Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope

incorporated into the world famous Table Mountain National Park

"the fairest Cape in all the world" (Sir Francis Drake - 1580)
South African National Parks -Information Contact Numbers

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Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope

Visitors Centre
Two Oceans Restaurant
Curio Shops
History
Olifantsbos Cottage
Eland & Duiker Cottages
Cape of Good Hope Two day hiking trail
Bird Watching
Nature discovery - Bush walks
Spcialised guiding - Lighthouses
Historical Naval Tours - Shipwrecks
Diving, Surfing and Marine life
Animal sightings - Fauna
Did you say baboons?
Did You Know?

  

From its rugged, rocky outcrops and sheer cliffs, to the fynbos covered plains, Cape Point holds much in store for its visitors.
Taste local seafood fare from the Two Oceans Restaurant, perched high above crashing waves and take in sweeping views of False Bay. Experience an exhilarating ride in the Flying Dutchman funicular, which rises 238 meters above the ocean to where the old lighthouse keeps watch over the seas.
Find just the right souvenir at Cape Point curio shops, such as the Logo Store or Lighthouse 5.

Cape Point's fynbos plains are home to 1'200 species of indigenous plants, various small mammals, many antelopes, as well as ostriches and zebras; not forgetting the Chacma baboons. You are at the south-westernmost tip of Africa, and the adventure has just begun.

Visitors Centre

Ph: 021 780 9010/11. Fax: 021 780 9203
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www.capepoint.co.za

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Two Oceans Restaurant


Ph: 021 780 9200. Fax: 021 780 9060
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Available for private functions anytime
Open daily 09h00 - 17h00.

  

Curio Shops

Ph: 021 780 9066 or 021 780 9202 or 021 780 9111
Open daily 09h00 - 18h00.

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HISTORY

Situated at the junction of two of earth's most contrasting water masses - the cold
Benguela current on the West Coast and the warm Agulhas current on the East Coast , the Cape of Good Hope is popularly perceived as the meeting point of the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. Geographically, however, the Indian Ocean joins the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Agulhas.
The local authority proclaimed the area a nature reserve in 1938 and it was incorporated into the Table Mountain National Park in 1998.
It encompasses 7'750 hectares of rich and varied flora and fauna and its 40 kilometre coastline stretches from Schuster's Bay in the west to Smitswinkel Bay in the east. The cliffs at the southern point, towering more than 200 metres above the sea, consists of three clearly defined promontories - Cape of Good Hope, Cape Maclear and Cape Point.
History of human habitation dates back to the early Stone Age, and San hunter-gatherers and Khoi pastoralists lived here. Many middens are found along the coast. Early European seafarers who circumnavigated the Cape of Good Hope include the 15th century Portuguese explorers, Bartholomew Dias and Vasco Da Gama , whose journeys led to the establishment of the Cape sea route to the East To commemorate their voyages of discovery, two navigational beacons have been erected at strategic points.
In 1488, Dias named the peninsula Cabo Tormentoso, or the Cape of Storms. Portugal's King John II later gave it the name Cabo da Boa Esperanca, the Cape of Good Hope. In 1580, Sir Francis Drake described it as "The most stately thing and the fairest Cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth".

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Olifantsbos Cottage

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Situated next to the Olifantsbos beach. This Self catering cottage has a master bedroom with a comfortable orthopedic queen bed, 2 bedrooms with 2  ¾ beds, a bathroom with bath and shower. A fully equipped kitchen with gas stove and fridge opens up to the lounge area whit a jet master fire place.
Dinner can be enjoyed on the covered stoep where guest can sip cocktails while watching the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean. There is a braai facility on the stoep as well as a boma where one can exchange stories around a huge fire.
The annex can accommodate a further 6 persons and has its own shower and toilet.
The whole facility is solar powered. Truly a piece of heaven on earth.

