Cape Point was, for a long time,
regarded as the southern-most tip of the African continent. That place is actually now known to be Cape Agulhas, near
Bredasdorp. Cape Point is,
however, a far more spectacular experience.
Its cliffs fall about 300m to the Indian Ocean and this is where
the warm Mozambique current of the Indian Ocean meets the cold Benguela
current of the Atlantic Ocean. Cape
Point and the Cape Peninsula National Park have been nominated as World
Heritage Sites and great care has been taken to make sure that this place
remains untouched and protected for future generations.
The first person to circumnavigate the Cape was
the Portuguese navigator, Bartholomew Dias, in 1488 and he named it Cabo
Tormentoso (The Cape of Storms). It
was later renamed Cabo de Boa Esperanca (The Cape of Good Hope) by King
Later Vasco Da Gama rounded the Cape on his way
to India in 1497. These
journeys later led to the Cape sea route being established.
In the 1850’s a lighthouse was built at Cape
Point. However, it served
little purpose, as it was set so high up (238m above sea level) that
clouds and mist often hid it from sight.
In 1911 another lighthouse was built 87m above sea level.
There are many tourist attractions at Cape Point
including walks and trails, beaches,
tidal pools, historical monuments – such as Dias’ and da Gama’s
crosses - shipwrecks and
blockhouses. Cape Point is
also a paradise for anglers and divers (make sure that you have the
Cape Point is also the home of the protected
Chacma Baboons – the only protected population of their kind in Africa.
Visitors are not allowed to feed the baboons as this upsets their
natural foraging habits. Other
animals to be seen are Zebra, a variety of buck species, ostrich and over
250 species of birds. In the
waters are snoek, tunny, dolphis, seals and Southern Right whales. There
are also over 1 200 species of indigenous plants to be seen.
The highlight of a visit to Cape Point will be a
ride on the funicular. At the
upper station you will have one of the most magnificent views anywhere on
earth. There you will also find the visitors’ centre and curio shop.