It's not difficult to find the entrance to Cape Point. There is, basically, one road that pretty much leads you to it. There is an entrance fee. You can drive to the Cape of Good Hope. We visited the lighthouse. The views from there are just spectacular. A bit windy and I think we went on a good day. It probably is even more windy on most days. You do have to hike up a distance to get to the lighthouse from the parking lot. Or, you can pay a fee to ride the tram up. They have one way tickets and round trip tickets. I paid for my ride up and walked back down.
See my travelogue for more pics!
Cape Point is a glorious location, especially if the weather is good. Actually it's probably even more impressive when the weather is foul and you get a real sense of what the first explorers had to withstand and why it was unaffectionately christened "The Cape of Storms".
The tourist infrastructure is good and - unusually for South Africa - wheelchair access is also good with well paved paths and gentle, even gradients. There is also a funincular railway for those who are physically challenged or just plain lazy (which kids love).
As you probably already know, Cape Point is the tip of the Cape peninsula but isn't actually where two oceans meet - the Atlantic and Indian Oceans come together at Cape Agulhas a couple of hundred kms to the east, but it's beautiful, so who really cares? (although, being a bit of a pedant, I wish that some of the less well informed tourist literature wouldn't perpetuate this inaccuracy).
It is worth planning to spend a couple of hours at Cape Point as there is a lot to do, with options for all levels of fitness. For example, here are several footpaths and the ultra-fit can even hike down to isolated little coves at the base of the cliffs: I'm personally not fit (or mad) enough to have tried this, but they look positively idyllic from the top! There is also a beautifully appointed restaurant which was extremely good when I last ate there (about 4 years ago) - even if the food weren't still as good as it was then (and I have no reason to believe that it wouldn't be), the view would still more than compensate!
You are unlikely to see too much big game in the nature reserve - maybe some ostrich and a few bontebok if you're lucky, so those seeking a Kruger-like wildlife experience may be slightly disappointed. However, the one animal that you are pretty well guaranteed seeing is a baboon, which is a bit of a mixed blessing. Sadly due to irresponsible visitors feeding the baboons, they have become habituated to humans, and have long since worked out that scavanging food from visitors is easier than finding their own. This can be a real danger: when our daughter was a toddler in a pushchair, a huge male baboon stole an ice cream out of her hand, despite her being surrounded by several people. They are also adept at raiding cars, and will not hesitate to jump in through open door or windows, even if you are standing right by the car. Baboons can be enormous and have extremely long sharp canines which they will not hesitate to use if they feel threatened, so you have been warned!
Update (June 2011): I am sadly informed that the elegant restaurant has been converted into a rather more down market fast food outlet - I am sure however that the view remains as gorgeous as ever ...
I went on a tour to the Cape Peninsula - definitely a must for every Cape Town tourist. We went to Hout Bay, Chapmans Peak Drive, stopped in Kommetjie (Ihope I spelt it right) and then wen further around the Cape itself. We also stopped at the penguins in Simons Town. The views from the Cape Ppoint were breath taking, even though it was so windy that we had so many tears in our eyes that we could hardly see anything ;) Me and a couple of people hired a tour guide for that - Richard Fouche. Fun guy, our age! He was quite good and friendly, I would recommend him. We used him for some more tours as well.
There's a hiking trail from Cape Point to the Cape of Good Hope, but we cover this distance of about 2,5 km by car. Mariana tells us to keep our eyes open for animals. You can spot here antelopes, baboons, even zebras and lots of birds. Actually, we can see an ostrich marching along the shore. The vegetation of this area consists mainly of fynbos with a great variety of proteas. Many of the species are endemic and can be found nowhere else in the world.
Finally we reach the Cape of Good Hope. It feels strange to be in this corner of the world known from many books and school lessons. I remember that it was Barthlomeu Diaz, a Portugese sailor, who first sailed around the Cape in 1488 and named it the Cape of Storms. Only later King John of Portugal called it the Cape of Good Hope.
I gaze far at the sea. Is it a figment of my imagination or have I seen a strange object in the distance? Maybe, just maybe, it's the Flying Dutchman - a ghost ship which is doomed to sail the oceans for ever, never reaching the port?
