Cape Point is one of the most popular places in Cape Town. It’s probably most famous for something which isn’t true. Many people believe that Cape Point is where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet when in fact they meet at Cape Agulhas further south. Despite this rather disappointing fallacy, Cape Point explodes with natural beauty, attractions and things to do.
The first lighthouse built at Cape Point was a bit of a bomb. It was big and beautiful and the light shone for miles. But it was built too high to be of much use. Its light was often obscured by clouds and it did very little to warn away ships. So it was moved about 151m downward where its light can always be seen.
These days you can walk up a rather steep climb to see the old lighthouse or hop on the Flying Dutchman Funicular, which will get you there in considerably less time and with considerably less effort. However, you won’t be able to stop and admire the crashing waves below or the swooping cormorants, or taste the purest air in the Cape as it blows back your hair.
Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is part of the much larger Table Mountain National Park. The reserve boasts over 250 species of birds, chicma baboons, Cape Mountain Zebra, ostriches and fynbos. The fynbos is particularly striking in the reserve and enticed the Good Hope Nursery from its spot in Hout Bay to Cape Point in 1986.
There are a number of hiking trails in the reserve, some longer than others. For instance, there is a two-day, 34km circular route, a six-hour trail and several shorter trails of between 15 minutes and two hours.
Good Hope Nursery
The nursery is primarily dedicated to fynbos. Its specimens are so good that it often sends plants to Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden and Table Mountain National Park. It has a tea room and kids’ play area and provides guided fynbos walks for those who are interested.
Cape Point Ostrich Farm
Among the varied wildlife you’ll see wandering the reserve are ostriches. They tend not to care too much about human interlopers and more often than not will eye visitors with casual indifference. But don’t provoke them because they’re very fast runners and have powerful legs for kicking and nasty feet for disembowelling.
If you want to see the birds in a much safer environment you can pop on down to the ostrich farm which offers tours in English, German and French. There is a tea garden at the farm where you can buy all manner of delicacies, including all things ostrich.
When you tire of the views at the point you can wend your way down to one of the many beaches that dot both the Indian and Atlantic sides of the coast. This close to the meeting point there is very little difference in temperature between the two oceans; they hover around a slightly below comfortable cold.
There are tidal pools to keep swimmers (young and old) safe from the tricky currents and waves. The beaches work best as picnic or braai spots (ensure that your fires are properly extinguished before you leave) and serve as excellent starting points for short exploratory excursions in the reserve.
Considering that the Cape is also known as the Cape of Storms, and considering the spotty success of the first lighthouse, it shouldn’t be surprising that there a number of wrecks around the point for divers to explore. The currents can be strong, however, so they are best left to divers with some experience.
Two Oceans Restaurant
If you don’t want to picnic and have a yen for fine dining then give the Two Oceans Restaurant a go. It’s open on one side to provide views of the coast and the food is divine.
Cape Point is accessible via Chapman’s Peak, Kommetjie and Scarborough, as well from Ou Kaapse Weg or the coast road from Simon’s Town.
Contact the Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre for more information on 021 780 9010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org