The Cape of Good Hope

Today we planned to head out of town and down the coast to the Cape of Good Hope. We'd booked a Mini Cooper for the day from Cobra Car Rental and it was delivered to the hotel around 10am. After a brief check and orientation we loaded up our bags and headed for the coast road south to the Cape.

Getting out of Cape Town for the coast was very easy from Derwent House and it wasn't long before we were well on our way. There’s a trendy little beach suburbs just south of Cape Town called Camps Bay, so we detoured through it for a look and took this picture of the mini with a mountain range called the Twelve Apostles behind it.

Our cute little Mini Cooper

The car arrived with only a quarter tank of gas so as soon as we reached the next town, Hout Bay, I pulled into a service station to fill up. I got out of the car to go fill it when a young man approached the pump and asked me how much petrol I wanted, a second man started cleaning the front windscreen. Full service driveways, I haven't seen those in years!

With a full tank and clean windows we headed south from Hout Bay toward Chapmans Peak Drive. This is a toll road and we had to buy a ticket at the toll booth. About a kilometer later we we approached a checkpoint where our ticket was checked. I have no idea how you could get past the first tollgate without a ticket and there were no other roads adjoining the highway after the tollbooth.

The highway is carved into the rock 600m above the crashing waves below. It’s notorious for falling boulders and the solution they have arrived at to protect cars are huge steel nets strung up along the steep mountain sides.

Boulder nets protecting the roadway

In one place the road has been fortified and it actually goes under the mountain. The drive finished after about 15kms and we came to the town of Noordhoek that has a fantastic beach that 8km long and a popular horse riding spot. The next town was a place called Kommetjie (my pronunciation was giving Kelly headaches) and decided to take a look at a Lighthouse we could see from the road. The lighthouse has been operational since 4 March 1919.and is the tallest cast iron tower on the South African Coast, a 100 feet from base to its balcony.

Lighthouse at Kommetjie

After leaving Kommetjie the countryside changes to relatively flat areas of scrub and as you approach the cape area you see warning signs for Baboons.

Baboons!

Apparently baboons are common in the cape area and according to the signs can be quite dangerous.

More Baboon warnings

We took note of the warning and kept heading south. Just when I thought I'd be lucky to ever see a Baboon we came around a corner and there were Baboons all over the road. There were two in particular one laying flat on the road the other holding and lifting its paw, our immediate concern was that a car had injured one of them. Getting a little closer we could see that the one on the ground was fine and that he was just having a great time being groomed by the other one!

Baboons everywhere

While we sat there several more Baboons entered the road from the bushes including a grizzled male and several babies. They all just milled around the road and took very little notice of cars slowly picking their way through them.

Mother and baby Baboon

Happy that I'd actually seen a Baboon or two we headed south and were soon at the entrance to the national park that surrounds the Cape. Our first stop was Cape Point, a great vantage point where you can see for miles. As our legs were still suffering from our descent of Table Mountain we were very relieved to see that the funicular railway was working and would take us up to the peak. We would have had no chance of walking up or down the steep roadway.

Funicular Railway to the peak

The views from the point were truly awesome, in fact there’s one lookout that gave us a real Avatar moment. Do you remember the scene when all the dragonriders clinging to the walls above the sea took off in flight? Well this looked just like that scene but with birds instead of dragons.

Steep Cliffs at the Cape lookout

From the Point we drove around to the actual Cape of Good Hope, which is far less dramatic than the point, but emotionally more satisfying. 

When planning our day trip I'd come across a review of a restaurant, in Wallpapers guide to the Cape, called Harbour House that looked great. A beachy place with a view of the waves crashing over the rocks, cated in a small town called Kalk Bay on the Eastern side of the Cape. This worked out really well as we drove down the Western route and back up the other side seeing both the rugged country and the small towns built between the mountains and the coast.

Kalk Bay is a real little fishing village with a small harbour full of fishing boats and the wharves were lined with fishermen gutting their catch. A young guy called to me and pointed to the water by a step of stones steps going down into the harbour, when I looked down a large seal poked it’s nose out of the water! The young guy grabbed some fish offcuts and threw them down on the steps and the seal scrambled up the steps to eat it. We tried to get a picture of me standing on the steps with the seal but I think he already eaten enough and wouldn't come back up.

The Seal

We booked a table and headed to the bar for a drink until dinner started. Kelly had another Mojito, which was as good if not better than the ones we'd had the previous night. I settled for a Peroni on tap that arrived in an enormous beer glass.

Dinner was awesome, we had a table right next to the window overlooking the ocean and the gulls were flying back and forth and the waves were crashing and we were in food heaven, again!

Kelly at our table by the ocean

I had the house speciality a Titan of Prawns followed by a fish called Kingklip that came with mash and a poached egg on top, Kelly had Calamari dusted with Masala and then a fish called Cob that came with Artichokes.

Cheers

We drove back to Cape Town after dark successfully navigating our way without getting lost and headed up Signal Mountain, not far from the hotel, to take a look at the city lights. Sorry mum but the lights of Cape Town might just beat out the lights of Adelaide from Windy Point.

Signal Hill, looking toward Table Mountain on the right

After a full day it was back to Derwent House sad that our time in Cape Town was coming to an end but looking forward to our next adventure - Ulusaba.

Tony Redhead

93 Maud Street, Unley, SA, 5061, Australia