Setting sail on board a vessel powered by wind, will and strong arms alone, bound for a coast yet uncharted, sounds like the kind of story-opening that inspires the valiant traveller within us to down our tools, skill sets and common sense in search of a life open to unbridled adventure.
The kind of life we imagine when we stand looking out over the sheer cliffs of the south-western tip of the African continent, watching the meeting of two oceans, and try to remember what things were like for the great explorer, Bartholomew Dias, when he rounded this leviathan of Cape’s in the year 1488 – well over five hundred years ago now.
He named the peninsula The Cape of Storms for its infamous weather, which sailors hold in absolute reverence today never mind the days before radar, satellite imagery, GPS and packet data.
A decade later it was Vasco da Gama, another famed Portuguese explorer, who opened the new trading route to India and the East around Cape Point which was later renamed to The Cape of Good Hope because of hope the new route inspired.
Today Cape Point, a World Heritage Site, and protected Nature Reserve is an area of vast natural beauty, world renown for it natural vegetation and rich bio-diversity.
Approximately 60km South West of the City, you will find the Reserve’s entry. Residents of Cape Town are encouraged to purchase a TMNP (Table Mountain National Park) ‘My Green Card’ which allows 12 entries to all of the protected parks inside this cluster for a nominal annual fee.
Inside the Reserve are hiking trails, some of which are overnight and take you along white Atlantic beaches and through the intricate fynbos vegetation, the beaches of Buffel’s Bay, Maclear, Olifantsbos, Platboom and the stunning Diaz which is surrounded by sheer cliff faces.
The walkway down to Diaz is an adventure all on its own and takes you along a long and magical wooden pathway.
You can take part in kayaking, mountain biking, bird-watching; enjoy picnic spot that look over either False Bay or the unrestrained Atlantic and if you are there in the right season you can spot whales making their annual migration journey past the point. There is also an incredible ship-wreck trail and plenty of scenic swimming spots.
There are two ways of reaching the famous view point – walking; or taking the Flying Dutchman Funicular to the top, which will cost you R49.00 per adult return trip and R21.00 per child, aged 2-11.
The Flying Dutchman is a great trip and ascends over 87 meters along a 585 meter rail line in about three minutes, saving you a walk and a pair of stiff thighs as well as giving you a novel experience.
Near to the car park is the Two Ocean’s restaurant where you can eat and drink while looking out over spectacular scenery. There are three shops in the Reserve where you can purchase curios, mementos’ and keepsakes.
Book your hotel in Cape Town for a well deserved rest after you have explored the Cape Point Nature Reserve.
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