Cape Point is one of the country’s most popular tourist sites, but many people who visit here are unaware of the secrets and fascinating facts that have helped to make this unique rocky promontory what it is today.
Here are 12 surprising facts you may not have known about Cape Point:

  1. The Cape of Good Hope Name
    The name Cape of Good Hope dates back to the 15th century, when Portuguese sailor Bartolomeu Dias became the first European to view Cape Point while in search of the southern tip of the African continent. According to historical records, Dias first named the region Cape of Storms, owing to the tumultuous weather and treacherous waters, but later, after a suggestion by King John II of Portugal, it changed to the more optimistic Cape of Good Hope.

  1. Plant Life at Cape Point
    The Cape Peninsula’s rich and diverse plant life has earned it eight World Heritage Site accolades from UNESCO. The Cape Floral Region makes up only 0.5% of Africa, and yet it is home to more than 20% of the continent’s plants. In fact, there are more floral species in the Table Mountain National Park region than all of the United Kingdom. You’ll find many of these while at Cape Point – recent estimates suggest that there are over 1000 species of plants in the Cape Point region, of which at least 14 are endemic.

  1. The Old Lighthouse
    There are two lighthouses at Cape Point, only one of which is still in operation as a nautical guide. While still a popular tourist attraction, the old lighthouse built in the 1850s no longer functions – it sits too high above the ocean and is often covered by cloud. Ships approaching from the east could also see the light too easily, often causing them to approach too closely. Because of this, they often wrecked on the rocks before rounding the peninsula. In fact, it was the wreck of the Lusitania, on Bellows Rock below the lighthouse in 1911, which prompted the construction of a new, more effective structure.

  1. The New Lighthouse
    The new lighthouse at Cape Point is one of the most powerful on the South African coast. Its lights have a range of 60 kilometres and each flash has an intensity of 10 million candelas.

  1. Table Mountain National Park
    Cape Point actually lies within the same national park as the famous Table Mountain – aptly named Table Mountain National Park. The Cape Point section of Table Mountain National Park covers approximately 20% of the national park, and on a clear day you can see the back of Table Mountain from various vantage points.

  1. Climate Research
    The air at Cape Point is among the purest in the world, and thus it is home to one of Global Research Watch’s (GAW) atmospheric research stations. GAW is a global network established by the World Meteorological Organisation to monitor trends and changes in the Earth’s atmosphere.

  1. Icebergs Spotted off Cape Point
    While rumours about iceberg sightings at Cape Point are mostly untrue or a case of mistaken identity, according to Dr John Rogers, the British Navy officially recorded an iceberg sighting off the coast of Cape Point in the 1800s. It was just 60 nautical miles away from the peninsula.

  1. Nearest Landmass to the South
    Even though on a clear day you feel as if you could see to Antarctica from Cape Point, it is at least 6,000 kilometres away.

  1. Bird Life
    Cape Point is home to a large number of species of birds. According to Africa Geographic, twitchers have recorded over 270 species in the region, ranging from tiny sunbirds through to the sizeable ostriches. The coastal plant life at Cape Point supports warblers, canaries, and shrikes, and it is common to see an array of seabirds. You may also be lucky enough to spot a Verraux’s eagle, or the rare Western reef heron and Baird’s sandpiper – both of which have been spotted at Cape Point but not seen before in South Africa.

  1. Dias Cross
    The Portuguese government erected two prominent crosses at Cape Point that serve as a navigational aid – when lined up, the crosses point to Whittle Rock which was a major shipping hazard in False Bay. There are two other beacons in nearby Simon’s Town that provide the intersection point.

  1. World War II Radar Listening Stations
    With shipping losses on the increase in 1942, the South African military erected two small aerials that projected a narrow radar beam capable of detecting German U-Boats rounding the peninsula. Remnants of these and other military structures – including a canon on Kanonkop used to warn Simon’s Town of approaching vessels – are still visible at locations throughout Cape Point.

  1. The Flying Dutchman
    Legend has it that ghost ship the Flying Dutchman haunts the oceans surrounding Cape Point, unable to make port and doomed to sail the turbulent seas for eternity. One of the earliest reported sightings of the Flying Dutchman Funicular came from King George V in 1881, but several Simon’s Town residents claim to have seen the ship in more recent years. While the myth likely has its roots in 17th-century nautical folklore, these days you can sail to the foot of the old lighthouse in the funicular of the same name.

The Cape Town coffee scene is bursting at the seams and locals can now join barista courses and learn how to roast and prepare their perfect cup of coffee. There are many coffee spots in Cape Town that all offer something unique and we found it hard to narrow them down, but in the end we picked our top 10.

haas
Haas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haas Collective is situated in Buitenkant Street and offers a mix of collectables, antiques, a gallery and a coffee shop. Haas Collective sources some of the finest coffee blends from countries such as Brazil and Indonesia. What makes Haas so unique, apart from the art and collectables, is that they stock the world’s most expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak. This coffee is made from beans that have been eaten Asian Palm Chivets, a small mammal that inhabits forests, resulting in a mild and less bitter coffee.

