Posted by: Caroline | February 10, 2010

To the Most Southwestern Point in Africa

Because we don’t know how to drive stick (and all the rental cars here are) and because public transportation only gets you halfway down the coast, we decided to take a tour to Cape Point/Cape of Good Hope, the most southwestern point of Africa and where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. We chose Baz Bus, a company targeted to the semi-adventurous backpacker (adventurous enough to avoid the huge tourist coaches but not quite ready to hop on the metrorail through the townships).

I originally thought the minibus was going to be sparsely packed since we were the first ones on, but within thirty minutes there wasn’t a seat left. We traveled with two guys from Canada (one who had an SLR camera–this is the person you need to make friends with on a trip), some individual student-aged tourists from Japan, Germany, and the Netherlands, and a huge group of mainly American and British volunteers working with kids in one of the townships.

Our first stop was at Hout Bay, jokingly named the Republic of Hout Bay. The name dates back to apartheid, when South African passports were difficult to use in a world that disapproved of the system. So a new Hout Bay passport was created and, according to legend, successfully used for international travel. Hout Bay is a small fishing village, which might be quaint if it wasn’t for the strip of excessively nautical businesses lining the wharf. Alex and I sat down for a coffee in one of these places, but decided to leave on principle when we noticed all of the employees were dressed in sailor costumes (ok, ok, actually I think it had more to do with no one paying attention to us for ten minutes).

Next, we stopped at a beach near Simonstown to see African penguins. They’re eerily calm and impossibly adorable.

After that we entered the Cape of Good Hope National Park and unloaded bicycles to travel the 6km of lunar landscape to the visitors center.

Cape Point was next, and we managed to make it all the way up to the old lighthouse (it was too high up for ships to see when there were storms, so it is no longer used) — and it is QUITE windy up there. Like, afraid-of-losing-your-camera-and-possibly-self-to-the-sea windy.

Our final leg of the trip was a 45-minute walk along rocky cliffs to the Cape of Good Hope. The wind continued to be brutal — so brutal that, even against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful places in the world, all I thought about was getting myself, my camera, and my hat down safely to the end of the trek. We took a brief trip down to one of the beaches, which featured stunning waves — and treacherous sand gusts. Let’s just say I felt really exfoliated afterwards.

Baboons tend to be a big problem here, as they we can smell food from far away and will climb into cars and houses. We even saw one sitting on a car in a parking area. I only wish I could see how the driver reacted when he returned. We passed this troupe on our way home.


  1. once again, caroline, you make me feel like i am there right alongside you and alex. the photos are amazing, and your words make it real. we are grateful for your blog. love to you and alex.

  2. Hey you two, thank you for such wonderful travelogs and stories! How are the temperatures? Dan and I wish you continued safe journeys, and happy blogging! Love Marti

  3. […] (and, in this case, visit my grandmother). Cape Town, with vineyards, Table Mountain, and the Cape of Good Hope–as well as a ton of other amazing stuff–all within spitting distance of town, could […]

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