If a 10-year-old isn’t scared, neither should you be.
That’s what I told myself, anyway, as I stood on the shoulder of Signal Hill, wearing a bicycle helmet and gripping the brakes of a strange contraption. The 10-year-old was a girl who looked like she’d been made out of matchsticks and mojo, and the strange contraptions each of us was standing on were downhill scooters.
(A downhill scooter is like a normal push scooter, except it has massive tractor-like tyres, hydraulic disc brakes, and a heavy frame with the ability to go over almost any obstacle. So, nothing like a normal scooter, actually.)
I took a last look at the magnificent view of Table Mountain, before cautiously pushing off, two fingers over the brakes as instructed. It felt weird to be standing as I rolled, instead of sitting on a bicycle saddle, and it took me a good few minutes to summon the courage to try to catch up with the 10-year-old.
Our first adventure playground was the jeep track that snakes all the way down from Signal Hill, past the Noon Gun to the cobbled streets of the Bo-Kaap. Our guide made sure we knew about any potential hazards, and instructed us on exactly how to deal with them, so it wasn’t long before we started to feel quite proud of our new scooting skills. That is, until our guide showed off some of his. The speeds he could reach – and his dramatic sliding stops – were astonishing. I decided to trust my downhill scooter more, and was soon reaching more impressive speeds myself.
We reached the minibus, which was waiting at the bottom of the Bo-Kaap, with huge grins on all our faces. The ice had been broken among our small group of strangers, and we chattered excitedly about the experience. “If that had been the whole thing, I would have been satisfied,” said one person. But, there was still more to come.
Our minibus next took us to the slopes of Table Mountain itself. From here we would whizz through fynbos and forest, ramp over speedbumps and splash through a stream, dodge rocks, scatter gravel, and get a very thorough full body scooter ‘massage’. I think the 10-year-old beat me to the finish line. But only just.
Read about other fun family activities in Cape Town