About The Cape of Good Hope
Table Of Contents
I have known travellers who would swear you have not done Cape Town travels the right way if you have not been on a cape of good hope tour. The Cape of Good Hope is one of the top 10 most attractive destinations in the Cape.
The name Cape of Good Hope can be translated to the Afrikaans, Kaap die Goeie Hoop, which is also derived from the Dutch Kaap de Goede Hoop. The Portuguese travellers called it Cabo da Boa Esperança.
The Cape of Good Hope is a picture perfect, windy and rocky area at the Southern end of the Cape Peninsula of the Western Cape of South Africa. There are varying versions to how it came to be named. One of the more prominent accounts is that a Spanish traveller, Dias was shipwrecked in a mighty storm at this coast. He then named it Cape of Storms. The name was prophetic, as Dias would later lose his life at sea. Another traveller, John from Portugal has an opposite experience, and decided to name it “Cape of Good Hope”. It had opened up a channel for traders to reach India from Europe.
The Cape of Good Hope is the furthest Southern part of the Table Mountain National Park. Beyond the obvious, there are scenic trails to be experienced, flora and fauna to be seen, souvenir stores to support local craftsmen, and restaurants serving both local and international cuisine. We won’t presume to know what you want to get out of a day out.
Cape of Good Hope Tour also known as Peninsula Tour Cape Town
There is an argument for taking your time to get through this tour. Some may even say that it is best done over half a day. If you are looking at tour providers, that may be a great way to filter them right from the get go.
Consider what you would want to see along the way, and if the tour you are on will be making any stops along the way. The Cape peninsula stretches across a scenic route that winds around the coast for close to 178 miles. It will take you through:
- Hout Bay
- Chapmans Peak Drive
- Cape Point
- Boulders Beach
- Simons Town
- Kalk Bay
- Constantia Valley
There is obviously a lot of ground to cover in a day. Tours come in the form of half-day and full-day.
Llandudno gets its name from a coastal seaside resort in North Wales, which has the same name. The two couldn’t be any more different. Llandudno, Cape Town is a residential suburb. It does not boast of any shopping amenities or commercial activity of note. Perhaps because of its location and peacefulness thereof, Llandudno has some of the most priced real estate.
There are not too many places to stay or eat around here. You are a few minutes drive away from food, drink and all else you may need. Enjoy your time in Llandudno and head off, or bring supplies with you.
Popular Activities in Llandudno
- Hike to Sandy Bay (nudist beach)
The beach is renowned for its cleanliness, as well as the blue water it leads to. The sunsets are to die for. The town overlooks the beach below it, giving visitors a tastes of what is beneath them. The beach returns the favour by showing off a pretty city above it.
Hout Bay comes from the Afrikaans “Houtbaai”, which means Bay of wood or wood bay. It is a suburb about 17 miles out of the city centre of Cape Town. As a Dutch colony, great quality timber was found in the area. Many of the things that needed wood for construction and ship building would have gotten the choicest wood from that bay. At the time, Hout Bay would become two farms, then slowly more and more of what we see today. Today, the bay is still largely rural, with a fairly small population of about 45 000 residents.
There are 28 neighbourhoods that make up Hout Bay. These include:
- Scott Estate
- Hanging Meadows
- Imizamo Yethu
- Beach Estate
- Mount Rhodes
- Klein Leeukoppie Estate
- Hout Bay Heights
- Hughenden Estate
Popular Activities and sites in Hout Bay
- Leisure and Tourism
- Bird Watching
- Hout Bay Museum
Chapmans Peak Drive
For the lovers of scenery, a good hike and mountain ranges, let me introduce Chapmans Peak Drive. It was named after an English ship pilot, John Chapman. This is a range that you can see as you travel between Hout Bay and Noordhoek. It is situated on the Western side of the Cape Peninsula. The Chapmans Peak can be seen from Noordhoek. It is largely famous for forming part of the route that is taken in the Cape Argus Cycle Race and the Two Oceans Marathon.
The peak was an engineering feat of its time, in 1922, when its hacking was completed. It has since seen some revamps to improve safety. Chapman’s drive connects Hout Bay and Noordhoek.
So we have already mentioned Noordhoek. It is located below Chapman’s peak, within the Cape Peninsula of the Western Cape. Noordhoek is a direct Dutch translation meaning “North Corner”. It is situated about 28 miles out of the city centre. Noordhoek provides a massive shoreline, and beach.
Noordhoek beach is arguably the most beautiful beach you will visit in South Africa. I would even go as far as to say that it is up there with some of the best ones in the world. It offers an unparalleled peaceful walk along a long stretch of sand, next to the water. The Atlantic Ocean and the area surrounding it may be treacherously cold, so make sure you come prepared. Noordhoek is natural and breathtakingly beautiful.
There is an adjacent car park, which is fairly cheap. It is certainly worth it for the peace of mind. The guards at the car park are great.
Popular Activities at Noordhoek
- Shark watching
- Long walks
- Horse Riding
Another little gem on the Cape Peninsula is Scarborough. It is a little town south of Cape Town. The beach is fairly secluded, and without the crowds that tend to come with popular spots. If you are after a peaceful walk, collecting sea shells or something of the sort, this is the beach to come to.
The sunsets are artwork. It is also one of the more child friendly beaches on the Cape Peninsula. There are safe areas with some rock, for kids to play. This location also puts you in reach of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve.
