It is inconceivable to consider a trip to South Africa without planning to go to the Cape of Good Hope. In addition, it is the end of the country, a continent, the end of a world. Finally, few places in the world can give off such an atmosphere. So, don’t waste a second and go live with this unique experience.
Between Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope
Starting from the beautiful city of Cape Town and taking the road to the mythical Cape of Good Hope, you will already have the opportunity to discover some natural wonders. Long before you reach the end of the continent, you can already make several stops.
To begin with, stop at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. On 36 hectares, you will discover one of the world’s most extensive and most beautiful botanical gardens.
Also, for wine enthusiasts, a visit to the cellars at Groot Constantia is a must. The Groot Constantia Homestead and Wine Museum are also well worth a visit.
Indeed, in Hout Bay, you have to admire the landscape. The town is nestled in a beautiful bay surrounded by high mountains. It is superb. On your way to the harbor, you can board a boat to say hello to the large colony of sea lions that have taken over Duiker Island.
Continuing south, the ledge below Chapman’s Peak offers splendid views. Muizenberg Beach is sure to please if the weather is good and you’ve packed your surfboard. The colorful beach huts are real stars of tourism in South Africa.
To finish the walk, you will find a large colony of penguins in Simon’s Town. The setting is pleasant, and the spectacle of these little animals waddling on the beach is always great.
The legendary cape
At the end of South Africa, at the very south of the African continent, the Cape of Good Hope is one of the rare places in the world to give off such an atmosphere and such an impression of the end of the world. Regarding comparisons, the Cape of Good Hope in Africa could be the equivalent of Cape Horn in Ushuaia on the American continent. First, it is essential to know that the Cape of Good Hope is not the most southern point, even if it is the most famous. For that, you have to go after Hermanus to Cape Agulhas.
Undoubtedly, today the Cape of Good Hope reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you can do great hiking there.
Also, it is necessary to go to the top of the lighthouse, which you will reach in about 45 minutes of walk. From there, your efforts will be rewarded with an incredible 360° panorama and an unequaled view of the world’s end. Impossible to go further. Finally, you are at the end of the continent. Do you feel this unique sensation of being at the end of the world? It is magical.
Who discovered the Cape of Good Hope?
Bartolomeu Dias (circa 1450-1500) is believed to have discovered the Cape of Good Hope. A Portuguese navigator, he first spotted the cape in 1488. He was returning to Portugal at the time, after undertaking a voyage to determine the southern limits of the African continent.
Apparently, at the time, Dias called it Cape of Storms. In Spanish, it is "Cabo Torementoso." Not much is known about Dias himself - he is said to be descended from the pilot of Prince Henry the Navigator, although this is not entirely proven. He was a squire in the royal household, a relatively modest role.
Today: a popular tourist attraction
The Cape of Good Hope is approximately 50 kilometers from the center of Cape Town. Thousands of tourists visit the area because of its historical significance and breathtaking natural beauty. The Cape of Good Hope Peninsula was designated as a national park in 1938. In 1998, it became part of the Cape Peninsula National Park, now known as Table Mountain National Park. A half-day trip to the Cape of Good Hope is a must for nature lovers, birdwatchers, and swimmers.
Visit the Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It has a natural beauty that rivals many other areas and can often seem quite dramatic due to the mild and unpredictable climate. It is often cloudy and windy in the Cape of Good Hope, but the occasional glimpse of sparkling sunshine and pale blue skies makes up for it by providing a landscape that wouldn’t look out of place in an art gallery.
You can hike up to the lighthouse for the best views. There are three different routes to this: along the coast, from the parking lot, or via the Flying Dutchman funicular.
The Cape of Good Hope is only 70 km from Cape Town. It’s about an hour and a half drive. I decided to break up the trip by combining it with a trip to Boulders Beach to see the African penguins. You can also see even more breathtaking scenery en route via Chapman’s Peak and Noordhoek.
Fees for international visitors
Adults (12 years and older): R$303 per day
Children aged 2-11 years: R$152 per day
Fees for SADC nationals (with passport)
Adults (12 years and older): R$152 per day
Children aged 2-11 years: R$76 per day
Fees for South African citizens and residents (with ID)
Adults (12 years and older): R$76 per day
Children aged 2-11 years: R$39 per day
You can also see baboons in the Cape of Good Hope; apparently, they are pretty confident. There are also wide varieties of birds in the area, including grasshoppers, ostriches, and even whales.
