Cape Of Good Hope

You'll really blow away the cobwebs when you stand on this dramatic headland near the southern tip of South Africa. The first thing you'll notice about the Cape of Good Hope is that, contrary to popular belief, it isn't the most southern point of Africa or the spot where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.

Actually, you'll find that in Cape Agulhas, some 200km away on the Garden Route of South Africa. But it still feels like you've reached the edge of the world when you stand on Cape Point.

A Portuguese sailor first named this place the Cape of Storms in the 15th century because of its treacherous waters, but it was later given the more optimistic name of Cape of Good Hope. Seafarers believed that once they had passed this point, the worst of their journey was over.

If you're staying in Cape Town, we suggest taking 90 minutes to make the easy and picturesque 70km drive along the coastal road to the Cape of Good Hope, which includes Cape Point. Look out for Chapman's Peak and the white beach of Noordhoek along the way. You'll find it well worth the journey to take in the wild beauty of this craggy narrow peninsula extending out into ocean, which has its own microclimate.

You may be basking in warm sunshine when you leave the city but expect it to be more unpredictable at the Cape, where it's cooler, cloudier and windswept. The atmosphere here is among the purest in the world, so take deep breaths of the crisp, clean air.

We suggest climbing up to the lighthouse for some stunning views. It's a steady climb up a paved path with stone steps and not too much like hard work.

But if you are short of time or prefer to take the easy route, there's an exhilarating railway. The Flying Dutchman Funicular will take you to the top in three minutes for a small fee. It's named after the ship which was wrecked off the Cape in 1641, and which is said to still haunt these waters to this day.

You won't be alone at the Cape of Good Hope. As well as other visitors, there are troops of cheeky baboons. You'll find them playing and even boldly trying to open car doors. And they have no qualms about reaching into your car to steal food, or even climbing into the back seat. Watch out for your bags and cameras as they will take anything that attracts them, and don't encourage them by feeding them, or you'll never get rid of them.

Keep a look out for other local wildlife including ostriches, zebras, tortoises and antelopes, while jackass penguins patrol Boulders Beach, and out in the ocean you could see seals and whales.

You can buy souvenirs from the shops and visitor centre. And if you're feeling peckish, treat yourself to some great food and views at the Two Oceans Restaurant, or appetising Cuban fare at Cape to Cuba in nearby Kalk Bay.

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Find more Things To Do in South Africa: Lions HeadSouth Africa Safari | Table Mountain


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