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The Cape Point Story

Cape Point is renowned for its stunning views but it is more than just a beautiful setting. It is a place filled with a rich history and lots to do.

As one of South Africa’s most popular tourist attractions drawing thousands of people all year round, Cape Point has gone through massive changes since the first visitors in 1877.

“Considering the fact that the first road was only built there towards the end of 1915, those first few decades required people to embark on quite a hike just to see the famous lighthouse,” says Fatima Anter, Marketing Project Specialist at Cape Point.

The Lighthouse at Cape Point

The Lighthouse at Cape Point

Fortunately, times have changed considerably in the intervening years.

Today it has several interesting shops, a restaurant, hiking spots, and angling locations. Visitors no longer have to prep for an arduous trek to see the lighthouse thanks to the Flying Dutchman Funicular.

It takes approximately three minutes and provides breath-taking views in the process so it is no wonder that 450 people per hour use it as a means to get up to the lighthouse during peak season.

A History of Shipwrecks

Turning to Cape Points rich history the area is known for its dangerous waters with 26 recorded shipwrecks around Cape Point.

Much of the blame can be attributed to the two submerged reefs of Bellow’s Rock and Albatross Rock.

While there may be many famous shipwrecks perhaps the most famous story of all is that of the legendary Flying Dutchman.

Shipwreck

 

The Legend of The Flying Dutchman

The story goes that Captain Van der Decken was determined to get home from a successful trading mission for silks and spices in Indonesia in 1641.

However, the Cape of Storms lived up to its reputation with the weather making a turn for the worst as they approached Cape Point.

It is believed he swore an oath: “I shall round this damned Cape, even if I have to sail until Doomsday comes.” Well, the waters miraculously calmed but the ship and crew vanished without a trace, doomed to sail the seas around Cape Point forever.

A Treasure Trove of Beauty

The area also forms part of the Cape Point Nature Reserve, founded in 1938. Sixty years later, in 1998, it was incorporated into the Cape Peninsula National Park which is a veritable treasure trove of natural beauty, boasting more than 1 100 species of flora indigenous to the area.

And then there is whale season from July to October when, year after year, you can spot these massive mammals on their annual migration past Cape Point.

 

Cape Point

Where Two Oceans Meet

Contrary to popular belief, Cape Point is not the place where the cold Benguela Current of the Atlantic Ocean and the warm Agulhas Current of the Indian Ocean collide, producing the visual effect of a line in the ocean.

The line does not exist – instead, the meeting point fluctuates along the southern and southwestern Cape coast, usually occurring between Cape Agulhas and Cape Point.

However, the strong and dangerous swells, tides and localised currents around the point contribute to its feared reputation.

Getting There

SAA flies directly to Cape Town. Book your tickets today!

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