It was late afternoon. We packed up a picnic – Marie being the absolute queen and ruler of such things – hopped in the Kombi and hit the road, bound for Lion’s Head. We were not going to scale it, it was too late for that. We would do the easy thing: walk up the service road for a while, find a spot to sit down, and enjoy the sunset while we feasted.
Lion’s Head, a small pyramid-shaped hump located to the northwest of Table Mountain just against the sea, is a strange compromise in the tortured local clashing of geography and weather. When the southeaster (called by some the Cape Doctor) blows hard in the summer, coming from the other side of the high plateau, it has to find its way around the mighty obstacle. At that point, many thanks to Messrs. Bernoulli and Venturi, all kinds of very cool things happen: that’s how the table cloth forms – but more importantly, Lion’s Head might find itself completely protected from the wind, sitting in the wind shadow of the larger mountain.
We parked at the bottom of the dirt road under the absently-watchful eye of the police who seemed to be guarding the place. Then, leaving the city behind us, we walked up the path as the sun descended on the horizon, with Lion’s Head rising above our right shoulders and to the left, across the Kloof Nek, clouds rolling down the side of Table Mountain at a fascinating speed.
We didn’t have to go far. The best view was everywhere we looked but a bench conveniently helped us settle down facing the southeast where most of the action was, on the Table and the Twelve Apostles. Our outstanding picnic was unpacked and spread out on the bench. I think there was biltong, serrano ham, creamy brie and crackers, dried mangoes, and red wine. And I must be forgetting something critical… Snoek pate?
And we stared. And Abe clicked away, mounted on her tripod. And we ate. And we drank. A little bit. As Marie blogged back then, a lady patted her on the back on her way down, approving of the style. In French we’d say, il y avait de quoi se lécher les babines…
Then we realized we had completely forgotten to give anyone our ETA back to civilization and since people have been mugged not far from that spot – this is Cape Town after all – we hurried back down the dark road and called it a day. A beautiful day.