Eland & Duiker Cottages

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10 minutes drive away from Olifantsbos beach there are two family cottages. Eland, Bontebok and Zebra graze on the front lawn of these cottages. The cottages can accommodate 6 persons. The master bedroom has a comfortable orthopedic queen bed, 2 bedrooms with 2  ¾ beds, a bathroom and toilet.
These self catering units are fully equipped and you need only bring your food.

Both cottages are equipped with a Jet master fire place.
Both cottages have outside braai areas.

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Cape of Good Hope Two day hiking trail:

Nature Lovers can enjoy hours of hiking through unspoiled fynbos on the Cape of Good Hope Hiking trail. This 2-day hike starts at the Main Gate, moves down to Smitswinkel Bay, up to Kanonkop, then down towards the Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre. The Visitor Centre is a great place to discover the area's natural and cultural heritage and also a place to recharge the batteries and refill water bottles, before continuing across to Rooikranse. Here you will spend the night in one of 3 overnight huts (each hut sleeps 6 persons). The walk to the famous Cape Point lighthouse is a must. The journey continues on the second day, along the coast to Pegram's point, Platboom, Hoek van Bobejaan and then turns inland to Sirkelsvlei and ends again at the Main Gate.
Secure parking is provided at the start of the trail at the Main Gate. A drop off service for bags and wood can be arranged upon arrival.

For prices, further information or to book, contact Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre on Ph: (021) 780 9204 or Fax: (021) 780 9321.
The centre is open from Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 17:00.

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BIRD WATCHING

With its diverse habitats, ranging from rocky mountain tops to beaches and open sea, the Cape of Good Hope is home to at least 250 species of birds.
On land, the most notable species are ostrich and raptors like the Rock Kestrel, Black-Shouldered Kite, Fish Eagle, Black Eagle, Spotted Eagle Owl and Jackal Buzzard. "Bush birds" tend to be rather scarce because of the coarse, scrubby nature of fynbos vegetation. When flowering, however, proteas and ericas attract sunbirds, sugar-birds and other species in search of nectar.
For most of the year, there are more small birds in coastal thicket than in fynbos. The beaches and rocky shores are frequented by Black Oystercatchers, Kelp Gulls, Curlew Sandpipers, Whitefronted Plovers and Hautlaub's Gulls.

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NATURE DISCOVERY - BUSH WALKS

The Cape of Good Hope is an integral part of the Cape Floristic Kingdom, the smallest, but richest of the world's six floral kingdoms. This comprises a treasure trove of 1'100 species of indigenous plants, of which a number are endemic.
Two types of fynbos ("fine bush"), coastal fynbos on alkaline sands and inland fynbos on acid soils, are found. Characteristic fynbos plants include proteas, ericas (heath) and restios (reeds). Some of the most striking and well-known members belong to the Proteacae family, of which up to 24 species occur.
Many popular horticultural plants like pelargoniums, freesias, daisies, lilies and irises, also have their origins in fynbos.

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SPECIALISED GUIDING - LIGHTHOUSES

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"The Point" has not been called the "Cape of Storms" for nothing and has therefore been treated with respect by sailors since it was first sighted by Dias in 1488. By day, it was a landmark of great navigational value until the introduction of the radar. By night, and in fog, it was a menace. Ships had to approach closely to obtain bearings and thereby were exposed to the dangers of Bellow Rock and Albatross Rock. In 1860 the first lighthouse was completed, 238 metres above sea-level.
However, this light was often obscured by mist and fog. In 1913 construction was started on a second lighthouse on Dias Point, some 87 meters above sea-level. This second light was first lit at sunset on 11 March 1919, and remains the most powerful on the South African coast.
The original lighthouse still stands on the highest section of the peak and is now used as the centralised monitoring point for all the lighthouses on the coast of South Africa.

