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.

A week is a good amount of time to spend in Cape Town. It’s long enough to take in the big attractions, but also focus on your own particular interests and really get under the skin of the city. Cape Town has a lot going on, and it’s worth spending some time getting off the beaten track, making friends with locals, and getting to know the authentic Cape Town. There’s enough time to take it easy, explore the places you fall in love with, or get to know the locals.

 

Day 1: Broad strokes

The first day is great for taking in as much of the city as you can, to get the big picture. The best way to do this is to get aboard the hop-on-hop-off City Sightseeing bus. It’s well worth getting hold of an iVenture card, which gets you free entry into many of the city’s top attractions. Start the day by catching the bus from the V&A Waterfront and heading straight for the city’s centerpiece—Table Mountain. You can hop off here and take the Aerial Cableway to the top. From there, you’ll have panoramic views of the city and coast. It’s a great way to orientate yourself, and the views are magnificent. There’s a wifi lounge at the top, where you can grab breakfast and a coffee.

Next, you’ll head over the mountain to the Atlantic Seaboard. Here, especially in Camps Bay and Clifton, you’ll find some incredible beaches, bars and restaurants, making this a fantastic spot to spend the afternoon. Get some sun, have lunch, sip on cocktails, or walk the Sea Point Promenade. There’s loads to see here, so you can spend a few hours in the area. Just make sure you leave time to head back to the Waterfront and catch a ferry to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners served their time during the apartheid era.

At sunset, settle yourself at one of the picturesque bars at the Waterfront, to watch the sun go down and enjoy some cocktails, craft beers, or fine local wines. There are endless dining opportunities here too, so you might want to stay for dinner.

 

City sightseeing bus

 

Day 2: Wining and dining

On your second day, spend some time exploring the Cape Town wine routes. It’s worth picking one and setting aside the day for it. There are five main wine routes to choose from, each with their own character. Constantia is close to the city, and it is home to some of the country’s oldest and most prestigious wine farms. The Helderberg is famous for its white wines, particularly chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Stellenbosch has about 150 estates to choose from, making it a good option if you want to be spoilt for choice. Franschhoek is really pretty and it is home to the Franschhoek Wine Tram, which allows you to enjoy the day’s tasting without worrying about driving. They’ll even hang on to your wine for you and arrange shipping. The Durbanville Wine Route is also fairly close to the city, with fantastic views of Table Mountain and intense, fruit-driven wines. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to find beautiful scenery, award-winning wines, and some exquisite cuisine.

Stick around for lunch. Many estates have fine-dining restaurants on site, while others have pre-packed picnics or more casual eateries. No matter your taste or budget, there is sure to be something that appeals to you.

Come evening time, you’re likely to be ready for an early night, or you may consider booking a night in the Winelands and dining at one of the fine restaurants there.

 

Constantia wine route

 

Day 3: The South

On day three, we head south. Get an early start, and make your way to Kalk Bay. You might want to hire a car, take the train, or find a tour operator that can customise a tour for you. African Eagle Day Tours does customizable full day tours, and is an accredited tour provider. The trip to Kalk Bay is lovely and scenic, and once you’re there you’ll find some lovely spots to grab some breakfast. Olympia Café does great cooked breakfasts, and their baked goods are delicious. You can browse the quirky shops and explore the harbour while you’re there.

Next, carry on further to Simon’s Town. This is where you’ll find Boulders Beach, home to the colony of African Penguins. You can take a dip with these creatures, or admire them from the walkway. Once you’ve spent some time there, it’s time to venture further south to one of the most beautiful spots in town.

Cape Point is the star of the day three show. Here, you’ll find a spectacular sight with towering stone cliffs, endemic fynbos, breathtaking bays, beaches, and rolling green hills and valleys. The climb to the top is steep and requires some fitness, but you can opt for the Flying Dutchman Funicular to take you to the top. Spend a few hours here taking in the astounding natural beauty and endless ocean views. You can also visit the Two Oceans restaurant, which offers casual but delicious dining with truly phenomenal views.

As the day draws to a close, head back into town for the evening. Consider checking out one of the 50 restaurants that locals love, to find a restaurant close to where you’re staying. If you’re up for more activity, you could take in a show at one of Cape Town’s theatres.

 

 

Day 4: Road trip

Cape Town has plenty to offer, but it also makes a fantastic base for exploring the surrounding areas of the Western Cape. Day four is about halfway through your trip, and a great time to get to know the outlying areas. You could head off in any direction, depending on your interests and the time of year. If it’s between September and November, consider driving up the West Coast to see the fields of wildflowers in bloom. Between June and October, it’s whale season, and a trip to Hermanus would offer the chance to see these majestic creatures of the deep calving just off shore. The Karoo, to the north, offers vast scrubby landscapes, small quirky towns, and a taste of rural South Africa. You could also take a trip to Aquila Private Game Reserve, where you’ll have a chance to see the famous Big 5 up close on a safari. There are endless options, and each is as appealing as the next.

In the evening, save your energy for tomorrow. Consider a quiet night, get together with your new Cape Town friends for dinner, or enjoy a drink at one of Cape Town’s best sundowner spots.

 

Scenic drive Chapmans Peak Cape Town

 

Day 5: Do your own thing

Day five gives you a chance to slow down and focus on the things you’re really interested in.There are some fantastic museums and art galleries, and Cape Town has a rich history to explore. The beaches are also great on a good day. It’s up to you—this is your day, but we’ll give you a few ideas. You might consider a street art tour of Woodstock, or a cooking course that’ll teach you how to make real Cape Town cuisine. You could visit the city’s museums, or check out the amazing art galleries.  Whatever you choose to do, set aside a few hours to visit the Zeitz MOCAA, where you can explore nine floors worth of art from Africa and its diaspora.

