As it was said before I loved Cape Town, from the very first moment. I could have easily spent all my time there doing nothing but enjoying the place. However, as much as I wanted to soak in the awesomeness of the city, I was also looking forward to visiting the epic Cape of Good Hope. This mythical place, often mistaken for the southern most tip of the African continent, is located very close from Cape Town itself and makes a perfect day trip from the city. It’s actually one of the “must” activities there.
It was an eventful day, packed with various activities and Cape Town wildlife experience in the beautiful scenery. After a short ride through the city we arrived to our first stop – Hout Bay – the small, picturesque harbor town. From there we took a boat to see the seals living in the nearby island. I’ve already mentioned that in my post about animals of South Africa but I will repeat it again – most terrifying experience of my life! As long as we were in the bay things were fine but with every meter we moved forward waves were getting bigger and bigger and at some point it wasn’t all that fun for me. I can’t swim yet I was standing right at the front of the small boat, holding the handrail only with one hand and wondering where the life jackets are. The boat was dancing on the waves and I was praying for this to be over. I’m not exaggerating, I was scared like never before! Eventually I could see seals, lots of them, and the world was beautiful again! I love seals, they are my fave animals (for no reason, I just find them cute) and seeing so many of them lying lazily on the rocks or playing joyfully in the water was an epic experience for me! I forgot about the stress of getting to see them, I was truly happy to be able to observe them in their natural environment. With bright smile glued to my face I took probably over a hundred pictures in this couple of minutes we were there. Fortunately the way back to the harbor was much smoother and I could focus on enjoying the breathtaking views of Hout Bay and the surrounding mountains. Even if it was a terrifying few minutes I was full with happiness after the seals encounter and I’d decided to go there again if only I had a chance!
From Hout Bay we were supposed to drive through Chapman’s Peak but unfortunately it was closed after the heavy rains few days before. We headed straight to Muizenberg where we had cookies and juice break with a great view. We parked on the road above the town, next to the point from where qualified workers observe the area in search for sharks. This coast of Atlantic Ocean is full of these cruel animals and there were numerous accident when they killed people (not even bone was left…). There’s a special shark warning system of different flags to inform people of the situation – all of them have shark on, just the color is different. Green one means there are no sharks around and it’s safe to swim, white – a shark is near the beach and everyone must leave the water immediately (this one is accompanied by the siren), red – shark has been spotted and it is forbidden to enter the water and black – the water is murky and it is not possible to spot the presence of sharks. The view was really amazing – wide, sandy beach, numerous surfer enjoying the big waves, the vastness of the Ocean… It was so beautiful I decided to come back to Muizenberg on the next day and relax a little bit in this lovely surrounding!
The next stop was as fun as seals minus the fear of the boat journey! We visited penguins in Simon’s Town where they live peacefully on Boulders Beach. The place is so incredibly beautiful it just couldn’t be more perfect! Clear, turquoise water, big rocks, white sand and cute, little penguins walking funnily around. This animal doesn’t sound very South African and I was very surprised when I read they are one of the biggest attraction of Cape Peninsula. As it turned out it’s a special species of penguin that live in the waters surrounding the southern part of African continent (hence it’s name, African Penguin). The best place to watch them is Simon’s Town and well, I could just spend hours staring at them as they were a truly fascinating animals, and so very adorable! Apparently they just seem to be so lazy and harmless only in the day time, when they are visited by thousands of people each day. In the night however they turn into party animals, wandering around nearby streets of the town and terrorizing local people. Who would have thought?!
Eventually we entered Cape Peninsula National Park and headed slowly into two well known locations – Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope. But before reaching them there was a bike ride waiting for us! It was a perfect break in the middle of the day after all the time spent in the bus. We had to cycle for 6 kms (fortunately mostly downhill) but I wished it was longer as the surrounding was stunning! It reminded me a little bit of Iceland, with moon-alike landscape full of rocks, raw vegetation and small streams here and there. After the bike ride a well deserved lunch was waiting for us and it was the tastiest ever (I blame the little exercise we had for that). As I could observe in South Africa people there are masters of picnics. Everywhere around the country there were tables ready to be set, I saw a lot of people using them and each time the table was covered with tablecloth, there was a lot of food and everything was neatly organized. It was exactly the same with our table. The choice was wide, from freshly made salad to all ingredients to make a delicious sandwich, from just cut pineapple to potato chips…
Full after the lunch we were ready for a little hike – to the lighthouse at the Cape Point. There was also a lazy way to get up there, using a funicular, but the walk up took only around 15 minutes and was a very easy one. Cape Point is located around 2 kms from Cape of Good Hope and these two are often mistaken. The view from the lighthouse was breathtaking – it’s the best point to admire the vast waters of Atlantic Ocean surrounding rocky Cape Peninsula from three sides.With wind in my hair I just couldn’t believe that there I am, (almost) at the very end of African continent, so far away from home. Even in my dreams I didn’t think I will ever travel that far! It was one of those moments when I appreciated my life one more time.
After Cape Point we headed to our last destination, the most famous and the most awaited one – Cape of Good Hope. But before we reached it we were stuck in the mini traffic jam because of the baboons. They were just hanging out at the side of the road but they didn’t cause the jam – people did as everyone (including me) wanted to have a picture of baboon from such a short distance! They were funny animals but we were warned so many times to be careful when around them as they can jump on you for no reason and try to steal things from you. I opened the window of the bus so little that only my camera was out and still I was paranoid one of the baboons will attack it… Fortunately nothing like that happened and being that incredibly close to the animals was such an unique experience!
Cape of Good Hope was beautiful yet a little bit disappointing because of the many people around when we arrived. For the first time in my long travel career I had to wait in the queue to have a picture taken with the famous sign (but it’s a must there!) – guess that’s what comes with visiting famous landmark. Soon enough most of the visitors were gone and Cape of Good Hope was one of the perfect spots in my eyes – big waves crashed at the sharp rocks, wind was trembling in the ears, sun was shining… Suddenly I remembered everything I learnt at school – about Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco da Gamma, the Flying Dutchman and the big importance of place I was standing at. The feeling of being in this mythical location was overwhelming and surreal. Sadly at this point it was time to head back to Cape Town, I could have stand there for hours, breathing in the air of the end of the world.
As for the tour itself – it was excellent! Both the driver and the guide were funny, chatty, talked a lot about the places we visited and altogether were nice guys. Oh, and they prepared a delicious lunch ;) The information they provided were really interesting, I couldn’t find a lot of them in guide books. I also really enjoyed the variety of places and activities on this tour. It wasn’t the typical bus tour where you’re taken to the spot, the bike ride and the short hike were a perfect breaks from the monotony of the journey. There were around 20 people on the tour, from all over the world, and the size of the group was good too as you could easily chat with everyone and get to know them. There’s actually nothing bad I can say about the tour (except that it ended too soon, 10 hours were not enough for me;)) and I would easily recommend it to everyone!
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And by the way, even if many people consider Cape of Good Hope as the southern most point of Africa, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, it is actually not true. This very place is located 160kms more east and is called Cape Agulhas.
What was the most epic place you’ve ever visited? Would you like to go to Cape Peninsula?
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