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

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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.


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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.


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.


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.


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.

Cape Point Nature Reserve and the Cape of Good Hope with its wildlife, fynbos, hiking trails, lighthouses and shipwrecks, along with the African Penguins at Boulders and various ocean activities are some of the things to do when visiting Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula.

Cape Point Nature Reserve - Mariner Guesthouse. Holiday accommodation in Simon't Town.

Newly built (2009) above the harbour in Simon´s Town, Mariner Guesthouse offers 4 Star luxury accommodation at affordable rates. We pride ourselves on being eco-friendly and have become known for our style, comfort and friendly hospitality! The guesthouse is located in a quiet street on the mountain – within walking distance of local restaurants and beaches. Our 8 spacious and beautifully appointed en-suite bedrooms offer world-class facilities for B&B and self-catering.

False Bay has one of the Cape Peninsula’s most tranquil and picturesque stretches of coastline. Known for its scenic beauty, it encompasses small seaside villages from Hangklip, near Pringle Bay, to Cape Point.

Popular with surfers, swimmers, bodyboarders and anyone who enjoys peace and quiet and the fresh sea air, towns along the False Bay coastline also offer a multitude of arts and craft shops, fantastic restaurants and bars, cute and quirky coffee shops, and quiet look-out points.


Whales abound on the False Bay coastline – every year between June and November, southern right whales migrate to the Western Cape waters to calve and nurse their newborns, while humpback whales journey through the region between May and December.

Thousands of local and international visitors flock to False Bay to experience these amazing whale-watching opportunities, where the creatures are often seen metres from the shore.

In addition to sun and sea worshipping, there are numerous activities and attractions in the area for visitors to enjoy.

shark false bay

Nature reserves, including Cape of Good Hope,Rondevlei and Silvermine, offer the opportunity of walking among the rich biodiversity of the Cape Peninsula, which includes indigenous fynbos.

Other ways to relax along the False Bay coastline, while enjoying the stunning scenery, are playing a round or two of golf at either the Westlake, Clovelly orSimon’s Town golf courses, sampling a few wines along the Cape Point Wine Route, or sharing Boulders Beach with its local inhabitants, the African penguins.


Some of the most popular small towns along the False Bay coastline include the historical naval village of Simon’s Town, Muizenberg (known for its epic waves),St James (with its colourful huts), Kalk Bay (with great seafood restaurants) and Fish Hoek (with one of the best beaches).