The final few centimetres were by far the trickiest. Every fibre in my being was yelling at me to scamper off to safer ground, yet here I was inching myself backwards towards the edge of the sheer cliff – all 112m disappearing behind my heels. It was do or die time – okay, let’s avoid the word ‘die’.
Next: the obligatory pause for a pic, leaning backwards right on the edge with arms raised in a ‘Cape Town wave’, as ever-cheerful Govan our instructor put it. At this point it was about going with the flow (and gravity) and trusting the equipment, and the briefing we’d been given. I fear my pseudo smile betrayed my racing pulse and churning gut. Did I mention heights and I aren’t the best of pals?
Foraging for firm traction with every shoe placement, bit by bit I manoeuvred my way down and bit by bit my fear transformed into elation – I was dangling off the edge of Cape Town’s beloved Table Mountain, the most iconic of all the city’s attractions. No visit to this corner of South Africa is complete without planting your feet squarely on the top – be it via a hike up (my preferred method) or the cableway. But, abseiling off the edge right next to the upper cable station, down a vertical rockface and then into nothingness before your feet finally touch down again – that’s pure euphoric bliss. Bliss which, with a little retrospective contemplation, comes highly recommended even if you do have a slight aversion to heights.
The team at Abseil Africa are rockstars (excuse the pun). They tell you everything you need to know, supply all gear, and they have an impeccable track record – something you definitely want from your abseiling operator. Next time I think I’ll attempt a few jump out and rappel down manoeuvres … or perhaps not.
Who Abseil Africa
Where Table Mountain
When 10 am – 3 pm (weather permitting)
Cost R695 pp (excluding cableway ticket), R850 pp (hike and abseil combo)
Contact +27 21 424 4760, +27 72 065 1520 (send text after hours), www.abseilafrica.co.za
Photography Mark Samuel, Abseil Africa