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Cape Point (South Africa)

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Is situated in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa.

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      15.02.2012 11:08
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      Beautiful, wild coastal scenery

      Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope on the Cape Peninsula are about two hours south west of Cape Town, South Africa. The best way to access this area in my opinion is by private transport for flexibility, but you can also pick one of the many organised tours that run from Cape Town. My trip was organised and run by the company I bought my holiday from and was included in my holiday package. It is in the Southern section of Table Mountain National Park and you will see a variety of flora and fauna on your way down. Admission to the Cape Point area was ZAR 80 (£7/$12) for adults in 2011. It is a further ZAR35 for a one-way ride in the funicular or ZAR45 for the return. The Cape is open daily from 6am in summer or 7am in winter and closes at 6pm or 5pm depending on season. The funicular, restaurant and gift shops operate usual business hours of 9am to 5pm.

      We arrived late morning and explored the Cape Point and had a little picnic. You must be careful of disposing of your rubbish because a lot of the local wildlife is attracted to the area and the leftover food, which is not good for them. The bins at the car park area are located within the walls by the gift shop to prevent easy animal access. Baboons in particular can be quite aggressive, we didn't see any whilst we were picnicking but spotted some on our way back at the side of the road and also going through some wheelie bins of some of the homes en route. I don't recommend approaching them; we stayed in the safety of our bus and watched through the windows.

      The first thing we did was climb to the Cape Point lighthouse. This is a steep, uphill walk on paths but with some steps. It didn't take us long - maybe about 10-15 minutes with stops to admire the view and take photos. You will be panting when you get to the top though. The lighthouse isn't open to the public, but there is a sign-post next to it telling you the distance to a number of international destinations which makes a good photo. You can look down on the cliffs and watch the choppy ocean with full understanding why they needed a lighthouse here. There has been a lighthouse on this point since 1859, but the current one dates from 1914.

      Below the lighthouse, down the hill a little way, is the funicular down (you can get it up too). This is a new funicular, (fully wheelchair accessible) added in 2010, and was first installed in 1996, prior to that it was a bus. It is a short journey of only 3 minutes or so. It is worth noting that if you are coming up or down or both ways in the funicular that you need to buy your ticket at the bottom. Also, you have to walk up some steps to the actual lighthouse, but there are some lovely views still from the upper funicular level that you wouldn't miss much if you were unable to manage them. There is also a restaurant at this level, but I didn't visit.

      At the bottom of the funicular is a gift shop, selling the usual assortment of postcards, toy animals, T-shirts etc and was reasonably tasteful. The lavatories were here also, as was a place to get hot drinks and snacks.

      From the Cape Point car park we embarked on an hour walk to the Cape of Good Hope. Part of the walk is wooden boardwalk, but mainly it is un-paved paths with some inclines and inevitable declines. You do see some stunning scenery on this walk, and I recommend it. There are a few points to take a breather with some rocks to sit on and admire the view. We were fortunate to see some dassies whilst we were on the walk. They are brown creatures, visually similar to a guinea pig or an ear-less rabbit and of a similar size but are actually related to an elephant (I have no idea how this was worked out what with the dassie's lack of trunk, hide and size). They can be found in other parts of Africa and are not endangered, but the Western Cape region is a good place to spot them. I don't think you need to be especially fit to do the walk, but you would need to be steady on your feet. The toughest part is at the end, and you could just skip that bit to the Cape of Good Hope Car Park, rather than climb up to the view point which involves some scrambling over rocks.

      The Cape of Good Hope has been incorrectly billed at the southernmost tip of Africa, but that honour falls to Cape Agulhas to the East. Instead the COGH is actually the most South-Western. On our drive out of the Cape Peninsula area we spotted wild ostriches and the aforementioned baboons. If you are lucky you may see eland or cape zebra, or some whales who come close to sure at certain times of the year. I think this area is worth the trip out from Cape Town as there are lots of scenic spots along the way and you will see some dramatic coastal scenery.

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        19.02.2009 19:11
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        Ghostly ship, hungry baboons and prehistoric flowers

        Cape point is situated at the southern tip of South Africa. Cape Point is an unspoilt wild and scenic nature reserve that is also home to the famous Cape of Good Hope.

        Cape of Good Hope was once called the Cape of Storm due to the treacherous sea condition that had seen many ships wreck and lives lost. There is a famous story about a ship named The Flying Dutchman which was wrecked whilst rounding the Cape in heavy weather in 1680. The captain then swore that he would round the Cape if it took him until doomsday. Legend believes that he has kept his word and has been sighted on numerous occasions.

        The rocky coastline of Cape of Good Hope makes this story very believable. The crashing of the waves could sometimes rise above 10ft against the rocky cliffs. On a positive note, this scenario makes great photo opportunity.

        Cape Point is part of the Table Mountain National Park. There are many rich and diverse fauna and flora in the vast and sandy flat landscape with rugged cliffs and steep slopes. There is a treasure trove of 1,100 species of indigenous plants, various types of fynbos plants, freesias, daisy, lilies and iris and the spectacular proteas, which are often referred to as prehistoric plant.

        There is an old lighthouse at the top of Cape Point. Built in 1860, it was unable to function effectively due to mist and fog. The second lighthouse was built in 1919 and has since remained as a powerful beacon of light on the South African coast. You can either walk or take a funicular to the top of Cape Point. The funicular is named after the ghost ship, "The Flying Dutchman". The funicular can transport 40 people at one time and runs on a long track which curves vertically and horizontally. We took the funicular to the top and walk down on our return. Though the walking trail in on a slope, it is pleasant and easy as it is not steep.

        Funicular ride: Return -adult R36 , students and pensioners - R12
        Single - adult R27

        The restaurant called the Two Oceans Restaurant offer indoor and outdoor dining. The restaurant is perched at the cliff edge with the ocean stretching far out to the horizon. Watch out for baboons as they crept quietly hoping to grab your food. We were sitting on the wooden decking when suddenly, a waiter came and told us to be careful of our bags and our food as a baboon is loitering on the canopy above us. It must be feeding time suddenly; there were many baboons near us. There was a male baboon was trying to get into the restaurant as the baby baboons clung onto their mother waiting for food. Though it was fascinating observing the behaviour of the baboons, we were warned that they are dangerous. In fact, we witness a baboon snatch a pie from a visitor as he walk towards his car.

        Besides baboons, there are also many bird species in the Cape. If you enjoy bird watching, you would be able to feast your eyes on birds like the Rock Kestrel, Kite, Fish Eagle, Eagle Owl and Jackal.

        You can get to Cape Point Nature Park either in a rented car or you could join a tour. If you are travelling in a small group, you could even hire a mini bus and a guide to show you the place. You have to pay to enter the park, and it cost R60 per adult and discount is given to children under 12. The gate closes at sunset and the time varies according to the season.

        I went twice to Cape Point during my three week visit to Cape Town. There is something mystical about the place. Perhaps it is the history of the treacherous coastline, stories of shipwrecks and heroic encounters of sailors who have conquer the erratic sea condition.

        Exchange rate: £1 to R13 ( approx)

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      • Product Details

        Is situated in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa.

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