Cape of Good Hope Tour. Spend a full day touring the Cape Peninsula.
Leave your hotel and explore the picturesque fishing villages that dot the coastline. The beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay will make you want to swim. The white sand, crystal clear waters, and beautiful umbrella pines create a breathtaking setting. Take the scenic path between Long Beach and Noordhoek. Your attention will be divided between the infinite blue of the ocean and the performance of the surfers playing with the waves.
From there, you take the road to the Cape of Good Hope. Jagged red cliffs dominate the sea; on the other side, bushy fynbos vegetation grows on the shore. Clear beaches complete the scenery. The Cape Peninsula Nature Reserve lives up to the image of a wilderness paradise.
However, large predators are few and far between. The area supports a large population of herbivores, including fallow deer, eland, and springbok, which sometimes graze in the company of zebra. So, you will see lizards, snakes, and geckos in the reptile section. The park stars are to be found among the marine creatures: seals, dark-coated dolphins, sea lions, sea otters, and African penguins. The park is an excellent vantage point to see whales. The most common species are the southern right whale, the humpback whale, and the Bryde’s whale.
My feathered friends are present in large numbers. No less than 250 species of birds are listed.
Finally, inspecting the various flowering plants will make your walk magical. From the most common ones like geraniums, lilies, or daisies to the rarest and most unusual ones like Proteaceae, Ericaceae, or honey pots, which grow nowhere else, there is something for everyone. Botanical enthusiasts will be delighted, as the Cape of Good Hope's floral kingdom is among the richest on the planet.
Cape Point Nature Reserve
You can drive, hike or even explore Cape Point by helicopter. That’s one of the most beautiful parts of the African continent, where you can enjoy ocean views that stretch for miles while exploring lighthouses, listening to legends of ghost ships, and then enjoying the abundance of animals, birds, and reptiles, as well as the flora of the area.
Cape Point Nature Reserve is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is part of Table Mountain National Park. This area is home to some 250 species of birds, including gulls, eagles, Cape sugarbirds, sunbirds, and African black oystercatchers.
If you are lucky, you may see a variety of antelopes such as klipspringer, steenbok, eland, and the Cape Mountain zebra. You can find clawless Cape otters in the rock pools, and don’t forget the well-known chacma baboons. Other rarer animals to see are the caracal and the small-spotted genet. Reptiles and amphibians are also abundant – look for the rare Table Mountain ghost frog or the Cape frog.
Breathtaking views, air to breathe deeply!
So, Cape Point consists of the three headlands of the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Maclear, and Cape Point. The cliffs of Cape Point, more than 200 meters above the sea, are also the ideal observation point for whales between May and November, while dolphins are visible all year round.
Aside from animal life, the diversity, density, and endemism of the native flora total approximately 1100 species of native plants.
Animals and plants you can see on the many hiking trails that crisscross the 40 km of coastline and 7750 hectares of reserve, but no visit to Cape Point is complete without exploring the ancient Cape Point Lighthouse. An icon of the Cape Peninsula, it was decommissioned many years ago because it was built in the wrong place, leading to many ships crashing on the rocks. Indeed, the most famous is the story of the Flying Dutchman, the ghostly ship that sank around Cape Point on a stormy night—inspired by the local legend, the new Flying Dutchman funicular. Also known as the Cape Point Funicular, it will take you from the parking lot to the old lighthouse.
Considered the only commercial funicular of its kind in Africa, it leaves every three minutes and carries 40 passengers simultaneously.
Good to know before leaving
How to get to the Cape of Good Hope?
It takes about an hour and a half to reach the Cape of Good Hope from Cape Town. So, if you take a rental car, you will cross the rocky peak of Chapman and the spectacular beach of Noordhoek. The distance is about 70 km.
Best time to go to the Cape of Good Hope
Choose your dates between May and September. It’s more relaxed at this time of year, and you can spot wildlife at will due to the rainfall deficit that causes animals to congregate around rivers and waterholes.
Nearby tourist sites
Did you enjoy the walk to the Cape of Good Hope? Moreover, along the coastline, other spectacular sites warrant a stop:
- Cape Point is known for its breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean;
- The seaside resort of Kommetjie;
- The seaside resort of Noordhoek is famous for its surfing.
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