Table Mountain National Park

Between two shores

+27(0)21 712 7471
Cape Peninsula
South African National Parks

Between two shores

There’s more to Cape Point than just a lighthouse

It’s the middle of the night. Out on the choppy sea bobs a ghostly glow. It’s the Flying Dutchman; a phantom ship doomed to sail along the Cape of Good Hope for eternity. And it’s staffed by ghouls. Be wary, it’s said a sighting is a portent of doom.

This legend dates back to the 1700s, and numerous sightings have been reported. An explanation has been offered that the apparition is merely a reflection of an actual ship, but due to distance and perspective, it remains unseen. Whatever the case may be, the treacherous shore is littered with shipwrecks, and many adventurers in creaky wooden boats have long ago sunk to the bottom of the sea.

Let’s clear something up. Table Mountain National Park’s Cape of Good Hope is not the southernmost tip of Africa, no; it’s the most south-westerly tip. The former is Cape Agulhas, and it’s another experience entirely.

The lighthouse, the main attraction, is perched on the edge of a soaring cliff rising a staggering 238 metres from the sea. Up here the wind whips around ancient stone; laid out below is the never-ending blue of the sea, and the craggy twists and turns of the Peninsula’s edge.

Some of history’s biggest names have cut along those curves. Men like Bartholomew Diaz, Vasco Da Gama and Captain Cão, the latter who described this stretch of land as: ‘a desert coast and no sign of the end of the continent.’

Plus you can spend the night, and see the ghostly ship for yourself. The accommodation in the reserve is self-catering, and you can choose from either Olifantsbos Cottage or Eland and Duiker Family Cottages. Both are modern, fully equipped options in the heart of pristine nature.

Things To Do:

  • Deserted wild beaches are the perfect canvas for picnics.
  • Bring a magnifying glass and identify the colourful creatures in tidal pools at Bordjiesrif and Buffels Bay.
  • There’s plenty of fish in the sea: bring along your angling rod.
  • The kids will love the Buffelsfontein Visitors Centre, plenty of curiosities to see. Plus you’ll find all you need to know about the area.
  • Take the Flying Dutchman (yes, named after the ship), a funicular that takes you to the lighthouse lookout. Or walk up to take in the breathtaking scenery.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for wild ostriches, Cape otter, buck, and baboons.
  • A little bird told us, that the birdlife is as diverse as the fynbos. Bring your binoculars.
  • Swim in the marine pool by Buffels Bay, no tour busses are allowed, so you’re guaranteed a tranquil dip.
  • Did someone say braai? Ask at the information centre where the official spots are.
  • And hike; see below for more information on the routes.

There are six scenic walks to enjoy. Purchase the helpful brochures from the Buffelsfontein Visitors Centre; they were created by volunteers and retail at a mere R3.00 each. Inside you’ll find a map, distances, tips, and notes on what to look out for.

1. Smitswinkel View Point.
Start from the Smitswinkel car park and go south on the coastal trail. Go right when you reach the cannon and follow signs. This walk goes around the lower reaches of Judas Peak, and will lead you to Die Boer.
Wow factor: the majestic panorama, and the black eagles make these cliffs their home.
Look out for: the Troll’s Ballroom; a rock shelter on the right 200 meteres before you reach the signal cannon on Kanonkop.  It was used to signal the arrival of ships in False Bay.  Also, keep an eye of for Mr. Smith, a human-head shaped rock believed to have been named after a farmer who once owned the area.
Duration: 5 km, budget on four hours.

2. Kanonkop
Start at the Buffelsfontein Visitors Centre, cross the river and follow the path. Once you reach the cannon take the path towards the coast to get to the Lime Kiln.
Wow factor: a naturally sun-warmed pool called The Venus Pool. And the old signalling cannon, of course, used to report ship arrivals in the 1800s.
Look out for: bontebok, blue disas and unusual black rocks. Also the explorers’ crosses dotted along the path.
Duration: 5.5km,three hoursor five depending on how relaxed you take it.