Cape Point - the tip of the Cape Peninsula, is a place which everybody finds inspiring. When you get to its peak, the scenery around you is breathtaking - rugged cliffs, steep slopes and the endless ocean. The vastness of the ocean in front of you is so incredible that you seem to believe that far, far away you can see the white shores of Antarctica.
You can get to the top by a funicular that runs from the car park. The travel time is just three minutes and there you are. The other option is to climb 120 stone steps. Whichever you choose, you will surely enjoy the unique beauty of the place.
At the top there is an old lighthouse. It was built in 1857. Its high position (238 metres above sea level) turned out to be a drawback. Frequently obscured by clouds and fog, its lights were not visible to sailors who were looking for direction. After the tragedy of the Portugese ship Lusitania, a new lighthouse was built; this time at a lower location of 87 m above sea level. Its light is said to be the most powerful on the South African coast.
There are several hiking trails around Cape Point. You can walk from here to the Cape of Good Hope, which takes about one hour.
There's a big Two Oceans restaurant near the parking area. Situated on the side of a cliff, it offers a wonderful view over False Bay.
Located 60km South West of Capetown, the Cape of Good hope is well worth visiting. Featuring a beautiful drive along the coastal villages before arriving at the park itself where you can take a furnicular rail car up to the point to view the scenery below, it is a great day trip out.
Part of the Table Mountain National Park there is also gift shops and a restaurant and of course the lighthouse and visitors centre. It is also the point where two oceans meet, the Atlantic and the Indian.
You can take a cable car up to a viewing point where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meet. There's also a restaurant and gift shop there and you can walk all the way out to Cape Point. Be careful of the baboons!
its a nice idea to see the 2 oceans meeting .... yet when i went there i saw nothing peculiar about this point specially. cause actually think of it.... they are one ocean and its us who named them differently.
yet the scenes are amazing there and it worth watching...
also my feeling the im almost at the tip of africa is one of a time.
p.s cape point is not the tip of africa... as some people claim.
we took the route all around from capetown Hout Bay, chappies, Noordhoek, Scarborough, Cape of Good Hope, Simonfs Town, Fish Hoek ...etc till we were back to capetown.
This is a most interesting place to visit and also very beautiful. Cape Point is situated at the southern end of the Table Mountain National Park. There are two lighthouses and the highest can be reached by a funicular. I imagine the more hardy can walk up to the lighthouse.
Once there the view is spectacular and the photo opportunities endless.
The Two Oceans restaurant is located at the top. I cannot speak for it as we did not go there but we did get a snack before we went up the funicular.
The cost is R75 for adults and R12 for children under 12.
There is a very interesting visitors center that is loaded with information and great audiovisual shows.
Directions & map
At the tip of the Cape Peninsula – 65km south-west of Cape Town – the rugged rocks and sheer cliffs cut deep into the ocean, to split False Bay from the colder waters of the western seaboard. This outcrop of the Table Mountain National Park is called Cape Point and it is where our adventure begins…
Coming from Cape Town via the Atlantic side:
Follow the directions to Sea Point, then follow the coastal road along Camps Bay and Llandudno to arrive in Hout Bay (via M6).
From there, take Chapman’s Peak Drive, which will take you to Noordhoek.
Turn right to follow the magnificent coastline to Kommetjie, Sweetwater, Witsand, Misty Cliffs and Scarborough, where you then drive inland for a few kilometres.
Table Mountain National Park’s entrance will be on your right.
Coming from Cape Town via the False Bay side:
Take the Eastern Boulevard out of town and follow the directions from the M3 to Claremont. Continue on the M3 until you reach the end of the highway, then turn left towards Muizenberg and Fish Hoek.
Drive along the coast to the historic naval village of Simon’s Town. Continue along the coastal road to Table Mountain National Park entrance on your left.
A scenic drive through the National Park leads you to the parking area at Cape Point.
Please note, the speed limit in the reserve is 60km/h!
The direct drive from the gate to Cape Point will take you from 10 to 15 minutes.
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