Cape Point is a famous coastal peak at the tip of the Cape Peninsula. The Cape Point Nature Reserve lies just outside of Cape Town and is often considered one of the most scenic areas in South Africa. The peak provides amazing views of the bright blue ocean below and Cape of Good Hope in the distance. I visited Cape Point in July 2014, when my brother and I were exploring all that Cape Town has to offer.
Cape Peninsula Tour
The route to the reserve is already tantalizingly beautiful, especially when cycling the Cape Peninsula. My brother and I went on a 1 day Cape Peninsula Tour and also visited the African penguin colony on the same day. Cape Point is only a few kilometers away from the Cape of Good Hope, which was the final destination on the Cape Peninsula route (post coming soon).
History: Cape of Storms
Before the introduction of radar technology, Cape Point was a major navigational landmark. It was first named the “Cape of Storms” by the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488. The rocky point and treacherous coastline became notorious for their horrible weather and violent storms. Remains of many shipwrecks are still scattered around the coastline. Because of this destructive reputation, sailors have always feared the southern tip of the peninsula and treated Cape Point with much respect.
On the highest peak is where you will find the old lighthouse, completed in 1859. You can either hike up the peak to go see the lighthouse up close or buy a ticket to go on the Flying Dutchman Funicular. The funicular was named after the legend of the Flying Dutchman ghost ship, reminiscent of the shipwrecks lurking below the surface.
There is another newer lighthouse built at a different spot. The old lighthouse wasn’t always visible, especially at night and in foggy conditions. On 18 April 1911, a Portuguese liner (Lusitania) shipwrecked just off the coast at Cape Point. This is when they finally decided to build another lighthouse closer to shore.
The Cape Peninsula is also home to a population of ostriches. I can now proudly say I have seen ostriches on three different continents: Europe, Africa, and North America! These were the first wild ones I saw. What a time to be alive. The ostriches are harmless and quite entertaining, mainly because of their small brains and obsession with food (like me). The baboons can be a lot more dangerous. Never feed the baboons!
The Cape Point Reserve is part of the Table Mountain National Park, an official world heritage site. If you are physically able to, I strongly recommend you to climb the peak and take your time absorbing the views. Continue your hike towards the finish at the Cape of Good Hope. The easiest way to do this is to join a peninsula tour group (my brother and I went with the Bazbus Peninsula Tour). Trust me, you won’t see anything like it anywhere else on our planet.