About 20km south of Simon’s Town, Cape Point marks the most South-Westerly point of the Cape of Good Hope and the entire African continent. The Cape of Good Hope was first rounded in 1488 by the Portuguese sailor Bartolomeo Dias, who originally named it the ‘Cape of Storms’. There is a statue commemorating Dias on the way to the point. The drive from Simon’s Town takes you along a beautiful winding coastal road, with the sound of the sea crashing against the rocks just away to your left.
Once through the entrance gates and inside this popular part of Table Mountain National Park, the journey on to the point itself takes you through a rich area of indigenous flora and fauna, and provides great opportunities for viewing wildlife such as eland (the largest of South Africa’s gazelle family), Ostrich, tortoise, dassies (similar to large wild guinea pigs), and the famous and mischievous Cape baboons, who are unique in that they are the only baboons in Africa who have acquired a taste for shellfish. Mountain zebra can also occasionally be seen, and even lynx.
On the way to the point there is an informative visitor’s centre at Buffelsfontein, and there are also various roads that veer off to secluded and unspoilt beaches on either side of this narrow part of the peninsula. Some of the beaches offer grass and Braai areas and tidal pools for those keen to relax for part of the day; other beaches are popular with surfers. Though most are accessible by car, you can also explore these and other areas of the park on foot or bicycle.
The main attraction within the park however is at the very end of the road, where the land finally runs out. An old lighthouse, built in 1859, stands at over 200 metres above the vast ocean below and offers spectacular panoramic ocean views in all directions, across to the jagged mountains on the opposite banks of the False Bay coastline on the one side, and out into the open expanse of the Atlantic on the other. A signpost indicates the direction and distance to various other important points around the globe beyond the watery horizons.
If bringing food into the park, whether in your car or on your person, do not feed the baboons and be careful to keep all food out of sight of them at all times. Keep your cars locked and windows closed if stationary. If there is any way to get in to your vehicle, these crafty primates won’t be afraid to take a chance.