I've never been to Cape Point

Okay, I visited Cape Point as a baby, but it doesn't count if you can't remember it, right? As mentioned in my previous two posts, the 'summer' weather in Cape Town was not great. Not bad, but not run-on-the-beach-summer-great. So we took the scenic route again, and decided to visit Cape Point, like proper tourist.

I was surprised. I did not realise that it was a big national park. I thought you just drove down the coast and arrive at the point. Ignorant in my own country. Also, the point is imposing! To get into the Table Mountain National park costs R90 per adult. Seems pricy, but well worth it.

When you enter the park the terrain looks almost like the moon (well, sort of), covered in whitish grey rocks and dark green woody bushes. As you keep driving, it starts changing. More and more colourful flowering fynbos appears. And then you see the ocean in the distance, like you are driving towards the end of the earth.

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Shortly after entering we stopped at the visitors' centre for a bathroom break and some snacks. The historical Cape Dutch building houses a little 'museum' if I can call it that. On display they have some of the flowers in vials that are flowering at the moment, with their names. There are also some stuffed animals and birds that are found in the area. I saw an activity station, which I assume is for kids, with different bones and shells and plants  - lots of textures for little hands. There is also a sculpture in the courtyard of Cape Point - could probably be considered a relief map of the area.

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One of the things that really caught my attention was the selection of floraThe Cape of Good Hope is an integral part of the Cape Floristic Kingdom. There are over a thousand species of plants  and some of them grow no where else on earth! Some of the fynbos that can be found here includes proteas, pincushions, ericas, sugar bush and cone bush. I took lots of pics. I have never seen pincushion bushes as big is the ones growing here.


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Leucospermum conocarpodendron (Commonly called the Tree Pincushion). Massive. Beautiful. 
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Pincushion.
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Not quite sure what these are.
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I think these might be part of the Erica family.
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Another unidentified but interesting flower. 
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Cone bush.
The Point itself is a bit like a giant garden. Apart from the breathtaking views, the plant life is spectacular.




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But now for the Point. You can either walk up to the point, yes, it is a climb, which I also did not know,  or you can take the Flying Dutchman Funicular. It takes its name from the legend of the ghost ship, the Flying Dutchman. We decided to be super touristy and pay the R49 p/p return and took the funicular with a bunch of Japanese tourists.

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On our way up the steps to the old lighthouse viewing point, I saw this lizard with only half a tail. I splashed some of my water at it to see if it would move. To my surprise it did not scatter, instead, it started drinking the water! And I got really close for some good photos:

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Japanese tourist
The view from the top is breathtaking. It feels like you are staring at the end of the earth, the ocean on both sides, the history of South Africa's discovery in front of you. I tried to imagine explorers in the 1400s arriving here, storms tearing at their wooden ships, jagged rocks all along the coast, and this imposing cliff, pointing straight at them. How terrifying. How did they even make it?

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A younger bunch of Japanese tourists. They were twirling  and jeering, taking a 360ยบ photo.
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View from the top.
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One of the coves / beaches. There is a hiking route to get down there.
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Panoramic shot.
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View from the one side of the point.
I'd definitely take this trip again. Next time I'll be prepared though. Take water and a hat and sunscreen and walking shoes (not ballerina flats). I want to go to the furthest point, and to the coves below. The Cape of Good Hope is something else.

On our way back to the gate we ran into some of the chacma baboons, one with a baby clinging to its belly, that call the park their home. They ignored us.

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One last thing, on our way to Cape Point, we drove through Kommetjie and Scarborough, and spotted two whales playing in the surf! I have never seen them this close to the shore. Okay, my iphone was not the best to capture this moment, but just use your imagination. It was amazing!

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