Cape Town Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

We stayed at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town in South Africa. The hotel is lovely and right in the heart of the city. We flew overnight Club Class to Cape Town with BA. At Heathrow we went through fast-track security for business class passengers, a small room, and a noticeably more relaxed atmosphere. We flew business class because of the risk of deep vein thrombosis sitting up all night in a normal seat. It’s an eleven hour flight from the UK to Cape Town.

Business Class For Health On A Long Trip

We had middle seats and were seated backwards, a strange feeling in an aircraft hurtling through the air. The bed took a bit of working out but we slept. Most importantly, going business class meant we didn’t have to worry about getting up and exercising every hour to stop the risk of deep vein thrombosis. That is not an idle worry because a friend of mine died from just such an event on a long flight from the UK.

Airport To The Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

We arranged a hotel pickup when we booked before we left the UK. The driver from the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel who picked us up at the airport was named Sendile, meaning survivor. He was a Xosa from the elephant clan. The highway was clean, and as we came to find out, all the roads and verges we travelled are clean.

The one exception was the road out of Grahamstown later on our trip. We had a car by that time and the ground for a mile or more outside the town was covered in windblown litter. In its way, it was an amazing sight – a mile in every direction covered in litter.

egyptian goose and young in the grounds of the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town
Egyptian goose and young in the grounds of the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town

We passed an informal settlement on the drive from the airport, sheets of tin, planks of wood, thrown together, the tin reflecting in the sunlight.

The room in the hotel was huge – kingsize bed, writing desk, side table, two chairs, two armchairs, a sideboard, two bathrooms – each with two sinks and a shower, a cloakroom, and a balcony looking out over the gardens and a long driveway lined with palms.

hadeda ibis on the lawn at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town
Hadeda Ibis in the grounds of the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town

Birds On The Lawn

Egyptian geese were on the lawn and in the flower beds, and Hadeda ibis in pairs on the grass poking their beaks in the soil repeatedly. How many countless holes does a pair of ibis make in the soil in a day, in a year? And there were beautiful Speckled pigeons and Cape Turtle doves, and red-winged starlings flashing scarlet as they flew.

A Brunfelsia bush in the grounds by the path had a wonderful smell. Sometimes we could smell its fragrance from thirty or forty feet away.

Table Mountain

We took an Uber to the cablecar station at Table Mountain, and joined a queue that moved quickly, or at least not slowly. We were a mixture of local families and foreign tourists. From that we deduced that Table Mountain is a very popular place for locals to come. On the journey up to the top in the cable car, the car rotated slowly so everyone got a view.

On the top we could see in two directions. One way we could see over the city and the bay. On the other side we could see the open water of the Atlantic Ocean down to Camps Bay or maybe Hout Bay and then down to Cape Point. And in front of us the bushes on Table Mountain were alive with Orange-breasted sunbirds flitting about.