One of the top attractions in Cape Town is a visit to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. Cape Point is around 60km from Cape Town, is part of Table Mountain National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Many people think that Cape Point is where the two oceans (Indian and Atlantic) meet but that’s actually Cape Agulhas, which is about 255 km away in the western Cape. However you can visit the most south westerly point of the African continent at Cape Point, which is The Cape of Good Hope.
How to get to Cape Point
Cape Point isn’t accessible via public transport. Most people either visit by car or they are part of a tour group. We have visited Cape Point, and the Cape of Good Hope, twice – once with a private tour guide and another time with the Hop on Hop Off buses. The latter tour combined visiting the penguins at Boulders Beach with a trip to Cape Point.
What is there to do at Cape Point?
Enjoy the flora and fauna
The Cape is home to the sixth floral kingdom of the world. Cape Point, which is part of the Table Mountain National Park, is home to 1,100 indigenous plant species that grow nowhere else in the world! As well as all the flora, you’ll spot fauna too – such as ostriches, the Cape mountain zebra, the eland and more. And if you visit between June and October, you may even see whales on their annual migration. If you’re a bird lover, there are 250 bird species in the national park, some of which are unique to the area.
Visit the lighthouses
Cape Point actually has two lighthouses. The first one, and the one that everyone visits, was built in the 1850s. However, as it was built high on the rocks, it was often covered in cloud or fog. When it was visible, ships coming from the East could see it easily and it caused them to come too close, resulting in them hitting the rocks. It was only in 1911 when the Portuguese ship, the Lusitania, crashed on the rocks below it and ended up a shipwreck, that it was retired and a new lighthouse was built.
The Old Lighthouse can be visited by walking or by taking The Flying Dutchman funicular. The New Cape Point Lighthouse can be visited by walking a trail located near the top of the funicular station.
Take a ride on The Flying Dutchman
The Flying Dutchman is apparently the first commercial funicular built in Africa. It opened in 1996 and takes visitors from the car park to near the Old Lighthouse via a steep 3 minute ride through dense fynbos.
Hike along the trails
There are lots of hiking trails that you can do, including The Cape of Good Hope Overnight Hike. Of course, if you’re just doing a day trip you may want to do a shorter hike. We did a 40 minute one that took us from the car park, along the cliff, past Dias Beach then up the hill for stunning views over the Cape of Good Hope. You end the hike at the famous sign. It was a relatively easy hike, although you did need to watch your step and wear appropriate shoes.
Visit Dias beach
There is a beautiful beach at Cape Point, called Dias beach, that can be accessed via wooden stairs. If you’re visiting during summer, make a day of it and factor in some time to enjoy the beach. It’s also the perfect place to spot whales! Be warned though that the water is cold and the currents can be strong so it’s not advisable to swim.
Get your photo take at the famous Cape of Good Hope sign
The Cape of Good Hope was originally called the Cape of Storms in the 15th century by Bartolomeu Dias, due to the tumultuous stormy weather. However, he changed it to the more optimistic Cape of Good Hope after a suggestion by The King of Portugal.
Visiting Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope is definitely worth a day trip from Cape Town. There is a restaurant and a take out shop where you can get lunch – just beware of the baboons! If you don’t want to spend all day, combine it with a trip to Simon’s Town to see the penguins at Boulders Beach.
What does it cost?
For adults with South African ID it’s R94 to enter Cape Point, R376 for international visitors and R188 for SADC Nationals. The funicular costs R75 one way or R90 return. Check prices here before your visit.
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