Cape Town Kids Conquer Table Mountain, South Africa

Alliance Member: Elevate Destinations

Everyone deserves the chance to travel. Yet, all too often, seeing the world is a privilege reserved for the global elite. At Elevate Destinations, we bridge the divide. Our goal is to connect local youths to their own environments, as travelers and as stewards.

The Travelers: 15 schoolchildren from the Uthando organization, grades 1 – 7, were chosen for this special field trip based on a merit system. Three adults led the way, and a photographer joined in to capture the day.

The Excursion: September 14, 2016 – The group traveled by cable car up to the top of Cape Town’s famous Table Mountain.

The Details: Table Mountain is the flat-topped behemoth that stands as Cape Town’s biggest landmark, rising over 3,500 feet (over 1000 meters) from sea level. A ride to the top via cable car is on the to-do list of any Cape Town visitor. Table Mountain has gained national park status, and it wins as the most photographed site in all of South Africa.

The mountain is impossible to miss from below. Yet reaching the top, tourist-style, and enjoying the airy views is often out of reach for disadvantaged urban youth. On a clear day in September, Elevate Destinations and Uthando set out to change that – at least for a small group of lucky kids who are part of Uthando and the Ikhaya Kulture Garden project. Over the course of the day, the kids were whisked to the top by cable car, where they had face-to-face encounters with the local wildlife and looked out as far as the eye can see.

The group was treated to a picnic lunch on top of Table Mountain before heading back down on the cable car with all sorts of new memories to take with them.

Firsts:

  • Riding a cable car and watching through the window as the views open up
  • Spotting Robben Island and the wide open sea from a birds-eye perspective
  • Learning about local wildlife, such as the playful dassie (rock badger) and lizards
  • Taking photos and having fun on this lofty perch above the city

Quotes from the day:

“I have experienced the top view of Robben Island, the sea view for the first time and I have learned to not to be afraid of lizard.”
– Endinako Nondala, Grade 4

“The sea view and the Mountain View were beautiful. I saw the green point stadium and I rode the cable for the first time.”
– Chumisa Ntsebezo, Grade 2

“I learned about different plants, and got to taste water from the mountain. The stoned path was beautiful! So was the top view of the mountain and I saw dassies and lizards.”
– Nkqubela Mbana, Grade 6

“I saw the national flower, protea, I saw some boats in the sea, city view, shops and maps.”
– Mlamleli Kokela, Grade 4

“The mountain is beautiful with flowers. I also learned that once upon a time a dassie use to be big as an elephant! It was great to see the Robben Island view.”
– Emanuel Magwaxaza, Grade 4

“We send our thanks to Elevate on behalf of Ikhaya Kulture Garden. The trip to the mountain was an amazing experience for all of us. Most of the kids do not get an opportunity to go to such places, we are so grateful for what you have done. These are the memories that these kids will keep in the back of their mind, and it will be a reason for them to acknowledge how great nature could be. The place has managed to plant smiles on everybody`s face and that how they will always remember their first time to be on top of the Table Mountain. “
– Xolisa Bangani (Chairperson, Ikhaya Garden)

Partner Organizations:

Uthando (which means ‘love’ in the Zulu language) is an innovative non-profit organization and Fair Trade in Tourism accredited company. The aim of Uthando is to raise funds and other forms of assistance for community development projects in South Africa. It achieves its goals by offering authentic, uplifting experiences for travelers inside the impoverished townships of Cape Town.

Ikhaya Kulture Garden is an organic food gardening and sustainable living project situated at Isikhokelo Primary School in Site C, Khayelitsha; Cape Town. It was established in September 2013. It is a youth garden and farming project – community-based and established and maintained by young people. The project aims to create awareness about food security and sustainable living, and also to connect people with nature. By combining plants with forms of art, Ikhaya Kulture is working to make the gardening cool and attractive to young people.

For more success stories from Elevate Destinations, visit http://elevatedestinations.com/blog/