Popular Activities Scarborough
- Offshore fishing
If there is a place that could accurately be referred to as the edge of the world, Cape Point fits that bill. It is the southernmost part of Africa; South West to be precise. The Cape Point is one of the drawing features of Table Mountain National Park. At the highest point of it stands a beautiful lighthouse, which is a crowd puller. Tourists and locals alike tend to wander there. The view of the underlying terrain from the lighthouse is a spectacle.
The Cape is accessible for all but 3 days of the year. That is on the 1st of January, the 25th and the 26th of December. Other than those days, you can travel without being interrupted.
Although Cape of Good Hope is more glamorous, the peak at Cape Point is of a higher latitude. You can travel around the Cape Point on the Cape Point Funicular. It is a railway service car that connects the Cape Point carpark to the lighthouse, and other high points. It is affectionately known as the Flying Dutchman.
The Boulders Beach is iconic for its penguins. The beach itself is sheltered by boulders, hence the name. The colony of penguins at Boulders Beach have been drawing tourists for over two decades. One can only find the African penguins on the South Coasts of Namibia and here of course, at Boulders Beach. They are at the risk of extinction, and as such are protected. The beach is located within Table Mountain National Park. The area which the beach is located is still residential.
There has been construction to make the area more habitable for the penguins. Emphasis has also been put on facilitating for tourist to view the penguins as well. This can be done from Foxy Beach. There are boardwalks that take tourists very close to the penguins.
Tourists may also swim, as long as they do not do this at the beach where the penguins are located.
Simon’s Town has long been a coveted and loved location for the navy. The Royal Navy had their base at Simon’s town. The South African Navy have since made this their own home. You will find a base and a harbour here. The time was named after Governor Simon van der Stel. The town is right next to the water and a beautiful beach, at False Bay.
Simon’s Town is always visited by those who come to Boulders Beach. Within the naval base, you will find a tower that has remained from the time that the British had their base here.
Minus the weather, you may be forgiven for mistaken Simon’s town for an English coastal town. The colourful houses and an incredible atmosphere to match it. It just feels like the first of the last day of summer.
Popular Activities and Things to see at Simon’s Town
- The South African Naval Base
- Martello Tower
- South African Naval Museum
- Simon’s Town Museum
- Waterboard paddling
Along the coast of False Bay is another lovely little town. Kalk Bay is a fishing village and a suburb in the greater Cape Town area. It is slightly sheltered by a mountainous range. The large deposits of mussel shells within the area, give it the name “Kalkbaai”, which is Afrikaans for Bay of Lime. The early settler in the area used to burn the mussel shells to make lime. Kalk Bay is connected to the city centre by rail.
The train journey in itself is an experience, with some parts of the line being right next to the water. The Kalk Bay Reef is a massive draw for surfers. If you want to support local business, the fish market offer you a great opportunity to purchase a fresh catch, and help a local business.
Popular Activities and Things to see at Kalk Bay
- Whale and Seal Watching
- Starfish gazing
- The Lighthouse
When you are in Kalk Bay, be sure to venture down to the harbour. It is a must do experience. It also gives you an opportunity to take some great photos. The Bay is a hive of activities, there are people to speak with, things to see and do. All your five senses will be indulged.
In Afrikaans Muizenberg can be broken down into two words “Muizen” = mice and “berg” = mountain. As a whole it can be translated to Mice Mountain. It is a suburb next to the beach. Surfers will tell you that this is where surfing started in the country. Historically, Muizenberg was a stashed away holiday resort for the wealthy, similar to the Hamptons.
It is famous for great architecture such as “Sand Hills”, which was designed by Sir Hebert Baker to be his own home, on Atlantic road. “Vergenoegd” and “Coel an Mar” were also designed by Sir Hebert.
Cecil John Rhodes bought a home here as well. His home bears his name, Rhodes Cottage. It is now a museum that shows Rhodes’ life to visitors.
The Dutch East India Company also left their mark here, they built Het Posthuys, which is said to be one of the oldest buildings in the country. It dates back to 1673, which was before the Cape Town Castle was built.
Popular Activities and sights in Muizenberg
- Sand Hills
- Coel an Mar
- Rhodes Cottage
- Het Posthuys
- Casa Labia
- Surfing / Kitesurfing
- Paddle Boarding
- Colourful Beach Huts
The most common criticism that you will hear of Muizenberg is that it has become somewhat overly touristy. More and more work has gone into making it look prettier for the visitors. This of course, some would say has come at the expense of what draws people here in the first place, nature.
To end the tour, we head down to one of the priciest real estate in South Africa. Constantia Valley is located about 12 miles outside of Cape Town. To the west of Constantia Valley is the Constantiaberg mountain.
The valley is famous for its vineyards and wine. What you may not realise is that this it was established by the same governor after whom Simon’s Town was named after. He established the Estate of Groot Constantia in 1685. There are various other wine farms within the valley. The farms were largely slave farmed at the time, but today, there is a good workforce.
While in the area, you have access to about 10 wine farms. If you are not on a wine tour, you may not go to these farms. Most wine tours include at least 8 of these farms, on their official route. This is one of the oldest wine producing areas within the southern hemisphere. I can guarantee that a large portion of bottles with the “South African wine” tag on them are from this area.
If you can covered all of the places that we mentioned on here, you can comfortably say that have made the most of your Cape of Good Hope Tour. Make the most of the peninsula tour Cape Town.