i went for a walk on table mountain this evening, just before sunset with a group of experienced walkers – not far, but far enough to reach the contour path and see one of the most amazing sunsets in a very long time.
it went on for ever, and while glancing from table mountain (above the lower cable station) through the saddle at lion’s head onto robben island it looked like the sea was hot molten lava. i renamed it devil’s island in my head, that’s how red it all looked. quite stunning.
we walked along the contour path until we reached the junction between the path coming up from the lower cable station and the path going up india venster.
here we encountered a french tourist about to embark on this “little amble to the top of the mountain”.
bearing in mind that the sun had already set (we were in that beautiful twilight period), and the recent history of this particular route, we were not about to let him take this little walk.
i wonder sometimes whether common sense has gone out of fashion, and when i missed that exit… to start a hike of 700m elevation and at least 3 hours walk at that time of day (or night).
he also looked ill-prepared – while he had a small backpack, it didn’t look bulky enough to contain a jersey or jacket of any substance.
i suspect that while waiting in line at the cable car, the optical illusion from that angle made the walk seem very short, and he thought it would be nice to do that instead of paying. it can be deceiving if you don’t know any better. and from the lower cable station the closest walk is, unfortunately, india venster.
we made him turn around, and then all stood their marvelling at the idea of starting such a walk now. and how to prevent others from doing it in future.
one great idea that came up was to put up a sign at the lower cable station, or at the start of the india venster route stating simply, in several languages, that x number of people have died on this route. and that it is up to you to decide whether to do this route or not. apparently such a sign has worked wonders elsewhere in the world.
it certainly has more effect than a multi-lingual sign stating that the route is dangerous / difficult / takes so many hours / etc etc some macho dude will only be spurred on by it.
but we all took heart in the fact that by saving someone’s life we didn’t have 2 sunsets this evening.