Cape of Good Hope is the most popular and must-visit place in South Africa. The stunning landscapes and mysterious legends bring here thousands of tourists every year. This is the guide to help you organize your trip.
Mistakenly many people think that Cape of Good Hope in the southernmost point of the African continent and the spot where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. However, it is not true. This place is Cape Agulhas and it is located 200 km away on the east along the Garden Route.
Despite its name, the Cape has always been a very dangerous place for the ships. Firstly it was even called “The Cape of Storms” by the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias, who was discovering the southern limits of Africa in the 15th century. But then the king of Portugal changed it to the “Cape of Good Hope” because of the great opportunity caused by the opening of a sea route to India and the East.
The legend of the Flying Dutchman
Did you know, that the Cape of Good Hope is the place of origin of the famous legend? Flying Dutchman was the ship of Dutch East India Company. It was returning from the Far East to Holland in 1641 and had to overcome the dangerous waters around the Cape of Good Hope when the storm began.
The crew asked the captain to wait until the storm is over, but the captain was Adamant. He vowed that he would overcome the passage around the Cape, even if it took him forever to accomplish it. Of course, the ship sank. And the legend tells that even now sometimes you can notice a ship shadow at the horizon.
Now the funicular up to the old lighthouse at Cape Point is named after the ship.
How to get to the Cape of Good Hope?
There are 3 ways to get to the Cape of Good Hope from Cape Town.
The first one and the best one is to travel around South Africa by car. Cape of Good Hope locates 70 km from Cape Town. That is 1.5-hour of driving. Advice is to start very early not to get into traffic.
The 2nd one is to take a day tour from Cape Town. The average price is 30 euros per person.
The 3rd one is to go there with the Cape Town sightseeing bus – Cape Point Explorer (kind of Hop on Hop off Red Bus). Follow the link to buy tickets online. The price for an adult is 530 rands.
Opening hours and tickets’ price
The reserve Gate is open at the following time: Winter: April – September 07:00 – 17:00. Summer: October – March 06:00 – 18:00
The ticket prices are different for South Africans and tourists. International visitors have to pay R320 for an adult ticket and R160 for children (2-11 years old). South Africans pay R80 for an adult and R40 for a child.
Cape of Good Hope visit experience
Plan to spend at least half of the day exploring Cape Point. My advice is to start with the famous Boulders Beach, and spend the mourning with funny penguins. Start the day very early and arrive at the Boulders beach exactly at its opening time, enjoy the penguins while there are no other visitors, and then drive another 30 km to the Cape of Good Hope.
Follow this link to read my article: Penguins experience at Boulders Beach in South Africa
Another advice is to choose the road and drive along the Chapmans peak, on the way from Cape Town or back to Cape Town. This is going to be the most beautiful road in your life.
When you approach the reserve Gate you will have to get out of the car and pay for the entry being blown away by strong gusts of wind. Don’t worry, I assure you that there is much less wind on the Cape. You still need to drive for a good 10-15 minutes.
Arriving at the parking you will see 2 trails: the one on the left leads to the Cape Point and the one on the right leads to the Cape of Good Hope.
I advise you to start climbing to the lighthouse for the dramatic views over the Cape of Good Hope. You can either walk along the hiking trail or take a ride at the funicular (it is not expensive). The Flying Dutchman will get you to the top in three minutes.
After enjoying the views from the upside, follow the second trail to the Cape of Good Hope. You will pass the beautiful beach. If you still have the energy it’s better to go down to the beach and feel the power of the ocean, as the waves are enormous there.
While walking along the boardwalk don’t forget to look around. As nature at the Cape is very unique. There are thousand species of typical plants that grow here and nowhere else in the world. Moreover, during the period from June to November, you might also notice a whale in the ocean.
Advice: with incredible landscapes comes a lot of wind and unpredictable weather. So take clothes for any occasion.
Where to eat at the Cape of Good Hope?
Right on The Cape of Good Hope near the visitors center, there is a Two Oceans Restaurant with an incredible view and set menu. The prices are quite high, but it worths it. Also on your way back, there are many good places for dinner in Simon’s town. And another option – is to organize a picnic.
Be careful with the baboons!
I was lucky not to meet them during my visit, but my friends did. And they warned me to stay as far as possible from the baboons. Those baboons who live at the Cape of Good Hope are very aggressive and strong. They can easily attack you and steal your food and camera. So DON’T SHOW THE BABOON THAT YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO EAT WITH YOU!
Those are not my photos, but this happens very often.
Read also: all my articles about South Africa.