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Cape Point Nature Reserve

The pinnicle of Cape Point is whithin Cape Point Nature Reserve, perhaps the most scenically spectacular park in South Africa.

Explore the wild coastline with its clean white beaches, hike the cliff hugging trails high above the sea and climb to the top of the point (or take the funicular) for one of the Cape’s Peninsula’s defining views… then wash it all with down with a meal at the Two Oceans Restaurant.

Cape Point Hiking

The thousands of visitors who are whisked down to the tip of the Cape Peninsula by coach are missing out on the amazing natural beauty and wildlife of Cape Point.

Hiking trails exist on both coastlines of the Cape Point Nature Reserve – the Atlantic side is mostly flat beach walking and features ship wrecks and huge ocean views while the Indian Ocean side is home to an exciting path that winds along cliff-tops and mountain contours, across deserted beaches and through thick fynbos.

The diverse and often unique vegetation is fascinating and a Cape Point hike offers a visitor to Cape Town the best chance to spot big game – antelope species as well as zebra and ostrich are commonly seen.

You can do the trails by yourself but we’d strongly recommend using a professional guide – not only will they take the guesswork out of a Cape Point hike, but you’ll learn all about the fauna and flora you encounter as well as local history – and where to have lunch safely without Cape Point’s notorious baboons joining in!

Cape Point itself is one of the greatest landmarks in the world, jutting like a rocky knife into the broiling Atlantic ocean. It was here that Bartholomeu Diaz, the Portuguese navigator, first rounded the Cape in 1488, searching for a trade route to India and the East. The large stone cross in the reserve commemorates his achievement.

The Cape Point Nature Reserve protects many endangered animal and plant species, including four whale species, three dolphin species, four tortoise species, 250 bird species, and a reasonable selection of big game: stately-looking eland and the more startlingly patterned bontebok antelope, scampering baboons and dashing ostriches can be also seen on a drive through the pristine bush.

For the botanist, a staggering 1016 species of plants have been recorded here, but this is a mere 11% of the 9 000 plant species that make up the fynbos – ‘fine bush’ – found in the Cape, which forms the smallest but most diverse of the world’s six floral kingdoms.

Allow yourself a full day for this trip as the drive there and back on either side of the peninsula is full of beautiful sights and sounds of the Cape, making the journey as much fun as the destination itself. A stop-off at the penguin colony at Boulders Beach is a must, as is the boat trip to Duiker Island from Hout Bay.