OK, let me get it straight out of the way. A half day Cape Point tour with The Fynbos Guy means we won’t be going down to the tip of the reserve, to Cape Point, where the lighthouse is. Oh alright, we can nip down if you want but it’s really not necessary. Here’s why.
The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, in which Cape Point sits at the bottom, is a 7750 hectare section of the Table Mountain National Park. Cape Point itself, Africa’s most south-westerly tip, is a large car park with shops and restaurant. There’s a short scenic walk to the lighthouse for wide-screen ocean views and – uhm, that’s kind of it.
The rest of the park however is a wild mash of diverse landscapes, big game, wild beaches and breathtaking, crowd-free scenery. And you can experience it in half a day, making this tour a great combination with iconic Boulders Beach penguin colony located close by. Cape Point and Boulders in one day – bonus!
Bontebok antelope are often seen, either as single males or small families.
The journey from Cape Town takes at least an hour. Grand views of both oceans accompany us as we drive past vineyards and over mountain passes. Arriving at the reserve, we quickly leave the crowds behind by heading for the Atlantic coastline. Recently burnt areas are home to grazing bontebok antelope, a Cape endemic and once hunted to the brink of extinction. Before long the flower-strewn flatlands give way to the golden beaches of Olifantsbos (‘elephant bush’)..
Hiking here couldn’t be easier. A stroll through aromatic coastal bush takes us onto beaches deserted of people but home to great flocks of sea and shore birds. You’re likely to see wandering tortoises, ostriches and parties of foraging baboons. Shipwrecks punctuate the Atlantic coastline, their rusting ribs like dinosaur bones. You’ll see real bones too – huge, table-sized whale bones. And in spring when migrating whales arrive in the Cape’s waters, you may even see the real thing.
Turning inland, we return to the car via a low ridge overlooking the beach. It’s covered in fynbos vegetation but don’t be fooled by its scrappy, scrubby appearance as you approach. Up close, the fynbos is packed with floral jewels. Depending on the time of year you’ll see proteas, heathers and daisies in extravagant display as well as bizarre succulents and rare bulbs. There are orchids here (67 species!) as well as plants that are found here and nowhere else on the planet. Sugarbirds and sunbirds provide cheerful, twittering company as we come off the ridge and back to the car for lunch.
This half-day Cape Point tour can be enjoyed as a morning or afternoon activity, leaving plenty of time for Boulders Beach penguin colony and the scenic drive to and from Cape Town. It’s perfect for wildlife enthusiasts, bird watchers, photographers and anyone after an easy introduction to the fauna and flora of the Cape peninsula. Recommended for any age and fitness, it makes a great idea for families. Children will love all the animals, it’s flat walking and you’ll be back in Cape Town by late afternoon – mission accomplished.
Cape Point hiking with The Fynbos Guy – it’s Cape Point, done differently.