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YOURSTRULY

Situated in the city centre, Yourstruly offer a mix of gourmet sandwiches, homemade pizza, good coffee and art. At night it transforms into a vibey spot offering live music, locally crafted beers and good food. It is a perfect spot to enjoy a quiet night out or enjoy a couple of drinks before heading out for a night in the city.

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Jason Bakery

Jason Bakery, situated on Bree Street, is always bustling with patrons looking for an early morning coffee or breakfast spot. The bakery is unpretentious and you can find most diners perched on the seats overlooking the street and mountain in the mornings. Jason Bakery serves Organic Single-Estate coffee imported from Nicaragua and it is recommended you take a double shot to get your morning started.

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Espresso Lab Microroasters

At Espresso Lab Microroasters is equipped with state of the art tools designed to create the perfect cup of coffee. The beans are delivered unroasted and left in the capable hands of the roasters who prepare and roast the beans in small amounts.

Espresso Lab Microroasters is a must-visit for any coffee connoisseur who would like to learn more about the journey of coffee from unroasted bean to final product.

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Bootlegger Coffee Company

Bootlegger Coffee Company is situated in Sea Point and imports coffee beans from countries all over the world including Guatemala and Costa Rica. Bootlegger roasts their beans daily resulting in a unique experience every time. Be sure to have a look at their menu as well for some of the freshest cuisine served daily.

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The House of Machines

The House of Machine is a local coffee spot serving their signature Evil Twin blend of shade grown Honduran Arabica during the day and transforming the space into a cocktail bar by night. The service is excellent and friendly even in peak times. The House of Machines doubles up as a motorbike workshop and men’s clothing shop resulting in a mix of exposed bricks, wooden beams and a bike theme throughout the space.

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Deluxe Coffee Works

With no wi-fi, snakcs or added extras, Deluxe Coffee Works focus on preparing the best cup of coffee in the city. The friendly baristas are trained in serving the perfect roast and can answer any question you might throw at them. You can enjoy some unique roasts at the bar counter or take a bag of beans home to make your own cup of coffee. The décor is minimalist industrial and it make you feel right at home when you take your first step inside.

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Origin

Origin takes coffee roasting and making very seriously and even offers courses in the art of coffee brewing. Serving coffee, tea, breakfast and lunch, Origin is a good place to enjoy lunch while on a walking tour through Bo Kaap or De Waterkant. The beans are roasted and ground on site to ensure freshness and flavour and you can buy a bag to take home as well. The buyers behind Origin travel far and wide in Africa (Tanzania and Kenya) to the farmers who grow the beans and take time to learn from them as well.

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Bean There

Serving fairtrade beans, Bean There opens at 7:30am on weekdays ensuring the city gets its daily dose of caffeine early. It has been said that the establishment in Wale Street serves some of the best coffee in Cape Town and with a flat white starting at R18 we love every aspect of Bean There. By hand selecting their beans when travelling to farms and roasting in small batches they ensure only excellent coffee is produced daily. Bean There caters for everyone and provides a creative space for meetings or walk ins wanting a good cup of coffee while overlooking the busy streets of Cape Town.

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Truth

Truth makes a strong statement about applauding quality coffee prepared with love. It is clear why the Guardian has dubbed Truth ‘The World’s Coolest Café’ as soon as you set foot inside. The décor is steampunk and built around a 1940’s cast iron coffee roaster that is still used by Truth to roast their premium blends. This café takes roasting coffee seriously and one of their baristas was the 2008 South African Barista Champion. We recommend the full-bodied espresso to fully understand and taste the love and devotion that go into creating their coffee.

 

Source: ellerman.co.za

Happy Woman’s Day! Treat yourself to a night or two with us at Mariner Guesthouse in Simon’s Town.
Enjoy a hearty breakfast with the backdrop of the ocean and mountains of False Bay, take a leisurely walk through our quaint village and visit Boulders and it’s penguin sanctuary.

Did you know that South Africa is one of the best places in the world to go whale watching? And you can even see whales as you walk on the coast paths or enjoy a meal at a restaurant with an ocean view! How cool is that?

 

Choose the best time to go

The best time to visit depends on the whales you plan to see. For the southern right whale, in South Africa, the season is between June and November. You have more chances to see them in September and October than in July and August. For the humpback whale, the season is from May to December. The Bryde’s whale can be seen year round.

Choose the right location

South Africa is one of the best places in the world to go whale watching. The route to see whales in South Africa includes the famous Table Mountain National Park, Garden Route, Tsitsikamma National Park, Transkei National Park and iSimangaliso Wetland Park. You can even spot them in Cape Town itself from the road along the False Bay coast.

It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Going on a whale watching safari is going to be a once-in-a-lifestyle experience. Of course, each experience is unique and it really depends on luck, but even seeing the whales from a distance is a magnificent sight.

Wear layers and dress for the occasion

It is windier and at least 10 degrees cooler in open water than at the shore. The trick is to wear layers and shed them (or put them on) if necessary. And remember you are on the water, so chances are you might catch some spray from the waves. Make sure your shoes, clothing, and your photography gear are prepared for this. High heels may not be the best choice on a moving boat. So opt for some rubber-soled shoes (sneakers), which don’t slip or take on water.

