Mama Africa, Long Street, Cape Town, South Africa. Page 4.
Since it was Friday night and Percy was going out anyway he invited me along to Mama Africa for the evening, a venue that has live bands every night.
Mama Africa is a restaurant-cum-bar-cum-club type of affair. The walls are full of murals and artwork that do a good job of reflecting in a unique way black South African culture.
The restaurant and bar are one of the same with some people just drinking, others eating at the bar, while others are sat at tables.
The bar takes the form of a gigantic snake that starts as a tail coming over and down a wall, curves round in an 'S' shape to form the top of the bar, with its head some 40 feet away from its tail.
Mama Africa’s menu is an eye-popping variety of many African dishes and it was difficult for me to choose between Crocodile, Kudu or Springbok steaks or a delightfully described Malay curry.
On this particular night they had a local African Marimba band called Abakhaya playing. A 7, sometimes 8 piece band, they play acoustically making do with a collection of wooden xylophones and some African drums and a lead singer who oozed charisma. Abakhaya are good and talented musicians, they swap around instruments and singing duties and even like to throw in a little opera, although it is more of the Gilbert and Sullivan light variety than full-on Tosca. I am sure that the cocktails followed by the far-too-many-to-count vodkas helped, but Abakhaya made the place dance as they played all night and almost non-stop.
There is nothing hardcore about Mama Africa as a venue and as good and talented as Abakhaya are and how authentic their local credentials may be, I doubt they represent the cutting edge of South African music, black or white. If Mama Africa was in your home town you would probably dismiss it as a place that tourists go to and in that respect it is a place you could take your mother and your grandmother. But what Mama Africa do, they do very well and if you did go, you, your mother and your grandmother would have a really great time.
I wasn't sure what time we left, to tell the truth I wasn't too sure how we left either, or how I got to my hotel - I have decided to spoil myself by upgrading to the Cape Heritage on Bree Street (an old colonial hotel surrounding the very pretty Heritage Square) – but thankfully I had Percy to get me back to my hotel safe and sound and I only had to contend with the "Where am I?, Who am I?, What am I doing here?” questions in the morning.
Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa –
The next morning Percy arrived on time to start a new South African day. I on the other-hand was not ready, the previous night's activities had taken their toll, I crawled into the bus and then crawled straight back out again after Percy took one look at me and politely suggested that I looked as if I could do with a few more hours sleep. A mighty fine suggestion it was too, which I gladly approved of.
After a few hours unscheduled but much needed sleep, I rang Percy on the handy mobile phone he had thoughtfully provided for me, to say that I felt well enough to start my day again.
First on today's agenda was to have been a cable car ride to the top of the ever present Table Mountain.
By the time I was back on board the luxury minibus, it was another sunny day but Table Mountain had part of its famous “table cloth” on and Percy questioned whether it was a good day to go to the top, or even if the cable car was running. A quick phone call to ground control though said that the cable car was running, although visibility at the top was apparently not perfect.
What you learn quickly with Cape Town is that it can often have four seasons weather in a single day, the Table Mountain table cloth is put on and taken off with considerable regularity as though it was being prepared between sittings at a busy restaurant.
Percy said that it was touch and go and that if I wanted to I could re-arrange the day to see if things changed, although there was no guarantee that any change would be for the better, in the end I decided it was worth a punt.
Surprisingly there are two ticket options, single or return, as it is apparently possible to walk up or down the mountain. No one seems to suggest that anything other than the return ticket option is the one to go for but I would be curious to know how many singles they get asked for.
The cable car is interesting in itself as it races up the mountain at a brisk pace and the cable deck spins round 360 degrees to give everyone a fair turn of the view in every direction. As the cable car reached the halfway point its twin rushes past on the way down and as we reach the top we see some climbers negotiating the sheer rock face, someone really should tell them that the cable car is quite reasonably priced for the return journey.
At the top of the mountain it is misty as we look down towards what should be the City Bowl of Cape Town. At the top it is strangely quiet and still. Surprisingly there is an abundance of plant life and even the odd Dassie (more of those much later), I'm not sure if they took the single or return ticket option.
As I peered over the edge, Cape Town came briefly into view between the clouds, before the swirling wind blew and the city disappeared again. However, despite Cape Town reluctance to pose, looking South and West from the summit I had a perfect view of the Twelve Apostles Mountains and Camp Bay unobstructed by cloud.
What a view!
Louise with Camps Bay in the distance
It may be wise to always wait for a clear day before doing Table Mountain but the cloud can come and go from one moment to the next and some of photographs on display show that sometimes the spectacular and dramatic view of cloud forming below the peak can make it appear like you are standing on a cloud.
After the swift journey down as I exited the cable car, I looked back up to see that in the few minutes it has taken to travel down, the table cloth had all but gone leaving a now perfectly clear view slightly mocking me, "I'll have him next time, and there will be a next time" I thought.
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