The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky land situated within the Table Mountain National Park. The Cape of Good Hope forms part of the Atlantic Ocean. The Afrikaans word for the Cape of Good Hope is "Kaap Van Goeie Hoop".
Prior to scientific knowledge it was believed that Cape Point was the furthest dividing point between the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. For many years there was a misconception that Cape Point at the Cape of Good Hope was the southernmost tip of Africa. What you will learn when visiting Cape Point on tour is that the actual meeting point of the two oceans and the furthest southern tip of Africa is at Cape Agulhas which is approximately 150 km's to the South East.
The first known sailor to pass by the Cape of Good Hope was the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488. The Portuguese wanted direct trade with the Far East. Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope and named it "Cape of Storms" The name changed from Cape of Storms to Cape of Good Hope by John II.
The Cape of Good Hope has always been known to sailors as one of the great places of the South Atlantic Ocean. It was then understood to be the furthest point on the route that was used by ships to travel between the Far East and Australia. The name ‘Cape of Good Hope’ is used to reference an actual point, as well as the area.
When visiting or booking a tour to the Cape of Good hope, you are actually entering part of the Table Mountain National Park, this area has several sightseeing locations, two of the most popular being Cape Point, and The Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope was also an establishment for the Cape Colony, established by the Dutch. In 1910 the Union wanted to use the entire name for the province and call it the Cape of Good Hope Province, today the name is shortened to the Cape Province.
There are two monuments at the Cape of Good Hope Table Mountain Park. The Portuguese built both these monuments which are named the Dias and Da Gama Cross.
Bartolomeu Dias This explorer was sent from Europe to travel Far East to find India, via the Cape. He named the area Cape of Storms and was known as the first European to set foot on African soil. He ended up further east of the Cape, in a place called Mossel Bay. He arrived at the Cape in 1488 but his journey never actually reached India.
Vasco Da Gama Vasco Da Gama sailed via the Cape from Europe heading east towards India. He travelled around the Cape in 1497. He was the founder of the Cape route. This route was known as the Spice Route to India, as Europe wanted to start trading with India for their spices.
vasco dagama and dias monument at cape of good hope
The land at the time was occupied by the KhoiKhoi people. In 1652, when the Dutch first settled, the Khoikhoi were already on the land for about fifteen hundred years. This was prior to the Dutch arrival. The Dutch called the Khoikhoi tribes the Hottentots, a term which has now become derogative.
The colonial administrator, Jan Van Riebeeck, established a refreshment camp for the Dutch East India Company in Table Bay and this is Cape Town as we see it today. Cape Town became known as the Tavern of the Seas, as their supply of fruit and vegetables was much needed by passing sailors travelling to the Far East.
In 1687, the French Huguenots arrived at the Cape of Good Hope from the Netherlands, The Huguenots grew into a small colony over a period of a 150 years and some of them stretched further North-East.
In 1795, the Dutch Republic went to war with the British. The British and the Dutch were enemies, both keen on ruling the land at the Cape. The Dutch once again took control in 1803 after the battle of Blaauwberg, or Saldanha.
In 1814, the Cape was fully controlled by the British. The Cape became a British colony until its independence when the Union of South Africa was established in 1910.
Animals found at the Cape of Good Hope:
The Chacma Baboon travels in troops with an alpha leading the pack. In recent years, this baboon has become a pest to some of the locals living in the surrounding areas. Please do not feed the baboons in the area, these animal tend to steal food and could become aggressive.
The Famous Ostrich
The male ostrich is black-feathered and the female ostrich is brown-feathered. The ostrich is known to be one of the fastest birds on land and packs a powerful kick. These birds cannot fly and live off some of the fynbos in the area.
antleope in the bush at th cape of good hope
Eland (also known as the Southern Eland): They are found in the East and most parts of Southern Africa. This is one of South Africa's biggest antelope and can be found grazing on the land at Cape Point. The Eland could weigh up to 940 kg with a height of close to 2 metres.
Bontebok: The Bontebok are usually found in natural areas because of their diet. They feed on some of the Fynbos in the Cape of Good Hope and can weigh up to approximately 155 kg.
