Cape Point (Western Cape)
Lying 60 km south-west of Cape Town in the southeast corner of the peninsula is Cape Point, a nature reserve within the Table Mountain National Park and a declared Natural World Heritage Site. It is at a distance of about 2.3 km east and a bit north of the Cape of Good Hope and takes it probably 20% of the total area of the peninsula.
The first thing that will hit your attention will be the shipwrecks scattering the coastline, as testimonials of its great historical significance.
If you travel to the tip of the Cape Peninsula, Cape Point is where you will reach.
The Cape Point Lighthouse
If every act of creation is first the act of destruction Picasso claims it to be, then the lighthouse in Cape Town perfectly illustrates the notion. On the 18th of April 1911, the Portuguese liner Lusitania wrecked on Bellows Rock, but with a good consequence: it prompted the relocation of the lighthouse.
The old lighthouse (built in 1857) gave mariners a dim view. Due to its higher altitude (at 238 meters above sea level), it was often blurred by clouds and fogs. Also, from a certain angle, ships at sea could not see the warning lights of this beacon.
The new improved lighthouse is at a lower elevation (87 meters above sea level). This new lighthouse, which took 6 years to build, is the most powerful one on the South African coast: with an intensity of 10 megacandelas in each flash, it expands to a range of 63 kilometers (39 miles). It is used as an outlook and central monitoring point for all South African lighthouses.
Along many other things you will find a stone replica of Vasco Da Gama’s cross. It was planted there in 1487 to mark the spot where the Portuguese explorers had landed. You cannot miss it on the hillside above the beach. Both lighthouses still stand on the Point as of today. While you stand below, you can waive at them, the proud protectors of travelers at sea.
Take the Funicular: to the Top of the Point The funicular will whiz you on a scenic trip to the view site of the old Cape Point lighthouse. This environmentally friendly funicular, wholly produced from South African resources, is unique in the world.
There are two peaks above Cape Point; the higher one has the old lighthouse on the top. From the end of the railway, a second path leads to the lower peak.
Flora and Fauna
It is a mountainous landform covering some 7 750 hectares of different species of animal and plant life (some 1200 species of indigenous plants). Strolling through, you can watch the Chacma baboons, buck, Cape Mountain Zebra, eland as well as over 250 species of birds, particularly pelagic birds.
The vegetation consists mostly of Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos, a unique and endangered species which you can only find in the Cape Peninsula. It is part of the smallest but definitely richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms.
Cape Point Ostrich Farm
The ostrich is South Africa’s largest bird. Established in 1996 and privately owned, the Cape Point Ostrich Farm has turned into a breeding farm of 65 hectares. It is situated 600 meters from the entrance to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, so you can easily have a quick and enchanting visit there.
The comfort and accommodation of the 40 breeding birds is a priority for the farm. These birds are placed in big open spaced camps so that they can freely lay eggs and incubate those. Various quality ostrich eggs and ostrich leather products are available for sale on the farm. If you wish to have a taste of this bird, then check at the Osto-rante restaurant. It is not only succulent, but also one of the healthiest red meats available—with almost no cholesterol and less fats than fish!
Cape Point Vineyards
There is only one wine estate you can find on the narrow Cape Peninsula—but don’t underestimate it.
Planted in two locations, namely Noordhoek and Scarborough, those 20 hectares of vines is just perfect for targeting a small variety base while focusing exclusively on quality.
Cool sea breezes from the cold Atlantic Ocean mix with the southeasterly ones from False Bay to provide the best conditions required for the grapes to ripen slowly.
Try the Sauvignon Blanc while you are there—it is Cape Point Vineyards’ leading lady, you will definitely adore the mystique taste!
The legend of Antonie’s Gat
Even today, Muslim worshippers can be seen praying on the cliffs of Cape Point in honour of the holy man who lived there, Lalu Abdul Dea Koasa.
He was brought to South Africa for political exile and imprisoned in the Slave Dungeons.
After three years, he managed to escape away but repeated attempts were made to capture him, as he was considered dangerous due to his political influence. However, Lalu Abdul escaped for several years, inhabiting a cave near the beach at Buffelsbaai, now known as “Antonie’s Gat”, and befriended a local farmer.
Oral tradition has it that when some of the farmer’s sheep went missing, Lalu Abdul could exactly predict where they would be, an incident after which he became the farmer’s Special Spiritual Adviser. Descendants of Simonstown families received their teaching from him, as he was soon acknowledged to possess special spiritual and mystical powers. In this way, he spread Islam to escaped slaves in the area.
Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW)
The World Meteorological Organisation has only 20 GAW stations throughout the world, so while you are at Cape Point, do not miss the opportunity to visit one!
An atmospheric research laboratory at Cape Point has been set up to monitor long-term changes in the chemistry of the earth’s atmosphere, which may in turn cause changes to the climate. You will find experts checking environmentally important air components, for instance, trace gases like ozone, carbon dioxide and methane, as well as solar radiation. Even icebergs from Antarctica have sometimes been seen from Cape Point in the early 20th century.
For most of the time, the air at Cape Point remains particularly pure; this is why it can accommodate such research into atmospheric phenomena like climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion.
Two Oceans Restaurant
Renowned for the breathtaking views of False Bay you can view from here, this restaurant is one that is located high above the crashing waves.
It is one of the rare restaurants where you actually get the impression that you are eating right above heaven!
Buffelsfontein Visitors Centre
If you want to know more about Cape Point and its different attractions, save some time for a visit to this centre which is an essential stopover. Artefact displays, audiovisual presentations, and the wide range of information kept at your disposal will open up the history, natural charm, and cultural richness of Cape Point to you so wonderfully that you can only be left amazed.