The Cape of Good Hope is definitely one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of South Africa. Is that rightfully so, or is it blown out of proportion? Keep reading to find out.
What is the Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is one of three promontories on the Cape Peninsula, with a cliff towering more than 200 meters (~ 650 ft) above the sea below. The others are Cape Point on the other side of the tip and Cape Maclear in the middle.
Chances are you’ve seen photos of the famous Cape of Good Hope sign with the coordinates on it. It’s a crazy popular photo spot, hard to photograph without photo bombers.
The Cape of Good Hope is commonly mistaken for the point where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meet. It is however located at the meeting point of two major ocean currents. The difference in temperature between these two currents makes for different marine life on either side of the Cape of Good Hope.
The real meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean is at Cape Agulhas, 150 km (~ 93 miles) east of the Cape of Good Hope, as the crow flies. This is the true southern-most point of Africa as well.
Where is the Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is located on the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa. The area is known as the Cape Point Nature Reserve, and is part of Table Mountain National Park, formerly known as Cape Peninsula National Park.
The entrance gate for the Cape of Good Hope is about 50 km (~ 31 miles) south of Cape Town.
What to do at the Cape Point Nature Reserve
Honestly, the Cape of Good Hope wasn’t the highlight of our visit to the Cape Point Nature Reserve. We only did a 5 minute photo stop at the famous Cape of Good Hope sign. It would have taken a bit longer if we had wanted to wait in line for a photo with just the two of us.
We skipped the hike and instead drove to Cape Point. From the car park it’s about a 15 minute climb to the Cape Point Lighthouse. The path is paved, but it’s quite the climb, including some steps as well.
You’ll pass a couple of viewpoints on the way. When you reach the lighthouse you have a nice 360° view, mostly over the ocean, as Cape Point is a promontory. Although it was a hot day, it was very windy up there.
Not up for the climb? For R55 (~ $4 ~ €3) you can take the Flying Dutchman funicular from the car park up to the lighthouse.
On our way back to the car, 2 baboons crossed our path. They rumbled in the garbage can, found a banana peel and moved on. The baboons of the Cape Peninsula are wild animals that can be dangerous. Don’t feed them, keep a safe distance and don’t display food when they are around. You wouldn’t want them fighting you for it!
We saw a lot of baboons at Buffels Bay as well. There was a group of 12 with a bunch of babies digging in the grass, and more running around. The view at Buffels Bay is nice, and there are plenty of braai spots. Although that didn’t seem a safe place for a good braai with all those baboons around.
Apart from baboons there’s more wildlife to spot at Cape Point Nature Reserve. Keep your eyes peeled for herds of zebra, eland, red hartebeest and other antelope. We didn’t see any of those, but did spot a couple ostriches on the way to the Cape of Good Hope.
On the Cape of Good Hope map we received, several viewpoints are marked as great spots for whale watching. Unfortunately we visited outside of whale watching season, which is from June to November.
All in all we were about 2 hours at Cape Point Nature Reserve, but you can easily spend more time there. For more things to see and do at Cape Point, check out the SANParks website or visit the Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre.
Cape of Good Hope entrance fee
The Cape of Good Hope is an area of Table Mountain National Park where you need to pay a daily conservation fee upon entering the park. For foreign visitors, that’s R303 (~ $21 ~ €19) per adult per day, to be paid at the entrance gate. Seems like prices have doubled since we visited in March of 2018, since we only paid R145 (~ $10 ~ €9) per person.
When paying the entrance fee at the gate, you’ll receive a brochure with more information and a map of the Cape of Good Hope area. Note the exit times specified on a sign at the entrance gate. If you don’t stick to them, you’ll be fined.
For more and up-to-date information on the gate hours and entrance fee at the Cape of Good Hope, we refer to the Cape of Good Hope page on the SANParks website.
How to get to the Cape of Good Hope from Cape Town
There are a bunch of ways to get from Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope. We drove there in our rental car, but you can join a tour as well.
Go by car
If you have a vehicle at your disposal, like we did, you can perfectly visit the Cape of Good Hope on a day trip from Cape Town. It’s about a 50 km (~ 31 miles) drive, taking about an hour.
At all points of interest in the Cape Point Nature Reserve are car parks. Like everywhere in South Africa, a lot of them have parking attendants helping you find a spot and keeping an eye on your car while you’re away. It’s custom to give them some change upon departure (or arrival).
Join a tour to Cape of Good Hope
There are plenty of tours from Cape Town including Cape of Good Hope. You can go with a full or half day tour, a group or private tour. Most of them combine the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point with a visit to the penguin colony of Boulders Beach, and a scenic drive around the Cape Peninsula.
Hop on the Cape Explorer City Sightseeing Bus
You’ve probably seen those red (open-top) busses from City Sightseeing somewhere on your travels. Well, they drive around Cape Town as well. Their Cape Explorer tour includes stops at the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point.
The Cape Explorer tour is a guided day tour in a luxury air-conditioned double deck coach, leaving from 2 meeting points in Cape Town. It drives via Muizenberg (the famous surfer’s town with those colourful beach huts) to Simon's Town, where you’ll stop to visit the penguin colony. From there it continues to Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope.
For more information on the itinerary and availability of the Cape Explorer tour, click here.
So, does the Cape of Good Hope live up to its fame?
The scenery at Cape Point Nature Reserve is pretty impressive, but we must admit that the Cape of Good Hope itself is not really a highlight. Spend more time at Cape Point and the other viewpoints and beaches, enjoying the dramatic cliffs and endless ocean views.
We’d love to read in the comments if you found all the information you were looking for in this post. Did we cover everything or are you missing something? Let us know!
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