The Southern most tip of Africa, The Cape of Good Hope is something I only knew of and read about in my Geography textbooks in school. As a reader though, you can picture very little just by reading about something, unless you really see it in person. That's what being here felt like! A moment when suddenly, everything that you have read about comes out of the books and becomes a reality. Today, standing at the Cape Point and looking far into the horizon, it felt as if all that I read long ago, has transpired into reality, without having asked for it!
Approaching the Cape of Good Hope
The journey to Cape of Good Hope is a scenic road trip along the country side on one end and the sea-shore lining the other. Driving through the picturesque routes of the Hout Bay area with miles of vineyards covering the hill slopes and the Camp Bay area where the sea shores sublimely merge with the civilization, every blink of your eye renders a new landscape.
It only gets better, until after some time, you leave the city streets behind and the rest of the journey is only between you and the nature. The zig-zag routes leading through the mountains into a vast stretch of wilderness, keeps all your senses engaged.
The Hiking Trails Await
As you approach the entrance to the 'Cape of Good Hope' area, the sea breeze only gets stronger. The entry to the Cape conservation area is along a road with vast grasslands on its either side until you approach the start point of the trail. Here, the routes bifurcate for two trails - the Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.
The Cape Point Trail
The Cape Point gives a distant view of the Atlantic Ocean from the Lighthouse on top. You can walk up along the trail or hop in on the Cable Car, but I would recommend hiking up instead, as it is worth the sweat. Although the sun was on its brightest today, there was a chill in the air. If you want to find out what ' pin drop silence' literally means, you will know it here. I was almost panting as I hiked up, but, the view was too breathtaking to stop! It seemed to ask a mysterious question - what lies on the other side? I just couldn't wait to find out!
The lighthouse comes with a mile-stand showing the directions and distances to some of the popular global destinations.
As you further climb up, the place surrounds you with the distinct flora and fauna that are worth a memory. I was only aware of 'Aloe Vera' plants which only looked green all over. It was all going unnoticed until a lady from behind pointed out about them. The aloe leaves somehow seemed to miss my view due to the bright red flowers on them. Also, I should admit, I was too busy trying to capture this li'l guy taking advantage of that natural camouflage. It was sort of shying away from the lenses. Did you spot it by the way!! ????
You can also walk down further ahead of the lighthouse by taking a small diversion just short of the climb to the lighthouse to the Cliff Lookout. You can further choose to take the trail to the Cliff Lookout up to the farthest end. I did not take this trail as my choice of hike was very clear for the day. The view from here is simply enchanting. The air is so fresh and welcoming that you want to fill in every inch of your lungs with that deep breath.
Visiting the Cape Point Museum and Gallery
The Cape Point Museum is something you would like to keep for the end, while going back. Of course, not all seem to read the history, but if you do, you can read about how the Cape Point has traveled through the ages of war and peace. Take your time to pick up a souvenir at the store here. Or may be you can try befriending a baboon here. I would say - do not try that! They bite; at least that's what the signboards say. But they are photo friendly, and let you click pictures.
It was now time for me to take the more arduous trail of the day - the Cape of Good Hope. From the Cape Point, I could see the waves splashing back and forth the peninsula, and a beach far off the wilderness is ever inviting.