16 February 2013 – Bad Luck in the Mother City

We all know that most caching trips have the occasional, almost obligatory DNF (or Did Not Find); such is life.  But then you get the odd day where the winds are against you, the sun is in your eyes, your GPS is all over the place and the Cache Fates simply throw you an empty hand…  This was such a day!

Our first failed attempt was located on the incomplete overpass located alongside the N2 inbound.  Two  approaches via the N2 failed to give us a safe spot to access it and resulted in several red-faced, fuming fellow motorists being confounded by the Sugar-mobile travelling at 20km/h in the right-hand lane with their right indicator on…

From here we moved on – maybe a bit ambitious, by eye-balling our first Letterbox Hybrid Cache.  Letterboxing is yet another form of treasure hunting using clues instead of coordinates, and we wanted to grab our first one located in the Golden Acre Mall in Cape Town.  Unfortunately, inexperience, being pressed for time and thousands of muggles, vendors, flower sellers, and other dodgy looking characters prevented us from really giving this one a go.

Our third botched attempt was a mystery cache about SA sailing legend, Bertie Reed.  The coordinates took us to the roof of the breakwater parking garage in the V&A Waterfront.  Unfortunately, this area was cordoned off for some private party function…

Orange Street in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°55.884 E18°24.802

The Mount Nelson, our saving grace; we finally found one next to this iconic pink hotel.

The Mount Nelson opened on 6 March 1899 and was built to emulate London’s finest and was the first South African hotel to offer both hot and cold running water.  It was named The Mount Nelson in honour of Admiral Lord Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and because of its proximity to Table Mountain.

It functioned as a British headquarters during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) and housed the likes of Lords Roberts, Kitchener and Buller, as well as a young, up-and-coming war correspondent named Winston Churchill…

The hotel was painted its iconic pink by Aldo Renato, the second manager in celebration of the end of the First World War.  Pink hotels were popular throughout Europe for the next few decades, and so it was that Mount Nelson Hotel retained her blush and is still known as “Cape Town’s famous pink hotel”.

The current entrance gate (also known as the Prince of Wales Gate) and its palm-lined driveway were constructed in preparation for a visit by the Prince of Wales to the hotel in 1925.

Visit Mount Nelson Hotel at www.geocaching.com


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