Cape of Good Hope Day Trip

Judi with Camp Bay in backgroundThis is a full day excursion, as although Cape Point is only about 50 miles South of our hotel, the journey requires many stops enroute to enjoy the scenery. Departing the hotel about 08:00 we took the scenic coastal route, which predominantly follows the west shoreline.

Once clear of the waterfront we passed behind Cape Town Stadium, one of the stadiums built for the 2010 World Cup finals, before following the west shore through some of Cape Towns more affluent neighbourhoods.Our first stop was a scenic parking area between Clifton Beach and Camps Bay.

Camps Bay Beach with mountains in background known as 12 Apostles

Camps Bay Beach with mountains in background known as 12 Apostles

Both Clifton Beach and Camps Bay are 2 of Cape Town’s more affluent suburbs and with excellent beaches and a good selection of small restaurants and pubs are becoming known as tourist destinations.

Camps Bay beach with the surf pounding ashore

Camps Bay beach with the surf pounding ashore

Andy & Judi with Camps Bay and 12 Apostles in the background

Andy & Judi with Camps Bay and 12 Apostles in the background

Andy with Camps Bay in the background

Andy with Camps Bay in the background

Continuing along the coastline we entered Hout Bay, which is an eclectic mix of affluence, fishing industry, tourism and townships. On entering Hout Bay our guide highlighted both extremes with an affluent equestrian business on one side of the road and a township on the other. We didn’t have time to stop and explore Hout Bay so we continued onto Chapman’s Peak Drive.

Chapman’s Peak is located on the West Shore between Hout Bay and Noordhoek and is a spectacular marine drive with the road literally built on the edge of the cliff. The drive is about 6 miles, but contains about 114 curves and reaches an elevation of about 2,000 feet. This would be a fun road to drive in my Mustang GT.

Andy & Judi at the Chapman's Peak Drive lookout with Hout Bay in background

Andy & Judi at the Chapman’s Peak Drive lookout with Hout Bay in background

Hout Bay from Chapman's Peak Drive lookout

Hout Bay from Chapman’s Peak Drive lookout

After passing Chapman’s Peak summit the road headed inland passing through the small towns of Noordhoek and Ocean View, before picking up the coast again at Witsand just north of Misty Cliffs. This is an amazing phenomena, as on an otherwise clear day this small patch of shoreline and cliffs is shrouded in a light mist.

Witsand Beach just north of Misty Cliffs

Witsand Beach just north of Misty Cliffs

As seen below the aptly named Misty Cliffs is created by the breeze off the ocean hitting the sloping cliff causing a light mist.

Misty Cliffs

Misty Cliffs

From Misty Cliffs we headed inland taking the only road down to Cape of Good Hope. Enroute we stopped at Cape Point Ostrich Farm so Judi could browse the shops and feed the ostriches. I almost had a heart attack with the prices, with even a key chain with a tiny sliver of dyed ostrich leather listed at CAN $30. Lots of nice stuff, but prices were from a different universe.

Next on the agenda was the optional feeding of the ostriches, which is definitely not for me, I prefer being behind the camera and having all fingers attached, but Judi is probably game. After feeding a giraffe in Kenya, an ostrich should be easy, right !!!

Yes, Judi did survive the experience with all fingers still attached, especially considering they are not overly gentle like the giraffes. The ostriches dive into your hand to grab the food pellets. Click on the above circles to get a full screen view.

This was our last stop before arriving at the Cape of Good Hope. On entering the National Park we were immediately shrouded in fog and my initial thoughts were OMG, we have come so far to see nothing. Fortunately our route cleared, but you could still see dense fog over to the left, which will be explained by the photographs at the lighthouse.

We started at the lighthouse, finding parking close to the tram station. The lighthouse is a fair distance up and can be accessed via the tram or you can walk up. Our time was limited, so we both elected to take the tram.

