What is it about seeing the ultimate – highest, longest, deepest, farthest, etc. – that makes some people giddy?
When we decided to add Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope to our list, I was excited. In fact, I was more excited about that than anything else. Well, almost. I was really, very excited about having a drink in the highest pub in Africa – but that’s for a later post.
So after lunch at Simon’s Town and penguin watching at Boulders Beach, we were on our way to the Cape of Good Hope, the most south western point of the continent. Why is it called Good Hope anyway? That’s not a very common expression. Hope equals good, right? There isn’t such a thing as bad hope.
Did a drunken sailor come up with that name? As it turns out, a king, John II of Portugal did when he changed the name from Cape of Storms.
And why was a Portuguese king naming territory in South Africa? Well, it was simple really. The Portuguese were interested in establishing trade relations with countries in the Far East and the Cape offered an easier way for them to get there.
I’d been hearing about the Cape of Good Hope since high school and always wondered what it was like for sailors who had to sail around it (and Cape Horn – the southern tip of South America). How did they survive days at sea without hallucinating about land? Driving around Hwange National Park looking for game, there were many times when I was sure I saw buildings in the distance – but they were only in my mind.
Finally, we arrived at the park. We made it just before the funicular left for the last trip of the day. The ride to the the summit and the lighthouse took less than 15 minutes but what a view awaited us!
The landscape looked rugged, desolate, unspoilt and amazingly beautiful. We stood for a while, taking photos and drinking in the colors of the azure blue ocean. Our eyes followed the sweeping views of the land and the sea that stretched for miles in front of us.
Not far away, a group of teenagers took turns jumping from the retaining wall on to the edge of the cliffs – more than 200 feet above sea level. One misstep and they’d be – god, I didn’t even want to contemplate it. We decided to walk back down.
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