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Chapman's Peak Drive (South Africa)

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Country: South Africa / World Region: Africa

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      26.03.2010 10:04
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      A fantastic drive with stunning views

      Chapman's Peak Drive

      This spectacular drive known as Chapman's Peak Drive has been built between the small town of Hout Bay and Noordhoek not too far from Cape Town on the south-western tip of South Africa overlooking the Atlantic Coast, and it has to be one of the most spectacular marine drives anywhere in the world.

      We left Cape Town quite early in the morning for our leisurely drive along past the Twelve Apostles Mountain peaks along the Chapman's Peak coast road via Hout's Bay and through to the Cape of Good Hope.

      The route is 9km long and has 114 curves and it skirts the rocky coastline of Chapman's Peak which is 593m high and is the southerly extension of Constantia Berg. The drive offers stunning 180° views with many areas along the route where you can stop and take in the scenery in one of the many pull in viewing points or even sit down for a relaxing picnic at one of the larger picnic areas located at one of the many wonderful views.

      We drive along the Great Ocean Road in South Australia and I have to say that this road is infinitely superior in terms of views and stunning vistas. Ever turn gave a 'Ohh 'or 'Wow' from one of us with bright blue sky, silver lined sandy coasts and secluded harbour towns nested in safe coves.

      This is a toll road for which we paid 28 ZAR ( about 11Zar to the £1 while we were there) s and you only had to pay in one direction, the return journey was free so for this small price we were able to experience this stunning drive from two directions which I felt was a bargain.

      The building of this spectacular road began in 1915 after engineers, geologists and surveyors decided on what they considered to be the best route. This route was along the soft band of shale between the mountain's granite base and the overlying sandstone. The area needed for the road was blasted into the mountain side and is an amazing piece of road construction. The road was officially opened in 1922.

      Unfortunately rock falls were a constant threat and a fatal accident in 1999 lead to the closing of Chapman's Peak Drive in January 2000.
      The reopening of Chapman's Peak Drive as a toll road took place in December 2003 as a result of one of the most innovative road engineering projects ever to be undertaken in South Africa. The reconstruction of Chapman's Peak Drive is an engineering feat that South Africans are justifiably proud of and is regarded as one of the top road engineering projects in the country.

      We reached the Cape of Good Hope and rushed up the hill to the top to see the last of the Atlantic waves crashing over the huge rocks. We had our young (aged 23 and 26) and actively fit and sporty sons with us and we had to keep up with them so it was a very speedy walk up but once up there we could see why so many sailors dreaded rounding the cape as the waves looked very large and wild. Once again when we got the Cape Point at our next stop we again speed- climbed to the top and not only looked out to see where the Indian Ocean currents met the Atlantic ones but also read about the many ship wrecks which happened off the coast along this area and it once again reminded us of the dangers of this area for ships.

      Having walked to the top of both points we were now ready for moving on to Boulder's Bay where we hoped to see some African penguins. See my 'Happy Feet' review!

      As I mentioned at the start of my review, we drove along the great Ocean Road in Australia and although it was a drive with stunning scenery, this drive far outshines the Australian drive. Other coastal drives we have enjoyed include driving along the coast of California from St Louis Obispo to los Angeles, along the coast along the south of France and also pats of the coastal drive in Spain from Barcelona through to Malaga but this drive in South Africa is certainly one of the finest.
      This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name

      © Catsholiday


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