An interesting hike up to the Constantiaberg Mast yesterday morning with friends. 8.8km in distance and 510m of ascent. Sometimes hot and sunny, sometimes cold and windy. Such is the chaotic nature of the weather in the Table Mountain National Park. But on the backside of the mountain on the way up, we were mainly surviving a “bracing” gale force southwesterly, straight off the Atlantic.

Not much animal life around, but a fair selection of birds and plenty (or more) of South Africa’s National Flower, the King Protea (Protea cynaroides):

Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of reproducible information about the actual mast that we walked up to. Sitting on a mountain of 902m, it’s either 146m or 154m high, which I guess won’t really bother anyone who’s not flying nearby between 1048m and 1056m amsl. But it does really seem like something that really should be a known value.

It’s about half the height of the Eiffel Tower, which looks BIG whenever you see it. But even when you’re right underneath this structure, it really doesn’t seem that tall. Maybe that’s because there’s nothing around to compare it to. The guy wires holding it up in the mighty Cape wind – the two of which make an eerie and almost ominous sound as they meet – are seriously hefty though, as are their attachment points to the mountain. It doesn’t seem to wobble much.
And although there’s still radio and TV being broadcast from here, the majority of the infrastructure now seems to be microwave-based – I counted over 70 transceivers. And one big satellite dish.

One thing that is a little lax is the security. A waist-high, rusting barbed wire fence (and some healthy self-preservation and vertigo) was all that was stopping us from being able to access and climb the tower. (B)eagle-eyed readers will be able to see the wide open gate to the right of the road: that’ll certainly assist in keeping people from getting very, very close to this strategically important bit of national infrastructure.

We just sat there and had a coffee and some hot cross buns though, before a much less hectic descent back to the car.

A good morning out.