Distance from lower tram station to lighthouse

Distance from lower tram station to lighthouse

Even from the tram’s top station you have a 100+ stair hike to reach the lighthouse, but the effort was definitely worth while.

100+ stairs to reach the spectacular views from the lighthouse

100+ stairs to reach the spectacular views from the lighthouse

The following photographs are just a small sample of the extreme work out given to the camera’s shutter.

Judi at the lighthouse with the clearly defined fog line in background

Judi at the lighthouse with the clearly defined fog line in background

Judi looking for the elusive Southern Right Whale, which don't return until about June

Judi looking for the elusive Southern Right Whale, which don’t return for a few months

Crystal clear waters of the Atlantic with small boats tending swimmers in the rather chilly and shark infested waters

Crystal clear waters of the Atlantic with small boats tending swimmers in the rather chilly and shark infested waters

Cape Point looking down at the top tram station and catching the edge of the False Bay fog bank

Cape Point looking down at the top tram station and catching the edge of the False Bay fog bank

Cape Point Light looking to the end of the point and the line of fog

Cape Point Light looking to the end of the point and the line of fog

Cape of Good Hope Lighthouse

Cape of Good Hope Lighthouse

Cape Point Light with False Bay shrouded in fog

Cape Point Light with False Bay shrouded in fog

The contrast between the clear skies to the west out across the Atlantic Ocean and the completely shrouded in dense fog False Bay to the East was an amazing sight. While I have seen way too many fog banks during my many years at sea, it was amazing to see the demarcation from the shore.

On reaching the lower tram station we headed down to the actual point for the obligatory photo-op at the most southern tip of Africa.

Andy & Judi at Cape of Good Hope

Andy & Judi at Cape of Good Hope

Crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean at the Cape of Good Hope shoreline

Crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean at the Cape of Good Hope shoreline

Cape Point looking West at the shoreline out across the Atlantic Ocean

Cape Point looking West at the shoreline out across the Atlantic Ocean

Completely satisfied with our trip to Cape of Good Hope, it was time to commence the journey back to Cape Town, but also take in a few other sights on the return. On departing the National Park we took the road around False Bay, which fortunately was starting to clear, towards Simon’s Town and Boulders Beach, which is famous for having a colony of penguins. Our guide gave us two options to see the penguins, we could visit the commercial part where you walk a boardwalk with hundreds of new friends and see lots of penguins, or visit a quiet and secluded beach, but only see maybe a 1/2 dozen penguins. Although mingling with new friends is always fun, we opted for the quiet secluded beach. We spotted the penguin in the photograph below in the parking lot, before even hitting the beach.

Single Penguin at Boulder beach parking lot

Single Penguin at Boulder beach parking lot

Boulders Beach with gentle waves lapping up the beach

Boulders Beach with gentle waves lapping up the beach

Judi at Boulders Beach with penguins in background

Judi at Boulders Beach with penguins in background

Boulders Beach penguins

Boulders Beach penguins

We were both surprised at how small the penguins were, expecting to see the ones we had seen on TV, but the guide explained the larger penguins are from Antarctica. Having worked up an appetite on the beach it was time to take a break for lunch, stopping at the Seaforth Restaurant in Simon’s Town. As you will see below, the view was excellent, the service also excellent, but the food quality was at the opposite end of the spectrum. So much for the guide advising this was the best seafood restaurant, oh did I mention he got a complimentary meal.

View from Seaforth restaurant where we had lunch across False Bay

View from Seaforth restaurant where we had lunch across False Bay

Fish and chips are really tough to mess up, but they did a spectacular job. You could squeeze the grease out of the fish, the batter was too thick and raw on the inside and the fish hadn’t been skinned.

After lunch we also stopped at a botanical gardens, but unfortunately as it is the Autumn in South Africa, nothing was in bloom. While very clean and laid out, it wasn’t overly spectacular at this time of year, but is probably spectacular in the Spring.

Tomorrow we are off to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned along with many other political prisoners.

 

 

 

 

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