Cape Point in South Africa is a fascinating place to travel. In this guide I give you an overview of what it is like to visit Cape Point along with some handy tips. Are you ready to learn more about Cape Point? Read on…
- A guide to visiting Cape Point
- Cape of Good Hope History
- Who discovered the Cape of Good Hope?
- Renaming of the cape
- Alternative Cape of Good Hope history
- Visiting the Cape of Good Hope now
- Cape Point in South Africa weather
- Cape Point restaurant
- Cape Point Funicular
- Things to do at Cape Point in South Africa
- Cape Point in South Africa: the beaches
- Cape Point: where two oceans meet
- Where to stay when visiting Cape Point
- Cape Point in South Africa- To Conclude
A guide to visiting Cape Point
The Cape Point in South Africa promontory is a destination that should be on any South Africa travel itinerary. It’s at the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula, a beautiful mountainous area at the extreme most southwestern tip of the country.
But why should you visit Cape Point in South Africa and what is so special about this place?
Cape of Good Hope History
Lets start off by taking a look at some of the history associated with Cape Point in South Africa .
Situated on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa, the Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland known for it’s stunning scenery. But it is also known for its fascinating past too…
Who discovered the Cape of Good Hope?
It is believed that Bartolomeu Dias (c. 1450-1500) discovered the Cape of Good Hope. He was a Portuguese navigator, and first spotted the cape in 1488. He was returning to Portugal at the time, after embarking on a voyage to determine the southern limits of the African continent.
Apparently at the time, Dias named it the Cape of Storms. In Spanish this is “Cabo Torementoso”. Not much is known about Dias himself – he is said to have descended from the pilot of Prince Henry the Navigator, though this isn’t entirely proven. He was a squire in the royal household, which is a fairly modest role.
The discovery of the Cape of Good Hope ultimately came about because of Prince John, son of King Afonso V. John was supervising Portugal’s trade with Guinea as well as exploring the western coast of Africa. He wanted to close the area to foreign shipping, so when he accessioned in 1481 he ordered some new voyages.
Dias was entrusted with one of these voyages: to find the southern limit of Africa. His ship was named São Cristóvão. With him were some leading pilots of the day as well as his associate João Infante and Dias’s brother Pêro. It is said that Dias departed in August 1487, spotting the Cape of Good Hope (or the Cape of Storms, as he called it) on his homeward journey in late 1488. Dias died at sea in 1500.
Renaming of the cape
John II of Portugal, the same John who was supervising the country’s trade with Guinea, renamed the cape. He chose the name we know it as today: the Cape of Good Hope. The Spanish term is “Cabo da Boa Esperanca”. He chose the name because its discovery was ‘a good omen’ that Indian could be reached by sea from Europe.
Known by some as The Perfect Prince, John II was born in 1455 and died in 1495. He was king from 1481 until his death, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest rules Portugal has ever had.
Alternative Cape of Good Hope history
Of course, there may have been other discoveries prior to the documented European discovery. Some sources say that Chinese, Arabian or Indian explorers may have already visited the area. Old World maps such as Kangnido and Fra Mauro (made before 1488) may provide evidence of this.
The Kangnido is actually an abbreviation of the Honil Gangni Yeokdae Gukdo Ji Do. This translates as “Map of Integrated Lands and Regions of Historical Countries and Capitals”. It was produced in Korea, and is a world map made by Yi Hoe and Kwon Kun. It dates back to 1402. The surviving copies that exist all have later revisions included, so the original version of the map is uncertain. However, the Kangnido is regarded as one of the most important pieces of historical material when it comes to reconstructing the map of 14th-century China.
The Fra Mauro map is a world map too. It was produced in Italy in 1450, by cartographer Fra Mauro. Its creation marked the end of Bible-based geography in Europe, with a switch being made to a more scientific way of making maps. At the time it was the most detailed accurate representation of the world that had ever been made.
There were also Stone-Age hunter gatherers present in the Western Cape area in around 100,000 BC. They survived the Ice Age and, according to fossil discovery, by around 8,000 BC they had developed bows and arrows. By approximately 2,000 BC tribes from further inland had allegedly brought skilled agriculturalists to the area so the current inhabitants started to grow crops.
Visiting the Cape of Good Hope now
The Cape of Good Hope is one the most beautiful places in the world. It has a natural beauty that rivals many other areas and can often look quite dramatic due to the wild and unpredictable weather. It is often cloudy and windy at the Cape of Good Hope, but the occasional glimpse of sparkling sunshine and pale blue skies make up for it by providing a landscape that wouldn’t look out of place in an art gallery.
You can climb up to the lighthouse in order to get the best views. There are three different routes to do this: along the coastline itself, from the carpark or via the Flying Dutchman Funicular.
The Cape of Good Hope is just 70km away from Cape Town. This is around a 1.5hr drive by car. We decided to break up the journey by combining it with a trip to Boulders Beach to see the African penguins. You can also see even more stunning scenery en route by travelling via Chapman’s Peak and Nordhoek.
There is a fee incurred when visiting the Cape of Good Hope, as it is a section of the Table Mountain National Park and therefore managed by SANParks. The costs are as follows:
Fee for international visitors
Adults (aged 12 and over): R303 per day
Children aged 2-11 years old: R152 per day
Fee for SADC Nationals (with passport)
Adults (aged 12 and over): R152 per day
Children aged 2-11 years old: R76 per day
Fee for South African Citizens and Residents (with ID)
Adults (aged 12 and over): R76 per day
Children aged 2-11 years old: R39 per day
You may also spots some baboons at the Cape of Good Hope, and apparently they’re pretty confident. There are also plenty of varieties of bi
Cape Point in South Africa weather
You can visit at any time of year, but I recommend visiting Cape Point in South Africa in the warmer months as it gets pretty cold and windy in winter!
