Cape Point, Cape Town
I was looking at somebody else's Cape Point pictures and I wished I had taken a pic of myself at the Cape Point sign. And reviewing my pictures, I saw that I did take a picture there! I am really developing early Alzheimmer's!
WARNING: Excessive travelling can cause loss of memory!
On 18 April 1911, the Portuguese liner Lusitania with 744 people aboard was wrecked just south of Cape Point on Bellows Rock as a result the older, higher lighthouse --- so a new lighthouse was created to a lower, more reliable point with lesser fog. But I really think the older one looks better...
Although Portuguese navigator Bartolome Diaz was the first to cruise in the area, Vasco de Gamma was the first to line this point. It was also named Cape of Storms by Dias in 1488 (Cabo Tormentoso), and this has been a place of several shipwrecks.
Cape Point is also not the meeting point between Atlantic and Indian oceans - this point is 200 km farther. But this has been recognized by prominent people including Sir Francis Drake who in 1580 described it as "The most stately thing and the fairest Cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth".
Cape Point is a promontory at the south-east corner of the Cape Peninsula.It is at the southwestern tip of the continent . This tip of the peninsula is not actually the southernmost point in Africa; that is Cape Agulhas, approximately 150 kilometres to the south-east.The area is rich in flora and fauna- "fynbos" covers a huge area. Cape baboons are quite cheeky in this area. Do not feed or encourage themin any way.
The highest peak has the old lighthouse on the top. A funicular railway runs from a car park to the north up to slightly below the level of the old lighthouse and a short flight of steps leads to a viewing platform at the base of the lighthouse. From the end of the railway a second path leads to the lower peak.
A newer lighthouse is at a lower elevation (closer to sea level), for two reasons: the old lighthouse could be seen 'too early' by ships rounding the point towards the east, causing them to approach too closely. Secondly, foggy conditions often prevail at the higher levels, making the older lighthouse invisible to shipping. On 18 April 1911, the Portuguese liner Lusitania was wrecked just south of Cape Point at Bellows Rock for precisely this reason, and a new lighthouse was constructed to prevent such sea tragedies.
The new lighthouse location cannot be seen from the West until ships are at a safe distance to the South. The light of the new Cape Point lighthouse is the most powerful on the South African coast, with a range of 63 kilometres and an intensity of 10 megacandelas in each flash.
Both the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point are situated within the Table Mountain National Park. . The park is unspoiled and undeveloped and is an important haven for seabirds.
The view from the various vantage points here is staggering. Look out over the sea- There is no visible line where the two oceans meet- but the enormous swell and strong current is obvious. Countless ships that have braved these oceans over the centuries have watery graves right here.
April 18, 1911 – the Portuguese liner Lusitania with 774 people aboard crashes at Cape Point on Bellows Rock because the old lighthouse did not do its job – being at a high elevation, ships see the lighthouse “too early” and foggy conditions could also cause mishaps.
So, this very nice red and white lighthouse was put to retirement and a newer brighter one was built at a lower elevation (100 m further south). This new lighthouse has a range of 63 kilometres, and beams out a group of three flashes of 10 million candlepower each, every 30 seconds.
During my visit to Cape Point, I did walk all the way up to the old lighthouse. The view from several hundreds of feet above sea level are just magnificent and perfect for picture taking! I think this old lighthouse is a very charming one, and so I took a lot of pictures with it. The equipment for this old lighthouse were shipped from England on board the barque Royal Saxon on 30 May 1857.
There is even a gift shop nearby where you can buy shirts and souvenirs.
There is also a funicular railway that runs from a car park to the north up to slightly below the level of the old lighthouse, and a short flight of steps will lead to a viewing platform at the base of the lighthouse. From the end of the railway a second path will lead to the lower peak.
But no matter how you climb it, this is a “must-see” when in Cape Town!
So, I just joined a bus tour which brought us to Cape Point, the most Southwestern point of the African peninsula. They do allow you to frolick on th beach for a few minutes and I noticed there were several seaweeds...and they were the biggest I've seen. Bigger than my forearm --- so I grabbed one and asked another tourist from the UK to make sure he clicks when the seaweed is up in the air! He did a good job (those Brits are good photographers, hehehe)!
A warning though is you have to balance yourself when you throw it up, and don't let the seaweed land on you, hehehe...
But, this tip is really just more to highlight this Cape of Good Hope location where you will find the sign saying that this is the Most Southwestern Point of African Continent. But take note that Cape Point is really not the place where the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans meet- the two oceans meet at Cape Agulhus which is southeast to Cape Point.
One of Cape Town's main attractions is the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve at Cape Point, which is noted for its floral diversity and especially its wild flowers that bloom in the spring. The reserve boasts a spectacular coastline, with Cape Point possessing the highest sea cliffs in South Africa (249 metres).
The reserve is host to approximately half of the 2 700 species of indigenous plants contained in the Cape Peninsula. There are over 250 species of birds in the reserve, ranging from ostriches to minuscule sunbirds. Caracal, chacma baboon, a wide variety of buck and various other mammal species may be seen. The baboons feed occasionally on marine foods which they garner at low tide. Tourists are requested not to feed the baboons as they become too dependent on handouts and eventually become annoyed and aggressive if food is not forthcoming, Such baboons may have to be destroyed as they become dangerous to visitors.
