A day at the Cape of Good Hope
You meet your friends in poverty or on the bus … When I was coming back home from Warsaw to Wroclaw (Polish cities) four years ago, like every weekend, I didn’t know that a person was sitting next to me with whom I would experience many amazing moments. Malwina, my future bestie, spoke in English on the phone almost all the way, and I was delighted with her perfect accent. On the other side of the phone was Andrea, her boyfriend who lives in Italy. When she finished the conversation, she asked something, and so our acquaintance began, and it turned into friendship. Three years later, Andrea shared with me the idea of organizing Malvina’s 30th birthday in Cape Town. I was so happy. The week’s trip was kept strictly secret until Christmas, and two months later we spent a crazy week together.
February 25 was very intense. We were planning to visit the Cape of Good Hope Reserve. While in Cape Town, you cannot miss this place and its attractions. It’s like going to Krakow and not seeing Wawel. We left early in the morning. I lived in South Africa for only five months then and I didn’t feel strong enough to drive a car (left-hand and a demanding route), so we used the help of our guide Marta. It was a great idea because on the way we learned more about South Africa. We listened breathlessly to the stories about the chief Shaka (Shaka), who in the nineteenth century created the power of the Zulu tribe.
We were driving through Chapmans Peak at first. This is an amazing route located between Noordhoek and Hout Bay. It is 9 km long with 114 bends. Construction took seven years and was completed on May 6, 1922. An unusual event occurred along this path in 1988. Christopher White was coming home, fell asleep behind the driver of his Mercedes, fell off a 100-meter cliff, and … luckily survived the accident. Two years later, Mercedes used the story in an advertisement, giving two reasons why he survived, the first because he was wearing seat belts and the second because he was driving a car of this particular brand. Mercedes rival BMW didn’t leave it unanswered and launched its own spot with the message that “if Mr. White were driving their brand car, the accident would not have happened at all”.
The story continued. 30 years later, Mercedes launched the new S-class Intelligent Drive model and used the accident again by inviting the victim himself to cooperate. In the ad, Mr. Christopher White, remembers the moments before the event and faces his fear and emotions by being driven by a Mercedes with the possibility of autonomous driving. You can see the ad here.
Time was running out. The views of the ocean, mountains, beaches, and coastal towns were impressive, but we still had a lot to see so we couldn’t stay anywhere. Especially that … ostriches were waiting for us. Ostrich farming in South Africa accounts for up to 75% of the world’s production of products such as meat, feathers, leather goods, and leather accessories. Ostrich meat is low in fat and high in iron. Although it is classified as poultry, it is red and tastes more like venison or beef. It is worth a try!
The visit to Cape Point Ostrich Farm was an interesting experience. For a symbolic amount, you can buy ostrich food in a local shop and try to feed them, which is not so simple.
According to the plan, we arrived at the Cape of Good Hope. We were a little hungry already. We took with us a bottle of wine, some fruit, and Doritos crisps (necessarily blue), planning that in the circumstances of beautiful nature, we would have a little picnic. The idea would have been great, but unfortunately not feasible due to the prowling baboons (baboons). My last visit to the Park ended with a fight for a backpack. If someone didn’t throw a bottle of water at the monkey, I could say goodbye to my phone and wallet forever. Baboons can be dangerous and you need to watch out for them. First of all, do not look them in the eyes, and do not irritate them, e.g. by eating a banana strangely! You should also not leave windows in the car open unless you want to have uninvited guests.
The weather was perfect. With blue sky, gentle breeze, and calm surface of the Atlantic Ocean and the bay (False Bay), it’s hard to believe that this beautiful corner can be tricky. Over the centuries, when changing weather, violent storms, and fog came, this place was the last haven for many ships and their crews. This is confirmed by 26 wrecks and the earlier name “Cape of Storm” given to this place by the discoverer Bartolomeo Diaz. The Portuguese were the first, in 1488, to circumnavigate the Peninsula and pave the way. Ten years later, Vasco Da Gama sailed even further along Africa, thus opening an important page in world history. Trade between Europe and India has become real and most importantly available not only to explorers and daredevils. Finally, the name was changed to the Cape of Good Hope. The must-see point in Cape Of Good Hope is the old lighthouse, located at an altitude of 238 m above sea level. It can be reached on foot or by using a comfortable cable car that runs every three minutes.
After spending some time in this beautiful area we said goodbye to go to spend some time with African penguins in the Boulders Reserve. The reserve consists of three beaches with huge granite boulders (very similar to those found in the Seychelles). Wooden paths were built so as not to destroy the breeding sites. Penguins like penguins are just cute, especially when they come out of the water with a whole flock or bury their eggs. Some of them keep order. One of them stood with an open beak at the entrance and we left it in the same position when we left, so it was nicknamed “the ticket inspector”.
We were joking that the penguins are such cute so we could take one with us. We would have to take the other one as well because these animals mate for life and it would be a shame to separate the lovers. We gave up the idea of kidnapping but we found another option – legal adoption of an egg or a penguin itself. Penguins are under strict protection, and their number has dropped dramatically in 50 years. The Sanccob organization helps save this amazing species thanks to such initiatives. More information. https://sanccob.co.za/.
We regretfully left our little African friends but we had to go back. This was my second visit to the Cape of Good Hope. It delighted me as much as it was at the first time. There are more beautiful places around but it’s impossible to see everything in one day. I will definitely come back to discover the remaining gems and feel the smell of the ocean at the most South-Western Point of Africa once again.
Some useful information:
- If we have limited time to explore Cape Town and its surroundings, some attractions are worth seeing with a local guide in your own car. The Cape of Good Hope Reserve can be reached by a touristic red double-decker bus, which works very well, for example, when visiting the city.
In case of further trips, I think the whole fun is stopping in places that we like. For safety reasons, the red bus does not pass the Chapmans Peak route and there are many viewpoints there and it would be a shame not to see them.
- A trip to Cape Point is a whole day of sightseeing. In addition, Cape Town is very crowded, so it is worth leaving as early as possible, e.g. at 7 am. You can also take advantage of group tours.
- Chapmans Peak – entrance is payable (50 ZAR). The route is constantly monitored for safety. There have been fatal accidents due to falling stones, which are now held in place with special nets. The road also closes in rainy weather, and several hours after it rains, until it is judged safe.
- More information about the reserve:
- Nearby the penguin beach, there is a shop with natural products from South African aloe. Check if you are interested in some natural products.
and the last tip … wear something red so that you don’t regret that you could look better in the pictures 🙂