Cape Point in South Africa is fairly temperate. June-September are the coolest months, with average temperatures ranging from 10°C-18°C. These months are also some of the rainiest: June, July and August have 10-11 days of rain per month.
The warm season is from December until March. Temperatures range from 15°C-24°C, with only a couple of days of rainfall each month.
The humidity in Cape Point in South Africa is fairly high. Overall, the average annual humidity is 76% – with July being the most humid, and November being the least humid.
Cape Point restaurant
During our day trip we had lunch at the Cape Point restaurant. Admittedly, it was the only option available to us in the area, but luckily it was very nice!
This is the most famous restaurant in Cape Point in South Africa, which is located at the Cape of Good Hope. Since December 1995, the Two Oceans Restaurant has been serving sushi and seafood. With glass walls and a sea view, it’s almost like being on a cruise ship – just without the sea sickness!
The 3-course set menu costs R385 (£22 GBP). You’ll find delicacies such as game fish, ostrich carpaccio, citrus cured hake, and Norwegian salmon on the menu. They also have vegan options available! There’s a separate shellfish menu, a kid’s menu and a range of sides too.
The Two Oceans Restaurant opens at 9am, and serves breakfast until 11am. It then serves lunch from 12pm until 4.30pm. For more information and to make a reservation, click here.
Cape Point Funicular
Many people are put off visiting Cape Point in South Africa because of the prospects of climbing, but fear not! The funicular is a handy (and fun) way to reach the top. My daughter loved it!
There is a funicular at Cape Point. It’s called the Flying Dutchman, and a single journey takes just 3 minutes. The Flying Dutchman was the first commercial funicular in the whole of Africa, and its name comes from the legend of the Flying Dutchman ghost ship.
The journey takes you from the Cape Point lower car park up to the viewing point at the upper lighthouse. The views of the Cape of Good Hope are spectacular. To ride the funicular, the prices are as follows:
Adult prices for the Cape Point Funicular
One way: R55
Child/pensioner prices for the Cape Point Funicular
One way: R22
Things to do at Cape Point in South Africa
One of the main reasons to visit Cape Point in South Africa, and the Cape of Good Hope itself, is the stunning views. The sparkling blue ocean, the sky that changes colour throughout the day, and the abundance of flora and fauna all around – you’ll never get bored of just sitting and taking it all in.
The aforementioned funicular and the Two Oceans Restaurant are always high on the list of recommendations. As well as those, Cape Point has so much history. There are audible tours you can download before you visit which will tell you all you need to know!
There’s a shipwreck trail, tidal pools and game-watching opportunities. No matter your age, interests or abilities, there’s something to do at Cape Point.
Cape Point in South Africa: the beaches
There are actually multiple beaches at Cape Point in South Africa. All offer soft sand and blue water – though there are no lifeguards on duty, so always be careful when swimming or surfing. If you have the correct permits, you can often fish or dive at these beaches so if that’s something you’re interested in, it’s worth looking into. Some of the best beaches at Cape Point are:
This is the very tip of Cape Point. It’s the beach you’ll see from the funicular, and the sea-level view is even more amazing.
Heralded as the ‘most unspoilt’ beach in the area, this is one for nature lovers. Tourists often spot baboons and ostriches on the sand! We spent an afternoon here and I can honestly say that it is one of my favourite beaches I have EVER visited!
Cape Point: where two oceans meet
At Cape Point, you’ll get to see something special. The waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean collide – though they don’t mix. This makes it look like a line has been drawn through the water, and it’s just fascinating to see.
You may not always be able to see it, however. Geographically the two oceans meet at Cape Agulhas, further down the coast. The meeting point can often be spotted from Cape Point, though, and it does migrate seasonally.
Where to stay when visiting Cape Point
Now you know a bit more about Cape Point in South Africa, you might be looking for somewhere to stay. For some of the best picks, see below:
Just 11 miles (around 25km) from Cape Point, Simon’s Town is a great place to stay. It’s home to the South African Navy’s naval base, and there’s plenty of restaurants, coffee shops and things to do.
La Pergola is a 30-minute drive from the Cape of Good Hope. It’s 2 person apartment with parking, free WiFi, a garden and pool as well as a fully equipped kitchen and en suite bathroom.
Albatross Guest House has several rooms and apartments. They all have balconies, kitchenettes and bathrooms. There’s free parking and WiFi, a garden and a shuttle service.
Watercolours House has various suites, all with a sea view. Parking and WiFi are free of charge, and there’s a pool, library and garden. Cape Point is just 10.2 miles away.
One of the most famous cities in the world, Cape Town is about an hour away from Cape Point. There’s a plethora of things to do, and some fantastic places to stay.
President Hotel has multiple rooms with sea or mountain views. There’s an infinity pool and spa, various restaurants and free WiFi.
Check Inn Hotel has various rooms for a budget stay. WiFi is free and there’s parking available as well as a bar and restaurant, and a 24h front desk.
Cape Point in South Africa- To Conclude
Cape Point in South Africa is a fascinating place to visit. Not only is there incredible scenery, but there is also a fascinating history too! If you enjoyed reading this article on Cape Point in South Africa, I am sure you will enjoy these posts too: