A serving of biking and wine on Table Mountain

Views from the top of Table Mountain. (Courtesy)

My unforgettable experience with Table Mountain, one of the oldest mountains in the world, started before I had even set foot on land.

We arrived at Cape Town at 6am on a cruise ship, the gorgeous MSC Splendida. We had our final breakfast while docked awaiting disembarkation, with Table Mountain in full, magnificent view, juxtaposed by the orange morning light streaming in through the ship’s giant windows.

When we disembarked, we were greeted by an energetic dance troop at Cape Town Terminal, a fitting welcome back to land. We had a lot of activities ahead of us.

Our first stop was the V&A Waterfront, a shopping centre located in the oldest working harbour in the Southern hemisphere. It is a great place for lovers of retail therapy, with endless options to choose from. 

After a sumptuous lunch, it was off to some quad-biking at the Witzands Aquifer Nature Reserve. The reserve is famous for the Atlantis Dunes, sand dunes which cover 500 hectares of the reserve. You can also do sandboarding and off-road motorcycling on the dunes.

Learning how to ride the quad-bikes is fairly easy, and with a couple of safety instructions and learning how to start, stop and steer left and right, you are good to go. We did this for half an hour, before heading to the Southern Sun Hotel, where we would be staying.

Dinner was at a restaurant outside of the hotel, known as The Bungalow, and we had an incredibly delicious three-course meal, mad compliments to the chef there.

After a whole day of getting teased by views of Table Mountain everywhere we went, it was finally time to go to the mountain itself the next day.

You can choose to hike, but we used the aerial cableway. We got our tickets, which the staff told us not to lose or else we would have to hike back down the mountain.

Emil Kluge, a wine-maker at the Morgenhof Estate talks about their wines during wine-tasting. (Courtesy)

The aerial cable cars spin 360 degrees as you go to the top of the mountain and back down, giving you beautiful panoramic views of the ocean and the mountain. The mountain is like a table, mostly flat at the top for three kilometres and with stairs carved into the rock in the steep areas.

On our way, we had been advised to don warm clothing, but upon arriving the weather was quite clear and warm. As a result, we did not see the famous “table cloth”, a thick layer of cloud that sometimes covers the mountain even when the rest of the sky is clear.

Your journey to the top, whether by cable car or on foot, will be rewarded with some of the most spectacular views in the world.

The bluest blues of the vast ocean and sky against the coastline, human development and the grey face of the mountain from a bird’s eye view make you understand why Table Mountain was voted one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Several plaques on the mountain also give you information on the history of the mountain and the various things you are experiencing at the top. There are also handy telescopes in case you want a closer view of the distant objects.

When we had our fill of the mountain, it was off to fill up on lunch and some wine at the world-famous vineyards of South Africa. The country has a long wine-producing history from 1659.

For that, we headed to Stellenbosch, which, first planted in 1679, is the second oldest wine region in the country, and produces around 14 per cent of the country’s annual wine output.

Our first stop in Stellenbosch was the Morgenhof Estate, 100 percent black-owned, and a 40-minute drive from Cape Town.

Emil Kluge, a winemaker at the Estate, talked in depth about what went into the making of each wine as we indulged in a three-course pairing, each wine perfectly complementing the dish. 

My favourite was the 2005 Cape Late Bottled Vintage, a limited-release, fortified wine aged in French oak barrels for 17.5 years. Only 3000 bottles were produced when the barrels were emptied in 2022. It is a port wine, and as a dessert wine, a little sweeter than regular wines.

Because it is also more potent, at an alcohol percentage of 18.5, it is served in small quantities and paired with dessert. We also had some of their other signature wines, including their 2015 Merlot Carbernet Franc and the 2023 Pinotage Rosé.

After that, it was time to head to dinner and more wine tasting at the home of the Seven Sisters Wines, a winery founded in 2005 and is 100 per cent black women-owned.

There, we were serenaded by beautiful live jazz music that perfectly matched the atmosphere of the vineyard. The founder, Vivian Kleynhans, was also present, and she gave us the heartwarming story of how the seven biological sisters and their brother started the business.

When Vivian was 18, her father lost his job and they were evicted from their home, and with no means of survival, the family was split up to go live in pairs among relatives. The family was reunited 20 years later, and Vivian led them in creating the business, despite being a self-taught winemaker.

Her goal was to create a legacy for the family for future generations, and so far, they are succeeding. My favourite was Chenin Blanc, South Africa’s most grown grape and a most lovely note to end the trip to South Africa on.


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