You may also catch a glimpse of dolphins

As it is always the case with animals, nothing is guaranteed. You may see whales. Or you may see some puffs and conclude that there must be a whale. On the other hand, you have a lot more chances to see dolphins playing around the boat regardless of when you go.

Mornings are better if you get seasick

The winds tend to pick up in the afternoon, so if the thought of going on a boat makes you queasy, you may want to choose the first tour of the day. And make sure to pack some seasick pills. But if you don’t have problems with the boat’s movement, any hour would do, but the later tours would already know if whales have been spotted earlier in the day.

If you haven’t been on a boat before, it’s best to pack some seasick medication, just in case. Most medication must be taken at least an hour before the trip. Just to be on the safe side, avoid that sickly feeling by staying away from caffeine and big meals before the trip.

It may get boring for the kids

The pleasant 2-4 hours tour may be a nice and relaxing cruise for the adults but kids don’t have the same patience. With all the standing and waiting involved, a whale watching boat tour may not be the best fit for young children. Instead, choose a family whale watching safari which involves spotting them from the land or opt for a land-base family safari until the kids grow older.

Fun Facts About Whales Found in Africa

Southern Right Whale

southern right whale

Photo Credit: rosshuggett Flickr via Compfight

  • they are the rarest of all large whales.
  • their heads can measure up to one-third of their total body length.
  • they came close to extinction between the 17th and 19th century and now they are considered endangered and have been protected since 1949.

Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale
  • they are known for their magical song, able to travel great distances through the ocean.
  • they are found near coastlines.
  • they regularly leap from the water, landing with a big splash. Scientists still have no idea if they do this for anything else but to have fun.

Bryde’s Whale

Bryde's Whale

Photo Credit: Nik Cyclist Flickr via Compfight

  • they are long and slender and have much more streamlined bodies than other large whales
  • they can live up to 50 years in the wild
  • they can lift their entire body out of the water in an acrobatic display

Source: bookallsafaris.com

Great White Shark cage diving in Cape Town and Gansbaai, South Africa is the number 1 for most on their bucket list! This is one of the greatest experiences that you will ever experience being only inches away from a Great White Shark protected by a steel cage.

The best place in the world for the shark cage diving is Gansbaai at Shark Alley which is a channel of water between two Islands Dyer Island and Geyser Rock, 4 miles offshore from Kleinbaai. Geyser Rock has a huge population of 60,000 Cape Fur seals and Dyer Island hosts many bird species as well as a colony of Penguins. The boats work around both Islands and in the channel where the Great White Sharks roam. Fish heads, Pilchards, Anchovy oil and other fish products are used to entice the sharks to the boat.

The Sharks already in the area and the crew on the boat work hard to attract the sharks and keep them interested in the boat and the divers in the cage rather than looking for prey. Should you wish to see a Great White Shark launch ( breach ) out the water which is famously known in False Bay as ‘Air Jaws’ then Seal Island near Cape Town is the prime place in the world for this.

Shark Bookings has a selection of the best shark dive trips in the world. Easy to browse and book we specialise in giving you the dream dive with your preferred shark. Browse through our huge selection of shark tours and packages on this page to learn more.

Great White Shark Cage Diving Trip

Included
  • Breakfast on arrival
  • Drinks & Snacks on board
  • Light lunch After trip
  • All gear inclusive
  • Towels
  • Hot showers

Trip Summary

Should you be staying in Cape Town and are not driving to Gansbaai your shuttle will collect you from your hotel early in the morning. After an approximate 2 and a half hour ride you’ll arrive in Gansbaai at the shark diving crew house. Breakfast will be served at the crew house where you will be briefed on your trip. For those who have their own transport it is suggested that you stay over in Gansbaai to save the long drive on the day to your tour. We have a guesthouse in Gansbaai and can accommodate you or help you book in any other accommodation options.

Following breakfast at the crew house, take a short walk down to Kleinbaai harbour where all eight shark diving boats are based. During the winter months the boats will take a 15 minute ride out to Shark Alley and in summer time will go just off the beach where a suitable spot to anchor will be found.

Once anchored the crew will immediately start to chum the water with fish based products, like tuna and fish oil to attract the sharks. With the chum in the water all you can do now is wait for the first shark to arrive and hopefully this happens quickly. When the first shark is in sight the divers will kit up and get in the cage where they will be up close and personal with this fierce animal. It’s around this time when you will get a chance to get into the cage and share the waters with this extreme predator but there’s no pressure and if you wish to remain on the boat and not get into the cage you are welcome to do so. For those who don’t want to cage dive then viewing the sharks from the boat is exceptional and sometimes even better than in the cage.

After this amazing experience we will pass through the famous Shark Alley (In Season) where a colony of 60, 000 seals can be seen at Geyser Rock. Back at the crew house we will watch the video footage of the day and enjoy tea or coffee.

 

Contact details:

Mobile: +27 82 466 4519

Email us: enquiries@sharkbookings.com

 

 

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