One of South Africa’s seven wonders, and a World Heritage Site which attracts thousands of people every year: Cape Point nature reserve covers 7750ha and offers some of the country’s best coastal wildlife experiences. Once named ‘The Cape of Storms’ and still commonly known as ‘The Cape of Good Hope’ the area was greatly feared and respected by sailors and pirates alike, centuries ago. Between its remarkable history, evolution and its modern day prestige, it’s not hard to see why the park is often filled to capacity by local and international tourists.
On the 60km journey out of Cape Town, the most striking thing about the landscape is the overwhelming beauty of the fynbos. Although the smallest of the six floral kingdoms in the world, fynbos is also the most diverse and is endemic to this region. For this reason, firefighters in the Western Cape are always quick to attend to blazes, to preserve the longevity of this pristine natural environment.
In 1488 the geological wonder received the title “Cape of Storms” from Bartolomeu Dias. The impressive peaks, standing at over 200m above sea level, offered a wondrous navigation point during clear days. But come night or stormy weather, the notorious rock formation beckoned many a ship to its doom. Even today, shipwreck sites litter its coast and surrounding waters, and driftwood from old ships continues to be found washed up onto the cape beaches.
Named after a ghost ship, said to linger the seas around the Cape Point, ‘The Flying Dutchman’ funicular is a mountain tram that helps tourists rise to the level of the original lighthouse. It’s suitable for physically impaired individuals and was also built with minimal impact to the fragile ecosystem. Reported to have some of the best sea views in the world, one could easily get lost in time on the peaks.
With all the hype surrounding the flora and fauna, one might think that there isn’t much else to see. In this case, one would be pleasantly surprised. Wildlife sightings in this particular stretch of South African coastline include Cape Baboons, Cape Mountain Zebra and over 250 species of birdlife which includes the endangered African Black Oystercatcher, also a prominent feature in the Tsitikamma Forest which we recently featured in another article.
The Cape Point nature reserve forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, specifically its southern component, and is one of the true gems of our motherland. Share your favourite SA tourist-spots with us and you could be featured in an article of your own!