There are a number of picnic spots and braai (barbecue) facilities are available. There are some interesting walks and trails with swimming at Bordjiesdrif and Buffels Bay tidal pools. Some of the best angling spots in the Peninsula are found on the reserve, and Rooikrans ranks as one of the finest in the world. Blue and Yellow Fin Tuna have been caught off this ledge. Tourists can take the newly developed Funicular Railway system to the viewsite at Cape Point where the views from the old lighthouse are unforgettable. It is almost mandatory to drive down to Cape Point beach and have a photograph taken by the sign that proclaims that you are "now at the southwesternmost point of the continent of Africa".
The restuarant is a bit pricey. The view is amazing but not for those scared of heights.
This is a beautiful nature reserve as well as the opportunity to see a view like this of the Indian & Atlantic ocean mixing. There is a huge variety of fynbos vegetation here & obviously smoking can cause a fire risk. There is a guided tour available of Cape Point Ostrich farm situated 600m from the entrance to the National Park. Visitors can visit the original lighthouse & see the treacherous conditions that caused it to be built in the first place.
Although bear in mind this is not the most southern tip of Africa.
Gate entry cost is R45 for adults & R10 for children & pensioners
Open Oct- Mar 6am - 6pm, April to Sept 7am - 5pm
The funicular costs R32 return for adults & R10 for children so best to walk up & stop halfway like my friends
Watch out for the baboons they are not cute nor are they friendly.
Cape Point is one of the greatest landmarks in the world: a wild and scenically spectacular area at the tip of the Cape Peninsula and African continent.
Cape Point is situated in the Cape Peninsula National Park and brown and white bontebok antelopes, dawdling tortoises and dashing ostriches can be seen on a drive through the pristine nature reserve. The flora too deserves your attention with 2 200 species of plants including giant headed protea bushes flowering in winter and pretty little ericas which you will not see anywhere else on earth.
Take your walking shoes and stroll down to the Cape of Good Hope which is the south-western most tip of the African continent (not to be confused with the most southerly point which is at Cape Agulhas 170km to the east). It is said that the two oceans, the Indian and Atlantic meet at Cape Point and it is true that the warm Mozambique current from the east mingles with the cold Benguela current from the west, but there is no straight defining line. Regardless, Cape Point is one of the greatest landmarks in the world and there could be no better place to have a meeting of two such majestic oceans.
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 ...
Cape of Good Hope is the most southwesterly point of Africa and is defenitely worth a visit (together with the whole peninsula). Unfortunately weather wasn't at it's best, but Cape of Godd Hope rewarded us with a lovely rainbow.
The scenery in the park is amazing, beautiful beaches, some steep hills and lonely lighthouses. Keep your eyes open for some wildlife, we saw baboons, ostriches and elans.
There's a visitor's centre shortly after the entrance gates and a restaurant and souvenir shop at Cape Point where you can also take a funicular up to an old lighthouse.
Admission to the Nature Reserve is 55 Rand/person.
And Diaz Beach. I took a tour to this place , it was beautiful they took us to the park , and then we had to ride bikes to the place where we had the pic nic, There we had to deal with the baboons while we had lunch, in fact i was in charge of get ripped of them , and then visit the Cape. I took this picture while i was walking to the light house, after that i had to walk to the cape (in the photo)
These guys can really be a problem, in cape point they are used to seeing people. And they usaully steal your food or anything you are carrying. We had lunch there and i was assigned to protect the pic nic, I had to throw stones to them , but i actually was more interested in taking photos :)
Contrary to some beliefs this is not where the two oceans meet. ( See my Aghulas page for more info)
Nevertheless Cape Point is an incredible experience. The last time we went there Chapman's Peak was closed due to rock falls and we took the road past Kommetjie and Scarborough. The whole area is a nature reserve. There is 2 200 different plant species to see as well as a lot of smaller animals.
You can take the funicular (it is a very modern bus thing that travels on tracks) to the point or take a walk. It is a bit of a climb but not the bad. The view is absolutely amazing.
There is also a restaurant and curio shop.
Stop at the Dias cross in the reserve. It is a big stone cross(see picture) that commemorates his achievements. Bartholomeu Dias, the Portuguese seafarer, was the first to sail around the Cape. This was in 1488. On his return voyage – which must have been particularly stormy – Dias stopped at the south-western tip of Africa, and named it Cabo Tormentoso, or Cape of Storms.
Cape Point is where two oceans embrace each other, accept their differences, and join the other in harmony.
This picture shows the Cape Point at its left bottom corner. However, I love the endless embrace. Feel when you throw your vision away, overcome difference and fly away.
CP is 1:30 away from Cape Town.
Ticket is R25 per person. You can stay the whole day.
This is the southern most point in African after this is Antartica. First you will drive through the Cape of Good Hope then you will take a tram up to Cape point. You will also see lighthouses (2). You will get a nice view of the Atlantic, Diaz beach and the Cape of Good Hope. It was very peaceful up there. Bring a sweater/jacket because the wind makes it chilling up there.
This is where the cold Benguela and warm Aghulus currents meet and not the meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. The area was proclaimed a nature reserve in 1938. The reserve is over 7000 hectares and you will see a diversity of fauna and flora here.