Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is now part of the Cape Peninsula National Park, so expect a nominal entrance fee. The Reserve itself was established in 1936 to protect the region's flora and fauna—this region alone has more plant species than in all of the British Isles. Cape Point is situated in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, where the mighty Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.
Cape of Good Hope travel, South Africa Tourist Attractions
A trip to Cape Point is a must for any Cape Town visitor. The southern end of the Cape Peninsula boasts two points of interest really, the Cape of Good Hope and the more southernly and a bit higher situated Cape Point. However, the most southern point of Africa is to be found 150 kilometres towards the southeast. There, at Cape Agulhas, the two oceans, the Indian and the Atlantic 'meet'. For the early seafarers the Cape of Good Hope marked the turning point in their luck because once the "Cape of Storms", as Bartholomeus Diaz called it in 1488, had been passed, the battle against the sea was basically won.
Cape of Good Hope attractions
So named by Portugal's King John II this area has captured the imagination of European sailors such as Dias who first named it the Cape of Storms in 1488 and later in 1580 Sir Francis Drake who called it the "The Fairest Cape in all the World"
Rich in cultural and natural heritage this is one of the top tourist destinations in South Africa and includes the famous Cape Point. Due to the variety of wildlife that occurs here it is the only section of the TMNP that is fenced and visitors should look out for Eland, Red Hartebeest, Bontebok and Zebra. Elysee Palace
Be sure to visit the Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre that showcases all the plants and animals to look out for in a particular season and is full of informative signage.
This is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and offers hiking, surfing, angling, picnicking, beaching and cycling opportunities against the spectacular backdrop of the mountains and coastline of the most south western point in Africa.
The Cape Point Lighthouse itself is nothing to marvel at. While the 23-plus shipwrecks in the waters off the rocky Atlantic coast testify to its necessity, and while it is the brightest lighthouse in the world, like many of the world's landmarks, it's covered with graffiti and dried chewing gum. But the view from the lighthouse railing is infinitely more memorable. On a clear day, Cape Argulhas can be seen as you follow the rugged coastline westward with a pair of binoculars; to the east, the Cape of Good Hope juts into the cold waters of the Atlantic; between Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope lies a rugged stretch of land with a path lining the sheer cliff-face of the peninsula; at the base of the cliff, the white sands of Diaz Beach.
Cape of Good Hope tourism
After exploring the side-trails that wrap around Cape Point, we clomped back down to the parking lot and started off on the 45-minute trail leading to the Cape of Good Hope. The sand-covered route cuts through a stretch of dense fynbos ("fine bush"—plants unique to South Africa) before reaching the edge of the cliff, where the trail follows a series of wooden planks to the rocks of the Cape. On Diaz Beach far below, a group of surfers congregated, but our schedule didn't allow us the time to descend the 253 steps to the small stretch of sand (or, more accurately, to climb back up to the main path).
A quick rock scramble took us to the very tip of the Cape of Good Hope, originally known as the Cape of Storms. Stand there as the winds try to whip you off your feet, and you'll understand why. The view, conversely, makes Good Hope seem, if anything, a touch modest. From this vantage point, the entirety of the African continent seems to stretch out from under your feet. Swivel around, squint, and it's as if you can see Antarctica to the south and the Americas to the west.
One of the major tourist attractions in the TMNP is of course Cape Point which offers visitors a excellent viewing opportunities from the two lighthouses that adorn the point – one still functional, informative interpretive signage that traces the cultural and natural history of the Point. The lighthouse is accessible by foot or you can catch the Flying Dutchman funicular to the top.
For those who wish to grab a bite to eat or do some souvenir shopping our concessionaire Cape Point Partnership runs the stunning Two Oceans Restaurant and the Tigers Eye Curio Shop.
Cape of Good Hope attractions
Both the Capes are situated in the 7800 hectare Good Hope section of the Cape Peninsula National Park, 13 kilometres behind the entrance gate. The access road leads to a big, often crowded parking lot, where there is a snack bar and an exclusive restaurant with a fantastic seaview.
The last short stretch to the peak of Cape Point Peak one either walks or takes the rack railway. 120 steps crafted from natural stone lead to the old lighthouse on the Cape Point Peak, 250 metres above sea level. One can see the Cape of Good Hope in the west from there. A hiking trail of 1 hour length (one way) links the two capes. The Cape of Good Hope can also easily be reached by car.
In the National Park there are many beautiful bays with hiking trails and picnic spots. Popular is Buffels Bay, with a stunning beach and a protected tidal pool. Often Bontebok and other antelopes can be seen grazing on the wide grass patches, and sometimes baboons come there. Keep away from them!
Cape of Good Hope travel
The park is open daily from 7 am to 5 pm.
You can easily spend a day on the Cape. Extensive hiking trails weave throughout the Reserve (maps are available at the entrance). Be sure to dress for both hot and cold weather, as conditions change frequently and shade is practically non-existent, and carry lots of water. Cape Town's Downhill Adventures also offers guided cycling tours of the region and will provide you with bikes and meals, along with shuttle service to and from the city.
The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is about 40 miles as the crow flies from Cape Town, but the drive along the coast of the Cape Peninsula should not be rushed. You can approach from the west along the M65 after following the M6 out of Cape Town, but if you come from the east on the M4 along False Bay, you can also check out the penguin colony at Boulders.
South African Airways now offers direct flights from New York City's JFK Airport to Johannesburg. The flight is long—a full 13 hours—but you are crossing an ocean and traveling into the Southern Hemisphere. They also offer domestic service from Johannesburg to Cape town and all points domestic as well as throughout the continent.
In addition to the usual guidebooks, I heartily recommend you snag a copy of Coast to Coast: How to Survive Backpacking in Africa, a humorous and comprehensive guide to the hostel and backpacker scene in South Africa, Lesotho, and Namibia. Best of all, it's FREE.