There are approximately 250 species of birds in the area. Most of the bird species are bush birds. At the Cape of Good Hope you can spot the Oyster Catcher bird, Cormorant bird and eagles. The starling bird is also found at Cape Point. The red starling can be a pest for locals and guests in the area, so be on the lookout. They steal food just like the baboons and could become aggressive.
The overbred species of bird in Cape Town is the Cape Crow, which feeds on tortoises and lizards living in the Cape of Good Hope National Park.
The Cape Mountain Zebra
The Cape Zebra are spotted very seldomly as they camouflage themselves well amongst the rocky terrain. There is a misconception of the mountain Zebra that it is a white animal with black stripes when it’s actually a black animal with white stripes. This is evident by the muzzle of the zebra.
Various snake species:
Mole Snake: This snake could injure you with its bite. It is not a venomous snake and, in most cases, tries to avoid human contact. It's a black snake and could be mistaken for the black Cobra.
Cape Cobra: Dangerous snake found in some of the bushes around the Cape of Good Hope. This snake is poisonous and, should one get bitten, urgent medical treatment is needed. Should one spot the Cape Cobra, back away slowly until you are out of harm's way.
Puff Ader: This snake is a similar colour to the rocks found in the Cape of Good Hope National Park. It is a poisonous snake and one should avoid this snake entirely. If bitten, seek immediate medical attention as one bite could be deadly.
Cape Fox: The Cape Fox is an extremely rare find at the Cape of Good Hope. They are very shy animals found in the area and mainly come out after sunset.
Rooikat (Caracal): This cat roams around the Cape of Good Hope. Most of the time, it avoids contact with humans.
Smaller species of animals:
Hyrax: Also known as the Cape Dassie. This animal could be related to the elephant. Traces of elephant genes are found in their bones, body and brain and indicate some evolutionary connection.
Smaller species of animals:
Tortoise: Similar to a sea turtle. They can often be spotted heading towards the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Point at the Table Mountain National Park.
Black Lizards and small striped grass mice can also be found roaming around the area. They may be harder to spot, however.
Fauna and flora (Fynbos)
There are approximately 1100 various species of Fynbos in the area. This is natural fine bush. South Africa is known as the Cape Floral Kingdom. The Cape Floral Kingdom is the sixth floral kingdom in the world, the smallest, but the the richest, floral kingdom. The national flower of South Africa, the Protea, is found at the Cape of Good Hope. Other plant families such as Restios and Erica's can also be found there. When entering into the Cape of Good Hope, Pincushion and Honeycomb can be seen on the roadside.
Cape of Good Hope Activities
Much to enjoy for the locals and tourists in the Cape of Good Hope National Park
Enjoy the camping sites at Olifantsbos
Spend a day in the sun fishing
The rough waves make it a perfect beach for body boarding or surfing
Take the circular drive and enjoy nature. There are lots of Protea bushes and shrubs in the area.
If you are interested in the history of the Cape of Good Hope, visit the two monuments
Take one of the many hiking trails in the area and spot some of our magnificent wildlife
Visit Cape Point and enjoy a good lunch at the top rated Two Oceans restaurant.
Have a family day at Buffels Bay and a good, old-fashioned braai
Cape Coastal Tours offers various packages with visits to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.
We have only received 5 star ratings for our Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope and Peninsula tours.
When stopping at the Cape of Good Hope the choice is given to our guests to either take the hike all the way till Cape point (time permitting),or drive to the Cape of Good Hope. This is a one and half hour hike with beautiful views along the way.
We pass by the Dias beach. This beach is not recommended for swimming as it has regular riptides. The Dias Beach has extremely soft white sand with steps from the top of the mountain to access the shore. This stop provides beautiful photo opportunities of the surrounding mountains and our dazzling blue water beaches.
At Cape Point, guests are given the option of taking the funicular all the way to the top at the lighthouse or to take a 20 min walking trail. This walk is highly recommended on this tour, however, guests with disabilities would not be able to take the trail. Instead they would manage comfortably with taking the funicular all the way to the top.
Guest have the option of either having a lunch at a highly rated seafood restaurant or just grabbing a light meal at the Cape Point area.