Cape Point

21 Jul

We went to the Cape of Good Hope. It is the place where two of the earth’s most contrasting water masses meet.  The warm Agulhas current of the East  meets the cold Benguela current of the West.  The resulting tumult from the meeting of these two water masses led the Cape to first be called the “Cape of Storms.” Dazzle your friends with the fact that this is not the place where the Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean. That is the Cape of Agulhas, east of the Cape of Good Hope.

The shadow of Diaz Beacon

You remember studying Dias and DaGama in grade school. They were the first to round the Cape of Good Hope and find a way to India in the mid 1400s. The “hope” of reaching the East Indies is how the Cape got its’ name. The explorers were relative  newcomers. The Cape had been inhabited for 600,000 years before they arrived.

Cape Point Lighthouse

The day we were at Cape Point was sunny and warm with very little wind, not a common occurence. We walked up to the lighthouse and looked out over a, relatively, placid ocean. Some of the cliffs are 200 meters above the sea.

There are few trees.  There is coastal fynbos (“fine bush”)  on the alkaline sands and inland fynbos on acid soils leading to the existence of 1100 indiginous plant species. Daisies, lilies and irises have their origins in the fynbos.

Fynbos Plants

Hiking trails thread all through the park. We plan to go back to one that has a huge number of King Protea. I love some of the trail names; Platboom, Rooihoogte, Sirklelsvlei and Pegram’s Point.

We gathered shells on one of the beaches and finally saw a troop of about 30 baboons (in the road) and a herd of elands in the fynbos. These are delicate antelope with graceful horns.

Two elands on the beach…Look hard.

Three ostrich bottoms

There are some rustic camps in the Park called the Hoeryhwaggo Tented Camps that give you the choice of staying on the beach, in the fynbos, exploring the mountain or on a flowering gum plantation. Could be your next vacation.

There used to be farms on the Point.

When we got there, we were the first car in the parking lot. By mid-morning the place was full of tourist busses. Everyone seemed to want group pictures mugging behind the official Cape of Good Hope sign. Many just got off the tour bus, took the picture and left. These are the times we are so glad we are spending three months here because we can explore and come back any time we want. We like infinitesimal travel a lot.

Not THE sign but a better one.

Have you ever visited anywhere where you saw other tourists smelling the bus (or the ship) instead of the roses? Where was it? What did they miss?

4 Responses to “Cape Point”

  1. Maryl July 29, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    Such beautiful scenery! I wanted to go to Sicily and now I want to see South Africa. In the meantime, we will have to be content spending a week with E/J and H/S on Lake Michigan which has its own awesome views (our cottage was right on the lake and the sunsets each night were spectacular). Our computer crashed just before we left on vacation (it was only 7 years old – 70 in computer years!) so I thought we might have missed a couple of your postings but see that I am only 1 behind. I have you on RSS feed so I can see whenever you post in my mailbox. Fortunately, John fixed us up with their old laptop and upgraded us so we’re set to go for awhile.
    Thanks for giving us all a glimpse into your life and views as you slowly make your way around the world.

    • Jill July 30, 2012 at 6:49 am #

      What a great time with all of you there. Northern Michigan reminds me of the Adirondacks where I grew up. The lakes are so beautiful. Must have been fun with the two boys. We are learning to accomodate the South African climate. Rainy days are really rainy with blowing wind…then the sun comes out. Sometimes in the same day. So you have to be ready to go with layers. We have a to do list we have divided into rain and sun, in town and out of town etc. So we have a plan and are ready to go. We are renting old Mercedes…notice that is plural…we are now on our fourth car. Still trying to get it right. Though they all are very reassuring in their tank like demeanor.

  2. Neil Freer July 23, 2012 at 5:59 am #

    If you go here
    http://www.shifthappening.com/humanorigins.html
    and slide down the page — slowly, there are tons of good things on the way down — to the header: Ancient Human Metropolis Found in Africa by Dan Eden for Viewzone
    you will see the details of the 160,000 to 200,000 year old stone circles, general location in SA 150 miles west of the port of Maputo. FWIW.
    Happy tripping
    Neil

  3. Ursula Freer July 21, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    We love getting your travel reports. Keep them coming.

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