After spending the past couple days in the heart of Cape Town, it was time to go for a field trip outside of the immediate area with the Cape Point Explorer Tour, presented by City Sightseeing Tours. After having a great experience with their local tours the other day, I was looking forward to this tour. The tour includes a visit to the Cape of Good Hope, as well as a stop at Boulders Beach to see the African Penguin colony.
When you book the tour, you can choose from one of several stops along the main tour route, which includes the main City Sightseeing Tour station at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. While this is probably the most commonly chosen stop, it isn’t the first one, so if you are hoping for the front row on the top deck, you’ll want to choose the first stop for your pick-up. I’m glad to have booked this tour in advance as it was certainly a popular one, and I believe the bus was about full when we left our pick-up location.
The ride to the cape and colony is given on board a similar double-deck bus to the ones used for the city tour, but this time completely enclosed so as to provide a more climate-controlled ride for the warm days that may come in South Africa.
While the bus takes you to the locations mentioned before, it does not include additional activities or admission into the penguin reserve, so when on board the bus, the staff will go around to allow passengers the ability to purchase tickets in advance for the funicular at the Cape of Good Hope as well as into the main penguin reserve. This can really help out during the tour as you save time not having to wait in the lines at the venues, which can be a bit long for both.
For today’s tour, our main guide was a gentleman named Malcom, and for the duration of the ride to the cape, to Boulders Beach and back to Cape Town. The wealth of knowledge he had to share for our drive was incredible! Sharing background about the history of Cape Town, discussing current events and providing some great insight as someone who’s family has lived in the country for several generations. He was also willing to discuss tough topics, not shying away from the obvious discrepancy of wealth in the country, while sharing his hope that things will continue to improve as they already have from what he has seen in his lifetime. And they way he spoke about the unity of the country and its people was very inspiring, especially at a time when the division back home is difficult to ignore.
For the drive, there were many scenic sights along the way, from the mountains of the region, to the waters of False Bay to the East and the Atlantic Ocean to the West, passing through the small towns along the way.
After a couple hours, we arrived to the Cape Point National Park, and before arriving to the visitor center, we saw some more great sights along the way, as well as a few different animals along the way such as wild ostriches and baboons, which were the animals to watch out for while in the park as they tend to be very aggressive. We had been told to leave bags on the bus as a baboon would likely think of it as a source of food and try to steal it from you.
Upon arrival to the visitor center, you get a great view of the Cape of Good Hope and the Cape Point Lighthouse. There are also several warnings about the baboons at the park, so it seems to be a common thing for them to come around looking for food.
Before doing more exploring around the visitor center and taking a ride on the funicular, I went ahead and grabbed lunch from the Two Oceans quick service restaurant. While there is a full service restaurant, it is quite popular and can take more time, so I wanted to save time for the funicular before the next part of the tour, getting a Hawaiian pizza and a Castle Lager. Because of the warnings about baboons, The tour staff made the bus available for anyone who wanted to try and avoid baboons ruining lunch. Fortunately I didn’t see or hear of anyone on today’s tour having any problems from them.
After finishing lunch and reapplying some sunscreen, I went ahead and took my ride up the funicular to the Cape Point Lighthouse. Ride up or down takes about 3 minutes, although it is possible to walk up to the lighthouse as well.
Upon arrival to the top, there are some stairs to climb to reach the lighthouse, but it is worth the effort for the sake of enjoying the view from up top of the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape of Good Hope. It also allows you to see False Bay and the land that surrounds it with Cape Point.
After a quick ride down to the visitor area on the funicular, many of us from the tour gathered with Malcom for a hike to the Cape of Good Hope. While the hike was optional and the bus would drive anyone who took a pass on it to a meeting location at the end of the hike near the shore, the walk would offer some excellent views as it went along the edge of the cliffs heading toward the cape. While most of the trail we followed was on unimproved surfaces, there were parts that included wooden walkways to make traversing the path easier. Overall, the first part of the hike was quite easy to handle.
Along the way, there were so many fantastic views of the Cape that made taking the hike a worth while excursion. These views would have been missed by taking the bus down.
There is a part of the hike that does get a little more treacherous, and that is when climbing to the top of the Cape of Good Hope. While even a casual hiker like myself was able to handle it, you definitely wouldn’t want to rush it when heading up or down the other side.
But to reach the top would make it worth while for some stunning views.
After enjoying this view, there was the climb down to meet up with the bus which was about as steep as the climb up.
Once you reached the bottom, you would be along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, and there you find one of the most famous signs in all of South Africa, declaring that you have reached the South Western most point in all of Africa.
Up next, the tour heads to one of the most popular animal sanctuaries.
See more of 2018 South Africa Trip:
1: Flight to Atlanta & Delta Flight Museum / 2: Arrival to South Africa / 3: First Day in Durban /
4: Second Day in Durban / 5: Last Day in Durban / 6: V&A Waterfront / 7: Cape Town City Sightseeing Tours /
8: Table Mountain / 9: Ratanga Junction / 10: Rugby at Newlands Rugby Stadium / 11: Cape Town Walking Tours /
12: Cape of Good Hope / 13: Boulders Beach Penguins / 14: The Last of Cape Town / 15: Cape Town Water Shortage /
16: Sightseeing Around Johannesburg / 17: More Johannesburg Sightseeing / 18: Botswana Day Trip /
19: Kruger National Park, Day 1 / 20: Kruger National Park, Day 2 / 21: Kruger National Park, Day 3 /
22: Gold Reef City Resort & Amenities / 23: Apartheid Museum & Rand Show / 24: Gold Reef City Theme Park /
25: The Return Home