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A trip to paradise? Not exactly…

After enjoying months without rain, our friends in Cape Town were convinced they lived in a paradise where the sun always shone – and they never ceased to remind us Joburg folk, suffering through a cold, graey winter, of this fact. Yet, as I checked the weather in The Star the morning of our flight to Cape Town, I was shocked to see a forecast of storm clouds and lightning. What terrible luck, I thought, as I placed my umbrella in my hiking backpack and jumped in the taxi to the airport.

Wishful and positive thinking did us no good during the flight – it rained all weekend. It rained as we partied up until all hours of the night at very trendy clubs – Ignite (overlooking the beach) and Hemisphere (on the 31st floor of the ABSA building, with an outstanding view of the city). It rained as we took a side-trip to the wine country of Stellenbosch, to see a different part of the Cape. It even rained as we walked around parliament, and the museums surrounding gardens.

On our last day, however, we had hope that it would stop raining just long enough for the tablecloth of clouds to be swept off the top of Table Mountain, so we could climb up for “the best view of Cape Town.”

Waking up – quite tired after a 5:30 am return from Hemisphere – we stumbled out of bed and took a taxi to the mountain’s base (where the Cableway is). “It looks okay,” I said hesitantly. We were all determined to climb the mountain. We even had a name: Team America , comprising 5 Americans, one who had never been hiking before, determined to go up no matter what.

And up we went, snapping pictures at the wonderful view and cursing the fact that the hiking trail – Platteklip Gorge – was unforgivingly vertical. Pretty soon, though, the views began to change – from fantastic to fog. “We are playing in the heavens,” I said. I had never seen anything like this, to be able to play in the clouds like angels and watch them physically pass around us – it was unbelievable… and a bit scary, I’m not going to lie.

As we climbed higher up the mountain and into the clouds, the rain began to fall harder and harder – I even had to put my friend Mike’s hair into a ponytail to keep it out of his face. More rain brought more misery – we were wet, cold and tired. Eventually, we made it to the top, though – and ran straight for the Cableway to get back down. We came, we climbed, we conquered… all we wanted now was a hot shower.

All in all, I thought Capetown was a wonderful city – even quite beautiful in the rain. I will definitely have to get back sometime soon.