The weather forecast doesn't bode well for our trip to the Cape of Good Hope. But we would not have expected that we would end our tour booked in a small group across the Cape Peninsula completely soaked. In comparison, our voyage along the river was barely visible from storms and rain showers Cape Horn at the tip of South America a pure Sunday excursion. But first things first:
The XNUMX-hour small-group tour with GetYourGuide dubbed “Cape Town: Table Mountain, Penguins & Cape Point' begins with a refusal. Due to strong winds, the cable car ride up Table Mountain, which was planned as the first activity, was cancelled. Alternatively, a visit to the fur seals at Seal Island off Hout Bay will be included in the daily program.
Boat trip to Seal Island
From Hout Bay's fishing port, passenger ships set course several times a day for Seal Island, the colony of eared seals and the associated bird sanctuary. In case of heavy rain we go on board; we can safely forget the open deck. The sheltered decks are crowded. It depends on chance to photograph the many seals and birds. Speaking of seals: Dozens of South African fur seals cavort in the water. Just as many hang out on the rocks. According to hearsay, the number of animals is in the thousands. It is predominantly male, not yet sexually mature specimens that spend their bachelor existence in groups.
The Fur Seals of Seal Island
Seal Island - swimming fur seals
Between January and March the seals change their fur. During this time they abstain from eating. The fish stocks thank them. This does not apply to two halfway tame specimens that hang around on the quay and - apparently for show purposes - can be fed.
Hout Bay - tame fur seals
The fur seals share the area with a large number of birds. Most of them are subspecies of gulls and cormorants.
Chapman's Peak Drive
Our minibus leaves Hout Bay and continues towards the Cape of Good Hope. Between Hout Bay and Noordhoek lies one of the world's most exciting coastal drives, Chapman's Peak Drive. It leads past a 593 meter high mountain of the same name. Built during World War I, the nine-kilometer route climbs steeply to Chapman's Point. After that it drops down to the village of Noordhoek. In total, users of Chapman's Peak Drive negotiate 114 curves and enjoy spectacular views of the countryside.
Chapman's Peak Drive is a toll road. Maintenance and safety measures carried out in the years 2000 to 2003 necessitate this modest effort. We enjoy the views of the unique stretch of coast from several rest areas.
Rest area on Chapman's Peak Drive
Panorama of Chapman's Peak Drive
The Farm Village Northhoek
The coastal town of Noordhoek is one of the destinations on the Cape Peninsula that encourage a stopover in good weather. Cape Town's upscale suburb is best known for its long, white beaches and the activities that go with them.
View of Northhoek
The rain stops for a moment and we stop at The Farm Village Noordhoek. Surrounded by tall trees, the Farm Village building complex offers its visitors a boutique hotel, several restaurants and shops with tasteful souvenirs and consumer goods such as collars for dogs.
The Farm Village in Noordhoek
The Farm Village in Noordhoek
Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point
Our destination, the most south-western point of Africa, is getting closer after we pass the Misty Cliffs.
The Misty Cliffs
The landscape of the Misty Cliffs
A warm and a cold ocean current meet at the Cape of Good Hope. It storms and rains; our expectations of a rough shore are exceeded. The road ends at the Cape of Good Hope.
At the Cape of Good Hope
The waves break on the inhospitable shore. Seals, gulls, cormorants, a few ostriches and baboons live on the cape. And that's where the two-kilometre-long "Cape of Good Hope Scenic Walk" begins. Like a road, it leads to the eastern end of the Cape Peninsula, to Cape Point.
Cape Point is better developed than the Cape of Good Hope. There is the Two Oceans restaurant with indoor and outdoor areas, toilet facilities, a shop and a funicular with the evocative name "Flying Dutchman".
Due to a power cut lasting several hours due to a lack of energy, which is not unusual in South Africa, the “Flying Dutchman” is pausing. If you – like us – want to get to a higher vantage point, you have to walk over well-kept, steep paths and stairs. And we do that, because we're wet anyway.
We have arrived at Cape Point
In retrospect, this 15-minute endeavor was about satisfying a certain sporting ambition. The weather and visibility were extremely poor and the rain wasn't fun either. At least we saw outlines of the old lighthouse, a weather station and the waiting room of the funicular. Two words describe the experience: wasted time.
The old lighthouse at Cape Point in the rain
The Penguins of Boulders Beach
Don't miss a visit to Boulders Beach's African penguins. In Table Mountain National Park, around 3.000 penguins live in the tranquil suburb of Simon's Town between the mighty granite cliffs of Boulders Beach. The animals attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. As can be heard, the animals come from a breeding pair that discovered the protective section of beach as their new home. Other penguins moved in given the good conditions. Because of the limited fishing quotas, the fish eaters who wear tails generally find good living conditions.
Simon's Town in heavy rain
Penguins on Boulders Beach
Although African penguins are on the endangered species list, they don't just have advocates. Their guano leads to the death of sensitive plant species. The nocturnal birds make a lot of noise with their donkey-like mating calls and wreak havoc on the surrounding gardens. No wonder pets prey on them.
Penguins on Boulders Beach
There is an entrance fee to access the penguin populations. Despite the heavy rain, we are convinced that a visit to Boulders Beach and its penguins is really worth it. And what does heavy rain matter; we shake ourselves and drive back to Cape Town.
We have booked the tour at GetYourGuide under the name "Cape Town: Table Mountain, Penguins & Cape Point“.