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HISTORICAL NAVAL TOURS - SHIPWRECKS

Once of the Cape's most famous legends involves a ship named the Flying Dutchman. In 1680, the vessel foundered whilst rounding the Cape in heavy weather. The captain, Hendrik van der Decken, swore while his ship was sin king, that he would round the Cape if it took him until doomsday. Some believe that he has kept his word, as over the years the Flying Dutchman is said to have been sighted on many occasions.
A well-know shipwreck is that of the Lusitania, which struck Bellows Rock in thick fog at midnight on 18 April 1911. This was one of the reasons why the present lighthouse was built.
The remains of at least 23 shipwrecks lie along the coastline , only five of which can still be seen - at Olifantsbos, Duikersklip, Hoek van Bobbejaan, Dias Beach and Buffels Bay.
The remains of two wrecks near Olifantsbos can be reached from the beach. These are the Thomas T Tucker, which ran aground during World War II and the Nolleth, wrecked in 1965.

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DIVING, SURFING AND MARINE LIFE

The area offers excellent vantage points for whale viewing. The Southern Right Whale is the species most likely to be seen in False Bay between June and November. Others species are the Humpback Whale and Bryde's Whale. Seals and dolphins may also be seen.
The strategic position of Cape of Good Hope between two major ocean currents, ensures a rich diversity of marine life. There is a difference between the sea life west of Cape Point and that to the east due to the markedly differing sea temperatures.
The South African Marine Living Resources Act is strictly enforced throughout the Table Mountain National Park, and especially in marine protected areas. Disturbance or removal of any marine organisms is strictly prohibited between Schusters Bay and Hoek van Bobbejaan, but is allowed in other areas during season and with relevant permits.
From Hoek van Bobbejaan to Cape Point, the removal or disturbance of any intertidal organisms is prohibited.
Please refer to Marine and Coastal Management regulations before undertaking any recreational diving or angling activities in the Park.

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ANIMAL SIGHTINGS - FAUNA

Due to sandy soils, the area is unable to sustain a number of large animals and those that are present are not easily seen. However, there is a wealth of insects, lizards, tortoises (including the Cape Angulate Tortoise), frogs and snakes such as the Puff Adder, Cape Cobra, Mole Snake and Boomslang.
Mammals include Cape Mountain Zebra, Chacma Baboon, Rock Hyrax ("dassie"), Genet, Lynx, Striped Field Mouse, Cape Grey and Water Mongoose, and Cape Clawless Otter. Eight species of antelope are also found here: Bontebok, Eland, Cape Grysbok, Red Hartebeest, Grey Rhebok, Steenbok and Grey Duiker. Klipspringers have been re-established recently after an absence of almost 70 years.

Did you say baboons?
The Chacma Baboon ( Papio ursinus) troops on the Cape Peninsula are the only protected population of this species in Africa. They subsist on fruits, roots, honey, bulbs, insects and scorpions. During low tide, they may be seen roaming the beaches, feeding on sandhoppers and shellfish, behaviour believed to be unusual in primates. Please be aware that baboons can be dangerous and are attracted by food. Visitors must not feed or tease them.

  • DO keep a safe distance from baboons
  • DO move away slowly if a baboon approaches you
  • DO NOT display food when baboons are visible
  • DO NOT open the windows or doors of you car when baboons are present
  • DO NOT feed baboons. You will be fined.

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DID YOU KNOW?

Cape Point is also a WORLD WEATHER STATION.
The South African Weather Bureau, together with the Fraunhofer Institute in Garmisch, Germany, maintains a research laboratory at Cape Point to monitor longterm changes in the chemistry of the earth's atmosphere, which may impact upon climate. The laboratory, which was architecturally designed to blend into the western slopes of Cape Point , is one of the World Meteorological Organisations' 20 Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) stations.
It monitors environmentally important air components, including trace gases like ozone, methane and carbon dioxide, as well as solar radiation and various meteorological parameters.
The air at Cape Point is regarded as being particularly pure for most of the time, thereby providing insights into such phenomenon a stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change.