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Flying South

Cape Town, Buses and Helicopters

SOUTH AFRICA | Monday, 27 January 2014 | Views [282]

Cape Town City Tours - Hop On/Hop Off busses were the order of the day. We had tickets for the cable carat Table Mountain so the plan was to do some touristy sight-seeing for the day starting from Table Mountain and finishing back there at the end of our buss adventures, at which point we would take the cable car and go see the views. I was particularly excited as my friend Denise, who has been to Cape Town, had sung their praises to me and told me it was a 'must' when visiting here. We picked up our tour tickets on board and headed for our first stop at the V&A Waterfront. This is also the location of the offices of the tour bus company and I wanted to pop in and see if it was possible to upgrade my R150 day tour to the R1350 special with a helicopter flight thrown in. As it turns out, it was possible and everyone else went for the upgrade also. Our luck was running today so within 15 minutes of upgrading we were collected and taken to the base of Cape Town Helicopters where we set off, after a quick safety briefing, on our Two Oceans helicopter flight. I have to be honest, I was expecting a quick flit up and down the harbour, as the R1200 for the upgrade is about ᆪ67 at the current exchange rate, which would get you didly in the UK. Here it got us a monster 40 minute flight all the way around Table Mountain, following the coast except where we crossed the peninsula just below the mountain and above it where we cut back across Not sure how far the flight was as I still have to check it on google maps, but it was fabulous. It's been a while since I last flew in a heli and so it was an absolute pleasure to renew my acquaintance with this form of transport The view we had were amazing and I honestly believe this was one of the bet spur of the moment decisions I've ever made! Once we were back on the ground we had a fish and chip lunch at the restaurant in the Aquarium after which we were back on the bus to head to the castle for the 2 o'clock tour. Sadly we missed the bus we needed so we also missed the tour by around 15 minutes. Still, for all that the castle was well worth a visit. I say castle but to any of my re-enactment friends, you would recognise it for what it is, a star fort, Dutch, circa 1666. However, here in Cape Town it's known as a castle and, apparently, nothing you say will convince them otherwise! The oddest thing about it is that today it is in the middle of the city. When it was first built it was on the coast, which highlights how much of the modern city is reclaimed land. The 'castle' is also a working barracks of some description so there are quite a few squaddies hanging around. Mainly lasses which was notable in passing. The place has some excellent little displays and galleries. I visited their Boer War exhibition and the main gallery relating to the military history of the place. Travis managed to find the old magazine, the dungeons and a re-invigorated blacksmiths shop where an actual smith practises his art for the public. All in all a fascinating little stop for which we could easily have used 2 or 3 more hours had time allowed. Sadly it did not and so it was back on the bus and off to the cable stop for Table Mountain. The cable car at Table Mountain i very interesting. Normally in a cable car you find the nearest bar and hold on for dear life and sure enough that's what everyone did, right up until the attendant asked us all to let go of the bars, step back from the sides and enjoy the ride as the car/floor revolved to let everyone share the view! The trip up was pretty quick considering how far we had to go and before we knew it we were on the table top. I won't say too much about the top, except that, as I had been warned, the view were breath taking and the scenery top sides was fantastic. We walked the whole perimeter of the top and saw some amazing views all round. The top remained clear the whole time we were up there but the clouds were drifting in below us and covering the lower tops on either side. Not quite the table cloth but close and watching the clouds pouring over the peaks and down the sides of the mountain was superb. The trip down was better than the trip up as the car was not as crowded so the viewing was even better. I'm not sure how far up/down he cable car goes but the whole trip is no more than 3 minutes of so all in. The views we had seen were comparable to the views earlier in the day from the helicopter and the whole thing was a very memorable experience. Once we were down we headed off for supper. Initially we took the route which carried on from the way we had driven up to the cable station but the road was closed off with a chain so we had to back track. We headed into town and went for sushi at a place Deb had found online where we had the most amazing supper at a restaurant billed as the best sushi in Cape Town. It's the only sushi I've had there, so I can't say for certain, but it was certainly some of the best sushi I've ever eaten!

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