South Africa Part 2: Cape Town to Cape Point #RenelInSouthAfrica
I spent nine days in South Africa! If you missed part 1 click here, and be sure to follow my South African adventures using the tag #RenelInSouthAfrica2014. Today’s itinerary took me from Cape Town to Cape Point including several parts of the Table Mountain National Park.
We started our morning in Cape Town by heading up to Table Mountain. Table Mountain received its’ name because it’s a level plateau, which is approximately 2 miles side to side.
The sky was overcast for most of the morning, but we decided to take a chance. We were hopeful because on the road up to the mountain everything looked clear. However once we parked and got in line the ticket office said there was little to no visibility from the top. As you can see from the photos the clouds were heavy and swooped in within the short time it took us to park.
After a quick stop at a local camera shop we continued on our way towards Cape Point.
Muizenberg is a beach-side suburb of Cape Town also known as the birthplace of South African surfing. The shark spotting program is an early warning initiative in place where spotters on the mountain relay info for the surfers.
The black flag means the spotting conditions are poor. It was really cloudy, but that didn’t stop surfers from entering the water.
Boulders Beach is a sheltered beach located in the Cape Peninsula between Simon’s Town and Cape Point. Bordered by indigenous bush and clear waters, it’s partially enclosed by 540 million year old granite boulders, from which the beach name originates. You can come within less than 10 feet of the endangered African penguins.
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is located at the junction of two of earth’s most contrasting water masses. On the west coast is the cold Benguela current and on the east coast is the warm Agulhas current. When following the western side of the African coastline from the equator, the Cape of Good Hope marks the point where ships begin to travel more eastward than southward.
The Cape of Good Hope is home to diverse habitats including over 250 species of birds, 1,100 species of indigenous plants, the chacma baboon, and the cape mountain zebra. On the ride into the park we saw baboon, zebras, and ostriches. A couple people on the tour also visited Cape of Good Hope the day before but didn’t see as many animals so we were happy they were out and about.
There’s warnings all over the park to beware of the baboons. The baboons are known to roam the beaches looking for food. Our guide even had to warn a few people to keep their windows rolled up.
I like how the zebra blends into the scorched background. Periodically the park purposely sets brush fires to prevent unexpected fires during the season.Just on the other side of the road is the normal vegetation you’ll find driving in.I learned the female ostrich is brown because she protects the nest during the day, and the male is black because he protects the nest at night.We arrived right in time to get individual photos because there was a big bus load of tourists right behind us.
Cape Point is a promontory at the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula about 1.4 miles east and a little north of Cape of Good Hope. It is at the extreme southwestern tip of the African continent. If you’re wondering, Cape Agulhus is the southernmost point of Africa, which is about 90 miles to the southeast of Cape of Good Hope.
We headed back up the road to ride the Flying Dutchman Funicular from the lower station up to the lighthouse. It was still another 100 steps or so to the actual top.
After leaving the Cape of Good Hope area we stopped for lunch at Café Roux in the Cape Town suburb of Noordhoek. We then continued on to Chapman’s Peak Drive.
Chapman’s Peak Drive
Chapman’s Peak Drive winds its’ way between Noordhoek and Hout Bay along the steep cliffs and ravines. It’s named after John Chapman, the Captain’s mate of an English ship the Consent. In 1915 construction began on the road, which hugs the near-vertical face of the mountain. In 1919 the first portion of the road to the lockout was opened.
The road was closed in 1994 and 2000 after landslide incidents caused injury and a death. After the 2000 incident government officials sought ways to make the road safer by instituting new rock fall measures. In December 2003 the road was reopened to traffic.
Table Mountain redux
We made a second visit to Table Mountain in hopes of a clear view, but there was zero visibility at the top. We decided to buy tickets anyway just to have the experience of going up in the cableway car.
By the time we got up higher up this was the view. So much for my picturesque views. It was rainy at the top with no visibility so we spent about 20 minutes in the cafe drinking coffee. Eventually the horn sounded for us to get off the mountain immediately due to high winds.
We made a quick stop back at our hotel to drop a couple people off, and a few of us continued on to the V&A Waterfront. The waterfront had a mini shopping area so we did a little grocery shopping for snacks for the train ride the next day.
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Next up… Part 3: Shosholoza Meyl train
To follow along with my South African travels use the tag Renel In South Africa 2014.
Boulders Cafe Roux Cape Peninsula Chapman's Peak Chapman's Peak Drive Flying Dutchman funicular Muizenburg Beach Noordhoek Renel In South Africa 2014 Table Mountain Table Mountain National Park V&A Waterfront