Named the ‘Cape of Storms’ by Bartolomeu Dias; the ‘Point’ was treated with respect by sailors for centuries. By day, it was a navigational landmark and by night, and in fog, it was a menace beset by violent storms and dangerous rocks that over the centuries littered shipwrecks around the coastline.
5 reasons why Cape Point is a local bucket list item to tick off
In 1859 the first lighthouse was completed; it still stands at 238 metres above sea-level on the highest section of the peak and is now used as the centralised monitoring point for all the lighthouses on the coast of South Africa. Access to this historical building is by an exhilarating three-minute ride in the wheelchair-accessible Flying Dutchman funicular that transfers visitors from the lower station at 127 metres above sea-level, to the upper station.
Cape Point is in the Cape of Good Hope nature reserve within Table Mountain National Park, which forms part of the Cape Floral Region, a World Heritage Site. It includes the majestic Table Mountain chain, which stretches from Signal Hill to Cape Point, and the coastlines of the Cape Peninsula. This narrow stretch of land, dotted with beautiful valleys, bays and beaches, contains a mix of extraordinarily diverse and unique fauna and flora.
One point, a million points of view
There is nothing more thrilling than standing at the base of the 150-year-old lighthouse which was a beacon of hope to many a washed-up explorer. The precarious meeting point of the aquamarine-coloured Atlantic ocean and the warm Indian ocean current is a sight for sore eyes and a great mediational view at Cape Point. Be sure to wear your walking shoes to climb up the few stairs that lead to the lighthouse and view the majesty of the most south-western point of Africa.
The Cape Point funicular is the only commercial funicular of its type in Africa and takes its name from the local legend of the Flying Dutchman ghost ship.
The line runs from a lower station at the Cape Point car park, up an incline through dense fynbos to the upper lighthouse. The funicular leaves from the lower station every three minutes, comfortably accommodates 40 passengers per car, and can transport 450 persons to the upper lighthouse per hour, making it the ideal and fun way to whisk closer to the lighthouse even during peak times. Bring the whole family for a ride of their lives.
The Cape Peninsula’s rich and diverse plant life has earned it eight World Heritage Site accolades from UNESCO. The Cape Floral Region makes up only 0.5% of Africa, and yet it is home to more than 20% of the continent’s plants. In fact, there are more floral species in the Table Mountain National Park region than all of the United Kingdom. You’ll find many of these whilst at Cape Point – recent estimates suggest that there are over 1000 species of plants in the Cape Point region, of which at least 14 are endemic. There are several different biomes to explore – mountain fynbos, coastal fynbos and the coastal strandveld.
The Cape of Good Hope nature reserve plays host to more than 2000 species of indigenous plants- the reserve is one of the best spots for spring flowers. Don’t rush though, take a walk, hang out at one of the picnic spots and interact with nature and spring in the south. Remember your comfy walking shoes and camera * Don’t forget SANParks week for free entry to the park.
A point to remember
The Cape Point Logo Store is the ultimate souvenir shop at the Point. Visitors can choose from a wide variety of merchandise branded with the Cape Point logo, from T-shirts and fleece tops, caps and hats, mugs and teaspoons, to key rings, magnets, and even books. The Cape Point Certificate – the official record of a visit to Cape Point is sold here. There is something for everyone to take home as a reminder of their visit to this beautiful world heritage site.
A unique family day out
Visiting Cape Point is certainly something out of the norm from the usual family outing at the cinema. With plenty of space for the kids to run around and play, it’s a surefire way to get them off of their mobile devices and experience outdoor natural history. The Flying Dutchman funicular is always a big hit for the whole family to enjoy.
For more information: https://capepoint.co.za/visitor-info/
Share your top Cape Town Big 6 moments with us!
ONE DESTINATION, SIX UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES
There is no one way to explore all of the Cape Town Big 6, and much of what makes each of them so special is the variety of things to see and do at each. So if possible, take your time to explore each of the city’s most visited tourist attractions in as much depth as possible – as any local will tell you, you can spend a lifetime at each of the Big 6 and still not tire of them. Find the 3 and 4 day itineraries and tips here.