“Stop, stop please” I excitedly requested of the driver, as we hurtled along the highway returning to Cape Town. He seemed slightly confused, and mildly irritated at the delay, but pulled over regardless, allowing me to jump out, and grab a few images. The subject of my enthusiasm was the cloud cover spilling over Table Mountain, the city’s guardian, like ethereal treacle. It was probably a common scene for him, but I’d been hoping to see it since arriving.
The mountain often seems to have it’s own weather system, clouds appear to stream from the summit of the iconic peak even on a clear day in Cape Town. The steep-sided mountain dominates the view from all over the city, but it’s top is often shrouded from view, thick cumulus clouds envelop it, or wispy, streaks of nimbus swirl around, dodging the many knife-edged ridges.
It was this almost liquid like effect I’d been looking forward to seeing most, where dense cloud appears as if being poured over the edge of the mountain. It stealthily creeps down the flanks, inching towards the city, though it never actually reaches. It mysteriously dissipates by the time it meets the outskirts, which seems suitable, it appears magical, so it’s appropriate that it magically disappears.
I’m just pleased to have been fortunate enough to capture the phenomenon, spending several minutes watching it flow over the rim of the plateau. Witnessing how it nestles into every crevice, gully, nook, and cranny, sticking like a ghostly glue to the vertical cliffs. Then slowly, steadily creeping towards Cape Town, before it mysteriously departs, just as it’s tendrils seem set to take a stranglehold on the city.
I hope these pictures do it justice, my driver should at least feel the unscheduled stop was worthwhile.