3. Gifkommetjie/ Phyllisia
Take the southern steps, and turn right at the first path junction. Then follow the hiking trail. Follow this to the end of Gifkommetjie Ridge. At the signboard, take the path to your left, go past the vlei, and through the dunes to the shipwreck of Phyllisia.
Wow factor: the steam-trawler wrecked in 1968, and the naturally forming Milkwood tunnel.
Look out for: and avoid the blister bush. Contact with it causes compounds to react in sunlight and leave you with blisters. Along with gulls, terns and cormorants, the sacred ibis is also a regular visitor to this area.
Duration: 5.5kms, three and a half hours.

4. Platboom/Gifkommetjie
You can start from two entrances for this coastal walks, either the Platboom parking area or the Gifkommetjie area.
Wow factor: the walk itself, explore coastal flora, marshlands, pans, beach and dunes.
Look out for: large kelp beds, and maritime detritus, including raw blocks of rubber leftover from a cargo vessel that was torpedoed in World War 2.
Duration: 8km, roughly a four hour journey.

5. Olifantsbos
Take the coastal path from the car park to the wrecks of the Tucker and Nolloth, you can return at this point or go further along to Staavia Ridge.
Wow factor: the shipwrecks, and also the ruins of the Fortress Observation Posts. Plus you can stay the night at Olifantsbos cottage.
Look out for: a freshwater lake called Sirkelsvlei, said to be fed by underground springs
Duration: 6.5km, four hours or 24, if you plan to spend the night.

6. Cape of Good Hope Trail
This is a two day hike that starts at the main gate, down to Smitswinkel Bay, up to Kanonkop, and then towards the Buffelsfontein Visitor. Continue towards Rooikrans, and it’s here you can spend the night in an overnight hut. On day two, you’ll continue along the coast to Pegram’s Point, Hoek van Bobbejan and turn inland towards Sirkelsvlei, and end right where you started.
Wow factor: you’ll see more of the nature reserve on this walk than on any other route.
Look out for:
baboons, birds, flora—this one has it all.
Duration: Two days, the kilometres vary.

Cape of Good Hope (Cape Point): +27 (0)21 780 9010

Opening Times:
April - September (winter) 7am - 5pm
October - March (summer) 6am - 6pm

Conservation Fee: Adults, R105; children R50; free entrance for WILD Card holders   

By Malu Lambert


FREE Audio Tour of Cape Point
Together, Cape Point and VoiceMap have launched a new and FREE audio tour, titled ‘Cape Point Audio Guide: Funicular Route’ ideal for locals and visitors to take part in enhancing their exploration and experience of Africa’s most southwesterly tip. The tour begins at the main parking area sharing captivating tit-bits and fun-facts about the national park’s maritime history, spectacular fauna and flora, Cape Point legends and the funicular. Offering a Quick Tour and Full Tour option, the walk is as ideal for guests on a tight schedule as it is for those who would prefer a more leisurely stroll. Listeners will visit lookout points, the old lighthouse as well as the funicular. The VoiceMap audio tour is available for free download via the Apple and Google Play App stores. NOTE: It’s advised that listeners complete all downloads prior to visiting Cape Point, as the cellular signal in the park fluctuates.
Tip: Head to Cape Point during the annual SANParks Week and get into the national reserve for FREE.


Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and if you have a smartphone, add to your home screen for quick access on the go!

Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle, connect with us on LinkedIn, check out our photos on Instagram and follow our Pinterest boards for updates on what’s happening in and around the Mother City.

Cape Town Events Calendar
November 2019
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

William_Kentridge_2A Monumental Exhibition At The Norval ...

The iconic South African artist’s largest exhibition in Africa in over a decade

the_glass_menagerieCatch Legendary Playwright Tennessee ...

See a professional staging of a play not shown in Cape Town for three decades

Wavescape Surf Film Festival CliftonGather Your Beaches For Art, Movies and ...

Wavescape 2019: a month of beach cleanups, fundraisers and movie nights

sotano_lambIt’s (Lamb) Burger Wednesdays at ...

