Visiting the Cape of Good Hope

March 11, 2013 by

Day Trips, Sightseeing, Things To Do

When you get as far as Cape Town, it’s hard to resist the temptation to keep going south; you’re so close, after all to the southernmost tip of the African continent. The good news is that you can get really close to that southernmost point by visiting the Cape of Good Hope. The bad news is that you’ll need to go all the way around False Bay to Cape Agulhas to actually reach the southernmost point in Africa, but let’s focus on the good news here, shall we?

Cape Point

Cape Point

The Cape of Good Hope is at the bottom tip of a fingerling of a peninsula south of Cape Town circling part of False Bay. The most popular part of the peninsula to visit is Cape Point, with its stubby lighthouse at the top of a funicular and winding staircase. From Cape Point, you can actually get spectacular views of the Cape of Good Hope, which is to the west of Cape Point. Much of the peninsula is protected as part of Table Mountain National Park, so not only is it an excellent area for breath-taking panoramic views, it’s also good for spotting wildlife, too.

The best way to visit the Cape of Good Hope and, really, the whole Cape Peninsula is by car. This gives you a chance to stop along the way at Simon’s Town, an historic Navy town with a pretty main street, and Boulders Beach, a popular spot to see the resident colony of African penguins that nest there – not to mention that trains only run as far as Simon’s Town, so you won’t get all the way to the Cape of Good Hope without a car.

Having said that, if you’re not accustomed to driving on the left side of the road or you’re not interested in driving in and out of busy Cape Town, there are lots of companies offering day tours of the area – including the Cape Peninsula. This day-long Cape Peninsula Tour from Cape Town includes stops at Hout Bay, the Botanical Gardens, and the Cape of Good Hope. This half-day Cape Point Sightseeing Tour includes a visit through the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Simon’s Town, and Muizenberg.

Note that it costs 85 South African Rand to get into the Cape of Good Hope (it’s 30R for a child), and to take the funicular up to the Cape Point lighthouse is R47 round-trip (for an adult). You can skip the funicular and walk both ways if you like, or get a R37 one-way ticket and then walk downhill. If you book a tour of the Cape Peninsula, ask whether any of these costs are included in the price of the tour.

- Jessica Spiegel

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