No doubt you’ve heard of a “high tea” before – the very British tradition of sitting down in the late afternoon to a delicate smorgasbord of bite-sized savoury and sweet treats, accompanied by your choice of tea. The Mount Nelson Hotel has become rather famous for theirs. Now, however, the Table Mountain Cableway has launched their very own high tea experience, too. Only this one, at 1085 meters above sea level, is very high: a very high tea. Get it?
Few vistas around Cape Town can beat the views on top of Table Mountain so when you couple a stroll around her majesty’s crown with a glass of bubbly, cascading tiers of delicious morsels, and the comfort and shelter of the Cableway’s sophisticated Wi-Fi lounge, you’ve got a VIP experience that might just become your best ever memory of Cape Town!
The trip to the top
The fun begins at the cableway’s lower ticket station, where you board your red or orange cable car destined for a thousand metres in the vertical. The trip to the summit is short – no longer than a few minutes, really. But as the cable car gently ascends and the rocky, fynbos carpeted landscape falls away from beneath your feet, you become aware of the incredible scale and grandeur of Table Mountain: her sheer, dramatic cliff faces and regal height above the city. No wonder this Mother City icon has become one of the seven wonders of nature.
Once we were safely delivered into the maw of the cableway station, which perches like some squat gargoyle at the extreme western end of the mountain, I made my way up to the Cableway’s Wi-Fi Lounge. This small, sophisticated, and comfortable space not only offers free Wi-Fi access and a decent cafeteria, but is also the venue of the Cableway’s Very High Tea experience. Upon arrival, guests are handed a flute of the effervescent and elegant De Grendel MCC Brut 2016 – a pleasant surprise and a lovely treat – and the high tea experience officially begins!
We took our seats around an elegantly dressed table and then the tea trays arrived, featuring three indulgent tiers of savoury and sweet titbits: shooter glasses filled with delicious tomato gazpacho and a prawn, mini lamb Yorkies (Yorkshire puddings), salmon trout pannequet, ostrich crostini, lentil bobotie bites, chicken kebab rolls, blue cheese and pickled pear puffs, lemon meringue tartlets, and crunchy, sugar-dusted cigars filled with creamy milk tart custard.
The peanut butter brownie cheesecake deserves its own paragraph because it had me living my best life for the 10 glorious seconds it took to chew and swallow. Every bite was lovely and we washed it down with bubbly, a selection of Twinings teas, coffee, mineral water, and Nelson Mandela brand rooibos tea.
Mountain summit stroll
After a good hour of leisurely lunching – or high tea’ing – I decided to spend my sugar high on a walk along Table Mountain’s well-kept network of summit pathways. Winding my way between great lumps and tumbles of lichen splotched sandstone, I noticed that here, far removed from the chaos and noise of the city below, it is deeply peacefully.
With little other than the delicate tinkling of orange-breasted sunbirds and the gabble and drawl of foreign languages to break the silence, one can actually have a soul-restoring experience up here. And it is a beautiful walk flanked by yellow tinged fynbos and tiny delicate flowers that compensate for their small size with their intense bright colours. This is not even to mention the 360-degree views of the Cape, which embrace the city bowl, the azure Atlantic Ocean, the peninsula, farmlands, and the bordering Hottentots Holland Mountains.
True to the marketing promise, the Cableway’s Very High Tea is a high tea unlike any other, and not just because it’s a sensational treat for the palate. Where else can you walk off the indulgence with a mountain summit stroll accompanied by breath taking vistas of the entirety of the Cape peninsula?
Table Mountain Cableway’s Very High Tea experience costs R325 per person (excluding cable car ticket) and is available Mondays to Sundays, from 14h30 to 17h30. Reservations can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 021 487 5726.