Wind blew through our hair as we gazed towards the horizon. Standing at the southern most point in Africa we watched currents converge. To the east, the Indian Ocean, and to the west, the Atlantic. This was the climax of our cape peninsula drive. The journey to get us to this point is what comes next.
Our day began with a quiet breakfast before embarking on a full day peninsula tour. From the hotel we headed West towards the Atlantic. Million dollars homes with stunning ocean views dotted the cliff side. Every few turns a white sand beach appeared and waves crashed against the rocky jut outs. At a place called, Camps Bay, we stopped to admire the landscape.
From here, our route continued to our next stop, Hout Bay. Primarily a fishing town the area is also well know for its surfing and seal colony. Local boat cruises offer trips to visit these permanent residents. Donning our sea legs we made the rocky journey to Duiker island, the colony’s grounds. A hint for those unfamiliar with the Atlantic, waves are substantially more turbulent then the Pacific so be prepared for a few bumps. As we approached the island, playful barking echoed off the shore and hundreds of seals stretched out before us.
Experiencing wildlife in its natural habitat is a gift that we should not take for granted. Tours can easily become commercialized however by respecting an animal’s space we can continue to enjoy them outside of captivity. When you find an opportunity to safely experience wildlife in the wild we highly recommend it.
Leaving the bay we approached our final stretch on the Atlantic side. Chapman’s Peak is both a mountain and a famous road that contours the peak’s cliffside. Considered a major engineering feat, construction of the road began in 1915 by convict labour and took seven years to complete. Since then it has undergone several major renovations due to the dangerous nature of the route.
Considered one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives the views are without a doubt stunning. As you make your way around the mountain watch for a bronze statue of a leopard. Serving as a reminder of the wildlife that once roamed the area the statue has been there since 1963.
Cape of Good Hope
Rounding the mountainside our tour took us inland. The Atlantic transformed into heavy foliage and our cliffside road became a forest passage. Immediately, our guide warned us to lock the doors. Not long after we understood why when we encountered our first baboon. Frequent residents of the area, locals consider the baboon a pest. Known to open car doors and jump in for a ride our guide laughed as he exclaimed, it’s especially inconvenient to try to get a baboon out of your car once they have decided to hitch a ride. So be warned, keep your doors secure and enjoy these mischievous animals from inside!
Arriving at the most southern point of Africa we reached the ultimate destination. After taking a mandatory photo in front of the Cape of Good Hope sign we recommend a quick trek up the nearby hillside. As most tourists choose to admire from below, the hills are less congested and offer much better views. Overlooking two oceans we stood on the precipice and watched waves converge. With rocky cliffs on either side the scene is like nothing else.
Not quite ready to leave the views behind we made our way to another lookout point. Here we experienced our first funicular ride aboard the Flying Dutchman. You can also climb to the top but we recommend enjoying this quick 3 minute ride. At the top, 238 meters above sea level we discovered the Cape Point’s first lighthouse. As a solution to centuries of coastline shipwrecks, the lighthouse was built in 1857 and is still in working order today.
After spending some time exploring we made our way over to Two Oceans restaurant. With an enviable location and stunning outdoor wooden deck, the restaurant sits above the clouds. The seafood dishes are indescribable and the atmosphere overwhelming. If you can, make a reservation in advance and try not to miss this one of a kind dining experience.
Visually stimulated we returned to the car for our journey back to the city centre. However before completing our excursion we had one final important stop. As an animal lover I had researched all of the wildlife sightings available to us and consequently I found Boulders beach. Located near Simon’s town this protected beach is home to the continents only penguin species. African penguins, also known as jackass penguins, due to their braying, reside here year round. A popular place to swim, visitors can in essence join these adorable animals in the water.
We were fortunate enough to locate a group of penguins lounging on the rocks in seclusion. While other visitors had not realized they were there we quietly snuck over for an up close encounter. Ensuring we remained a comfortable distance so as not to startle them we admired these funny birds as they hopped in and out of the water.
Our experience in Cape Town was something out of a dream and yet the highlight of our time in this one of a kind city was certainly the peninsula drive. The route showcases South Africa’s naturally stunning beauty and the many species that call it home as such this experience is by far a bucket list drive.