellent safety record and will not operate in bad weather , or in the high speed winds that are sometimes experienced in mid-summer.

Visitors to our beautiful City should not miss the opportunity to see the truly awesome panoramic views of Cape Town , clear across to iconic Robben Island, famed place of incarceration for our first democratically elected president; Nelson Mandela. The height of Table Mountain (at its highest point) is 1085m or 3560 ft . There is a self-service café (restaurant) at the top of the mountain serving both food and refreshments, which has developed innovative eco-friendly ways to conserve natural resources.
You do not have to take the cable car down, but can choose from several options to enjoy the scenery and undertake a walk. There are a number of short walks that you can take, including the Dassie Walk -with its stunning panoramic view. One could choose to spend the better part of a day hiking all the way along the top of the mountain and down to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, one of the world’s largest and most beautiful botanical gardens, or even further along, to the Silvermine Nature Reserve, situated just above our popular self catering accommodation. For more information about this Reserve, see our Blog post about the Silvermine Reserve.
Fees for Online tickets -valid until September 30, 2009
Adult return: R145 + R10 booking fee
Child return: R76 + R10 booking fee

Fees for Online tickets -valid from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010
Adult Return R 160 + R10 booking feeChild return: R80 + R10 booking fee

Both visitors and locals alike can purchase Wild Cards, which give admission to all the parks at a reduced fee, and Wild card holders will enjoy a discount on the rates for the Cableway, on presentation of the Wild Card.
Opening Hours: Opening hours vary from season to season. Generally the first car goes up at 8 am and the last car comes down at 9:30 pm in the summer, when our days are extra long to allow visitors to make the most of their holidays.During winter months, the last car returns at dusk; 6 pm.
Contact information for Table Mountain Aerial Cableway
Tel: +27 21 424 0015

Directions from Horizon Holiday cottages:
It is about a 30 minute drive (outside of peak hours) rom Noordhoek over Ou Kaapse weg; at the foot of the mountain turn right to the Blue Route freeway. Stay on the freeway until you reach Groote Schuur hospital (famous for the world’s first heart transplant) when the freeway splits – left to De Waal Drive and right to Eastern Boulevard; keep left on De Waal drive, and as the road descends to the City, take the left exit lane to Gardens, (where there is a huge signboard for the Cableway) ; the road becomes Kloof Nek Road. Follow Kloof Nek Road to a traffic circle, then turn left at Tafelberg Road and keep following the signs to the cableway. It may sound complex, but it is not, as it is so well signposted.

For those who rely upon their GPS to avoid complicated directions; the coordinates: are 33°57′11.89″S 18°24′11.7″E or 33.9533028°S 18.40325°E

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Walking in the Silvermine Reserve

Our affordable self catering Cape Town holiday accommodation in Noordhoek is situated at the foot of the Silvermine nature reserve which forms part of the Table Mountain National park. It is an ideal area to explore if you want to enjoy some of the wild flora, known as Fynbos, for which the Western Cape is renowned, or just enjoy a bit of tranquil convening with nature.
There are many trails for walking or hiking and a detailed map of the trails can be purchased from the office of Noordhoek tourism at the Noordhoek Farm village for a nominal fee. The Silvermine Hiking trails allows one to see some of the world’s most spectacular coastal and mountain scenery which is rich with a variety of flora as well as bird and small animal life. There are a large number of different Proteas and other fynbos species, flowering throughout the different seasons; making this an enjoyable and interesting walk at any time of the year. We have just completed an Autumn day outing that we would like to share with you. When staying at
Horizons Holiday Cottages it is just a few minute’s drive to the top of Ou Kaapse Weg and then at the top of the mountain turn left toward the clearly marked Parks signboard with directions to the parking area. For those with GPS it is ; 34º 05' 135" South and 18º 25' 144" East. The entry fee is R 10 or production of a wildcard (limited to cape Town residents); at the parking are toilet facilities
Silvermine Reservoir Walk : One of the easiest and most accessible walks which your kids will enjoy, leads from the car park at the top of the mountain to the Silvermine reservoir. This is an easy walk with a duration of some 1- 1 ½ hours and a suitable for all members of the family. From the parking area the trailed is well marked and heads predominantly uphill though it is not particularly strenuous. The trail winds through remarkably different vegetation and you will enjoy a number of boardwalks over the streams. On a summer day you will find the wooded banks verdant with tree ferns a pleasantly cool and peaceful spot to linger. Surprisingly the trail heads through some small forest glades.
The path wends its way up well-maintained wooden walkways and the occasional rustic bridge until one reaches the dam wall itself. Stop along the way to admire the spectacular panoramic views across False Bay where on a clear day you can see clear across to Gordon’s Bay and the Strand.
Along the path are a number of quaint stone constructed benches and tables where one can picnic or also make use of the built braai (bbq) hearths. Depending upon the season however the lighting of fires may be prohibited so it would be best to check at the ticket office.
The trail leads to the large Silvermine reservoir which was built sometime in the 1890’s to supply water to Cape Town. During the warmer weather people make use of the opportunity for a cooling swim in the clean blue waters, but you may wish simply to stroll the path around the reservoir, a slow walk of some 30 minutes. At the far end will be found a rich growth of beautiful flowering water liilies under the bridge that crosses the entrance to the reservoir. During our hike in the early Autumn we were amazed at the variety of flowering plants including two different types of colourful Proteas.
On the opposite side of Ou Kaapse Weg, just after the apex can also be found another entrance manned by the Parks board where one can park and walk up Silvermine River Valley to a small waterfall, passing a number of old ruins. The waterfall offers the perfect spot to take in the sounds of nature. Like so many of the waterfalls on Table Mountain, this one is only seen in its full glory in winter, but it is also a great peaceful picnic spot.
Those with a more adventurous nature, and a good level of fitness, can hike across the mountains toward Kalk Bay where you will be treated to one of the most truly awesome views of our beautiful False Bay. make sure that you have arranged someon eto collect you or another way to return to our guest accomodation as it will be a long way back
To live in our beautiful Cape Town is to be truly blessed, but we love sharing it with our guests.