I had a memorable full day excursion to Cape Peninsula which is about an hour drive outside of Cape Town. It began with a scenic drive passing steep mountains, secluded coves and sweeping beaches en route to Cape Point at the southern tip of the Peninsula where we arrived at the Cape of Good Hope while savoring the stunning views of the coastline where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. During the route, we saw lots and lots of baboons. Later, we drove along the majestic coastline along False Bay and visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens where we enjoy the magnificent display of indigenous South African flora.
Cape Point (Western Cape)
Lying 60 km southwest of Cape Town in the southeast corner of the peninsula is Cape Point, a nature reserve within the Table Mountain National Park and a declared Natural World Heritage Site. It is at a distance of about 2.3 km east and a bit north of the Cape of Good Hope and takes it probably 20% of the total area of the peninsula.
The Cape Point Lighthouse
The old lighthouse (built-in 1857) gave mariners a dim view. Due to its higher altitude (at 238 meters above sea level), it was often blurred by clouds and fogs. The new improved lighthouse is at a lower elevation (87 meters above sea level). This new lighthouse (shown below), which took 6 years to build, is the most powerful one on the South African coast: with an intensity of 10 megacandelas in each flash, it expands to a range of 63 kilometers (39 miles). It is used as an outlook and central monitoring point for all South African lighthouses.
Cape Point Ostrich Farm
The ostrich is South Africa’s largest bird. Established in 1996 and privately owned, the Cape Point Ostrich Farm has turned into a breeding farm of 65 hectares.
The Cape of Good Hope
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.
Boulders Penguin Colony
Boulders Penguin Colony in Simons Town is home to a unique and endangered land-based colony of African Penguins. This colony is one of only a few in the world.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Situated on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch is internationally acclaimed as one of the seven most magnificent botanical gardens in the world. The 528 hectares estate includes a cultivated garden and a nature reserve. The developed garden displays collections of southern African plants including many rare and endangered species.
Wow! Did I have a full day and I left my Cape Town sweatshirt in the hotel! The scarf did keep me a little warm 🙂 Stay tuned for a bonus blog on Seal Island Cape Town.