On a voyage to the Cape of Storms, discover unexpected peace
A tempest is always imminent at Cape Point. Over the centuries, numerous ships met their end on these rocks. Bartolomeu Dias, the first European to round the peninsula, named it Cape of Storms for its rough weather. Today, a lighthouse at the end of the headland still beckons people to this region. Dotted with defeated vessels and secluded corners, Cape Point National Park is as dramatic as it is tranquil.
Forming part of Table Mountain National Park, over 1 000 types of indigenous plants flourish throughout this reserve. Covered in fynbos, the area attracts hundreds of bird species. Ostrich and bontebok roam across the terrain while the infamous baboons get up to their usual mischief. To encounter these animals and flora, there are a range of short paths and overnight hikes spanning the park.
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail extends to the very edge of the peninsula. Here, the new lighthouse sits below the old 1859 beacon, which caused more wrecks than prevented them. Built on the highest peak, clouds often obscured the light. Today, the Flying Dutchman Funicular transports people up to the iconic relic, which is one of the most popular attractions in Cape Point. Yet many lesser-explored experiences await on the shores.
Steep steps lead to the sheltered Dias Beach, where rip currents render the ocean unsafe for swimming. But beneath the crags is a place of unparalleled solitude. A short drive away, the natural Venus Pool is an idyllic spot for snorkelling, while tidal pools at Buffels Bay beach and Bordjiesdrif nearby offer a chance to splash around. The pillar of Da Gama Cross sits above. In direct line with the Dias Cross, these monuments mark the arrival of both explorers. The battered ships of those who couldn’t navigate the waters, including a World War II vessel, still scatter the coastline.
This peninsula is a remarkable convergence of maritime chronicles and unfettered wilderness, 90 minutes from the city of Cape Town. When the clouds start rolling in, the Two Oceans Restaurant at the reserve offers refuge. No matter the weather, Cape Point is a site to revere.