Many white crosses are dotted around the edge of the soaring cliffs at Cape Point, which is at the very bottom point of the African continent. They were the thing that attracted my attention as we drove our rental car along the winding roads towards the end of the massive African continent. I later discovered that are 26 of them, and each signify the spot where a ship has been wrecked. The numbers are so high as it is here at Cape Point where the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean smash together and create a dangerous churning sea. A sea with terrible currents that forced all of those ships onto the rocks. A danger that was made worse by a lighthouse that was built too high up on the cliff face, and so its light was blotted out by mists at night.
Despite its historical danger, and legacy of wrecked ships, a drive out to Cape Point is a perfect day out from Cape Town.
Most of the road from Cape Town to Cape Point is wedged between the mountains and the sea, and it weaves through a series of old and quaint towns with gorgeous beaches and incredible views. The journey by car is only about an hour and a half each way, and what makes it such a perfect day out is that it is not only full of beauty but throws up some surprises along the way. Surprises like baboons that stop the traffic to hassle you for food, and a beach full of penguins!
At Cape Point itself you can climb or take a funicular railway up to that famous lighthouse built too high up on the cliffs. If the night was clear its light could be seen 60 kilometres out to sea, but as it was so often surrounded by clouds and mists it had to replaced with a new one much lower down.
On either side of the lighthouse are staggering views as the cliffs that surround it are enormous. The sea is an almost unbelievable shade of green. Birds perch on the cliffs and squeal and soar about. Despite all the people exploring the place, it always has a sense of peacefulness up there. Those with a head for heights can take the “lighthouse keepers walk” along a narrow cliff that juts much further out to sea. You need to be fit to do this walk, and it takes about 1.5 hours of hard walking.
On the steep hills heading up to Cape Point cars often come to a halt as a family if baboons block the road and try and get food, and on the way back stop you can stop in to see the Penguin Colony at Boulders Bay. Also worth exploring are Simonstown (which is the South African Naval Base) and explore the colonial looking and slightly hippy town of Kalk Bay.
A leisurely drive to Cape Point and the end of Africa is a perfect day out if in Cape Town.
This post is part of the initiative “100 cities to home swap before you die” from Knok.com
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