02 August 2010

Cape Point: Cape of Good Hope

Date: 1 August 2010

Location: Cape Point

Walkers: Dorothy, Michele & Helen

*** Route plotted here ***

Previous visits to the reserve here, here and here.

We drove through to Cape Point with the idea of walking down to the lighthouse on the point, but when we arrived at the main parking lot there were so many people doing that walk already we decided to try another route: the cliff-top path to Cape of Good Hope. This peninsular (the rocky headland in the photo below) and not Cape Point is the southern-most point of the Cape Peninsula and the south-western-most point of the African continent. I did not know that!

We set off down the path, bundled up warmly against the nippy wind. As we descended down out of the wind it was mild and pleasant in the sun, almost T-shirt weather. Winter in Cape Town can be glorious.

On our right we passed three eland nibbling the grass. According to the information on my map, fynbos doesn't have much nutritional value for large antelope like these and they seek out the several "grazing lawns" within the park for their food: edible grasses. Although we were quite close by these eland seemed completely relaxed and unconcerned about our presence.

At a T-junction we turned right and followed the trail. We could see it meandering all the way along the top of the cliff ahead.

More wildlife! Three lady ostriches were amongst the metalasia bushes. If it weren't for their long necks they'd be pretty well camouflaged in this terrain.

Wasn't long til we got our first view of Dias Beach. What a pristine spot!

We contemplated taking the stairs down to the sand, but decided it leave that excursion for another day.

Instead we strolled along the top. The path is board-walked in sections, so it is very easy walking. There is even a wooden viewing desk, where we stopped to gaze at the lovely coastline.

We could see across to Dias Rocks off the end of Cape Point to our left. The steep cliffs below us were covered in white guano.

Red-winged starlings were flitting about.

And we saw several lizards sunning themselves on the rocks. This big guy looks just like a mini-crocodile. Look at those scales!

There were a few flowers about too. Lots of super-prickly yellow daisy, Cullumia squarrosa. I made the mistake of touching the bushy green foliage. Eina, it really is viciously thorny!

There was a lots of metalasia around too. I think it is just the common variety, Metalasia muricata, although it seems more 'bobbly' than the ones flowering in Silvermine and elsewhere. Could be Metalasia densa... wish I'd taken a better look at the leaves to help me make a positive identification.

We saw pretty Lobostemon montanus, with its baby blue flowers and fuzzy grey leaves.

And vygies! Identifying these guys is not easy, but my best guess is the one with small pink flowers is Ruschia macowanii and the large yellow one is Jordaaniella dubia.

The path went inland a little, across the dip and took us up stony steps to the top of the rocky outcrop.

From up top there were views down to the sea below and along the coast in both directions. The sea was a beautiful blue and very calm.

We spent a little while here, enjoying the views and watching the tourists. I can perch on rocks and stare at ocean views all day long. I tire of tourists and their noisy chatter rather more quickly ;-)

The coastal vegetation up here was fascinating.

The rocks themselves had weathered into interesting patterns.

After while we made our way back again, and this time taking the short detour to the view site.

Here we did some more gazing at the rocks and the sea.

Dorothy spotted a figure far below us... it appeared to be a man fishing with a rod off the rocks. We guess he walked along from the beach, but it didn't look very easy or safe to navigate across all the rocks at the base of the cliff. He looked very small and vulnerable down there.

Next time we come this way I want to explore that beach!


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