 

Woodstock streetart building

 

Day 6: Live like a local

Day five is all about getting into the Cape Town spirit. You’ve ticked off most of the biggest attractions, and now it’s time to look a little closer. Explore the City Bowl’s many shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and markets. Spend some time in Greenmarket Square, finding some keepsakes to take home. Go for a city breakfast on Long, Bree, or Kloof Street, where you’ll find all sorts of establishments catering for any tastes.

For lunch, head to Gugulethu, one of Cape Town’s townships, for lunch at Mzoli’s Place. It’s a a popular gathering spot for Cape Town locals and a major tourist attraction. Numerous celebrities have visited, including Jamie Oliver, who was apparently very interested in the ingredients of the basting sauce, but they are a closely guarded secret. You’ll pick your meat cuts, find a seat at a communal table, and sip some local beer, while the cooks grill your food to perfection over open fires. On weekends it’s a lively, festive, and authentically South African vibe.

As evening approaches, make your way to Cape Town’s biggest party hub, Long Street. Here, you’ll find pubs, clubs, and live music venues galore. Whatever your taste in music and nightlife, Long Street is where you’ll find it. It’s time to eat, drink, and be merry with the locals.

 

The infamous Mzoli's Meat

Mzoli’s is a must

 

Day 7: Sunday Funday

Even if your last day isn’t a Sunday, it’s the perfect chance to slow down, admire the views, and be outdoors. Sleep in, if you like, and get a late start with one of Cape Town’s favourite brunch spots.

Once you’re well fed and ready for the day, you have some choices. Kirstenbosch Gardens is an amazing place to spend an afternoon. It was the first botanical garden in the world to be established (in 1913) to protect local flora. Its lawns are ideal for picnics and there are several walking trails. You can spend the rest of the afternoon here, exploring or lounging on the lawns. If you’re feeling a little more energetic, try out one of the hikes that Cape Town is famous for. There are loads of options, of varying degrees of difficulty. It’s a good ides to get started early if you’re hiking, before it gets too hot and sunny.

As the sun goes down, head for one of the best sundowner spots in the city to bid farewell to your new favourite place.

 

Source: capetown.travel

 

Part of the Table Mountain National Park that extends from Signal Hill in the north all the way to Cape Point in the south, the Cape of Good Hope is not the southern tip of Africa, despite lying at the south-west corner of the Cape Peninsula, just a little south of Cape Point on the south-east corner.

Cape Agulhas, roughly 150 kilometres southeast of here, holds this title instead. The Cape of Good Hope, however, remains a significant headland in the sense that from here one travels more eastward than southward, and it is not hard to imagine that rounding of the cape in 1488 was a major achievement.

This said, the Cape of Good Hope is one of two world-renowned landmarks within the Table Mountain National Park, the other is Table Mountain. These two familiar attractions are what draws thousands of visitors to Cape Town, not a new attribute to the Cape of Good Hope that functioned as something of a beacon for sailors for years and is still widely referred to as ‘The Cape’ by sea farers.

Table Mountain National Park boasts global recognition for its rich, varied and utterly unique fauna and flora. This is the only place on the planet where, essentially within the metropolitan area of Cape Town, one finds such a heady mix of rich bio-diversity and incredible beauty.

Most visitors to Cape Town regard a trip to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point (the tip of the Cape peninsula) as obligatory. This part of the park is home to an array of fynbos, over 250 species of birds, buck, baboons and Cape mountain zebra.

There are numerous picnic spots, paths on which one can set off on foot or mountain bike, and tidal pools on almost isolated beaches.

Source: SAVenues

21 Junie 2017 1

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.

Credit: capepoint.co.za

6 sept 16

Rugged rocks and sheer cliffs towering more than 200 m above the sea and cutting deep into the ocean provide a spectacular background for the Parks’ rich bio-diversity. Cape Point falls within the southern section of Table Mountain National Park. The natural vegetation of the area, fynbos, comprises the smallest but richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms. The scenic beauty of Cape Point is not its sole allure; it is also an international icon of great historical interest with many a visitor drawn to the area because of its rich maritime history.

cape-point-lighthouse

The new lighthouse is at a lower elevation (87 meters; 285.5 feet above sea level), for two reasons: the old lighthouse, located at 34°21′14″S 18°29′25″E, could be seen ‘too early’ by ships rounding the point towards the east, causing them to approach too closely. Secondly, foggy conditions often prevail at the higher levels, making the older lighthouse invisible to shipping. On 18 April 1911, the Portuguese liner Lusitania was wrecked just south of Cape Point at34°23′22″S 18°29′23″E on Bellows Rock for precisely this reason, prompting the relocation of the lighthouse.

Cape_Point_Lighthouse_1_380_570_80

The new lighthouse, located at 34°21′26″S 18°29′49″E, cannot be seen from the West until ships are at a safe distance to the South.

attraction-cape-point

Dramatically surrounded by sheer craggy cliffs, Diaz Beach is situated right at the tip of Cape Point on the western side. It deserves its reputation as one of the most scenically stunning Cape Town beaches. Access to this beach is down a series of wooden stairs and only takes about 20 minutes.Swimming on this beach can be dangerous. Diaz Beach can produce excellent waves with a North Westerly wind and the right swell direction. Surfers love it for its big, hollow, closeout barrels. Photographers love it for its awesome beauty and many moods. Couples love it for romantic beach walks.

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