... and while you eat, chill out to reggae by locals The Rivertones

Land_RewovenSee This Fascinating Interpretation of ...

Artist MJ Lourens pairs his modern landscapes with Pierneef’s, plus there’s cheese ...

sotano_lambTwo Lamb Burgers For the Price Of One

R110 gets you two fully stacked meals at both Sotanos

rodan_kane_hartRodan Kane Hart: Making the Most of ...

An expansive gallery and pristine outdoor landscape showcase a free exhibition by a young ...

Seafood, sunsets and sushi at Blowfish BloubergHalf-Price Sushi Every Wednesday and ...

And drink in the sunset and view (and a cocktail)

Kinky BootsSmash-Hit Kinky Boots Extended To 2020 ...

With music by Cyndi Lauper, several Tonys and a Laurence Olivier Award

chicha4Get To Know Your Wine: Wednesdays are ...

Sample some fine wines and meet the makers behind your favourite tipple

Cherry_Glamping3Team Building is For Bonding, So Ditch ...

Hiking, biking, canopy tours and luxury glamping just 50 minutes outside of Cape Town

zingara_bombay5 Happy Hours, Every Day of The Week

And Cafe Paradiso has a weekend seafood platter special for two

vredenheim_2019_9Picnic Among The Golden Wildebeest on ...

A family game drive with a difference at Vredenheim

kaskaziBoost Your Week With A Hump Day Kayak ...

The chance to see ocean and bird life at sunrise and get to work on time

cocosafar_steak1From Rib Eye To Vegetarian – Here Are ...

Gourmet burgers and steak, as well as cocktails, are now on the menu at this all-day cafe ...

La Paris_Deli2Wednesday Delights at La Paris Deli in ...

A bakery and bistro experience at one of the most beautiful winelands wedding venues, now ...

cartelcafe6Lunch Sorted: A Midweek Buffet At The ...

Fill up your plate and tuck into a tasty lunch spread every Wednesday and Thursday: From ...

two_oceans_aquariumMake Memorable Moments at Cape Town’s ...

Throw a party unlike any other at the Mother City’s underwater wonderland

Comedyclub_new11End Hump Day With a Laugh At The ...

Share the experience at Cape Town Comedy Club in the Waterfront’s Pumphouse every ...

Om Revolution vinyasa poseHave an Outdoor Yoga Experience with ...

Embrace your inner yogi outdoors

asamisOverload On Asami’s Sushi And Noodles

Get sushi and noodle specials three days a week

galileo_kirstGet Comfy at Kirstenbosch Movie Nights ...

Great films, fabulous scenery, delicious food and cosy seats – look forward to a night ...

HaskellVineyards 6Save On A Meal and Wine For Two At This ...

Haskell Vineyards offers patrons a delicious meal and glass of wine at a discounted price

glam_barBeauty Special: Gelish or Shellac Nails ...

Book via Whatsapp: Workday-perfect nail treatments with free rinse and discounts on all ...

OX boat rides 110% Off: See The Marine Big 5 on an ...

Whales, dolphins, penguins, cape fur seals and mola mola (sunfish), an awesome boat trip ...

theatre and film costume hire25% Off Hollywood-Calibre Costume ...

Wednesdays only: Gorgeous vintage cocktail dresses to realistic historical costumes for ...

house of hLook Who's Serving a R50 Lunch Special ...

Loved by locals, House of H now does delicious new lunch specials – from boerie rolls ...

Park Inn_RGB_ItalianDinnerSpecial5All-You-Can-Eat Italian Dinner Special ...

Made fresh right in front of you, with your choice of sauces and toppings – this is one ...

beluga_whisylounge2-for-1 Whisky Wednesdays at Beluga

Your midweek escape just got a whole lot better with the 2-for-1 Wednesday whisky special ...

grub&vine_wineFree Wine Tasting Every Wednesday at ...

Grub & Vine’s #VineNight hosts a different wine farm

Vergenoegd_duckrun1Cheer On The Ducks At Vergenoegd Löw

Bring the kids along to experience the Duck Parade

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips