On Top of Table Mountain
AUTHOR JOAN KRUGER
FORMAT PORTRAIT; 155MM X 235MM; PAPERBACK
This highly entertaining book tells the ‘story’ of Table Mountain as experienced by quite extraordinary visitors who have made it to the top of this strange mountain. Ever since 1503 when an off-course seafarer climbed Table Mountain to find out where on Earth he was, visitors to the Cape have toiled, scrambled, ridden on horseback, run or climbed to the top – and written about it afterwards. Taken together, these reports provide a fascinating biography of the mountain. Looked at separately, they are thrilling reads, penned by larger-than-life voyagers and, often unlikely, adventurers.
This is the first time that the English translations of these reports, written in various languages, including Russian and Swedish, have been collected in one volume. The first seamen who clambered to the top wrote ‘heroic’ accounts of their daring feats, the flower-hunters and other explorers were more nonchalant about their ascents, and the women who followed in their tracks up Platteklip Gorge, thought it was a breeze. And has the mountain been tamed? Not in a million years, and not with modern mountaineers and their heart-stopping climbs up the sheer cliffs.
In On Top of Table Mountain you will meet, among others, botanist Carl Peter Thunberg who risked his life to pick an exquisite blue disa, growing precariously on a ledge; James Holman, the ‘Blind Traveller’ who rode up and down the mountain on horseback; and Lady Jane Herschel who, while pregnant, still managed to ride part of the way up and then went for a canter on top. The life-stories of the 27 exceptional visitors are told with flair and humour, and together with the accounts of the ascents, provide a riveting read.