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Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope

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.

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Going Round the Cape of Good Hope

We were undecided about whether to go to Cape Point that Sunday, as Ian suggested, but now I can’t remember why.

On a map of Cape Town, Ian showed us the route he had outlined for us to take from the city to the Cape of Good Hope, the south westernmost point of the continent. We would be passing through Camps Bay, Hout Bay, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Simon’s Town and Cape Point. A scenic route, that took us west to east and down to the Cape of Good Hope.

We stopped at each place and took photo after photo.

Camps Bay, with it’s stunning vistas, is home to Cape Town’s affluent. No surprise here.

Camps Bay
View of the bay
Camps Bay
Table Mountain’s tablecloth seen from Camps Bay

By the time we got to Chapman’s Peak and looked at Hout Bay, the clouds had begun rolling in.

Clouds rolling in on Hout Bay (seen from Chapman’s Peak)

It was a hauntingly beautiful sight….

More clouds on Hout Bay

Between the colorful striations in the rocks along Chapman’s Peak Drive and this interesting canopy above, we were thankful that Ian was behind the wheel as we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the view.

Chapman’s Peak Drive


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