Thursday, January 24, 2013

A breathtaking visit to Cape Point in Cape Town, South Africa


The Western Cape region of South Africa is one of the most charismatic visitor destinations in Africa. 

Cape Town the capital city of the Western Cape region is a very unassuming and generous city, with a beautiful and harmonious cultural blend, hence vividly typifying South Africa’s affectionate designation of the The Rainbow Nation. The charm of the city of Cape Town itself is hard to resist; with its awesome cityscape, refreshing environs and colourful people. Indeed, the city of Cape Town is considered to be one of the most geographically privileged cities in the world, due to the spectacular table mountain in its backdrop.
 About South-West of Cape Town is located the world-renowned Cape Point, historically known as The Cape of Good Hope, which is the southernmost tip of the African continent, and the only maritime location in the world where two oceans meet; with the relatively warm waves of the Indian Ocean blending with the chilly currents of the colossal Atlantic Ocean.
At Cape point is situated the Cape Nature reserve, which has been declared a world heritage site. This bountiful natural park covers an area of 7750 hectares, and flourishes in diverse flora and fauna. Prevalent in the park are animal species such as buck, baboons, Cape Mountain Zebra; as well as more than 250 species of birds. Indeed, Cape Point is a veritable paradise for the eco-explorer. The vegetation of the nature reserve is dominated by a species known as the fynbos, which though small, is classified as one of the six richest floral kingdoms in the world.

At the end of the 15th century, the Portuguese were enormously keen to discover the sea route from Europe through Africa to India. They dispatched successive explorers, all aimed at tracing the sea route to India. In 1487, this responsibility was assigned to a Portuguese navigator known as Bartolomeu Dias. He successfully sailed only around Africa and concluded that continuously sailing in the same direction would ultimately take one to India. Following this conclusion, he turned around and on his way home, in May 1488; he arrived at what he considered to be the Southern Most type of Africa. His debarkation was subjected to ferocious storms, which battered his vessel against the mighty cliffs. He therefore dubbed this region The Cape of Storms. However, King Juan the Second of Portugal later changed the name to The Cape of Good Hope, because the initial appellation of the Cape of storms intimidated potential and prospective explorers.
On July 8th 1497, Vasco da Gama successfully traced the sea to India. His expedition set off from the Port of Lisbon; and by November of the same year, he sailed around the Cape of Storms, or, The Cape of Good Hope, successfully arriving India.

At Cape point, rugged rocks and massive sharp cliffs cut deep into the ocean, rising to over 200 m above sea level. These cliffs enhance the dramatic character of the region, setting a breathtaking background to the eco-wealth of Cape nature reserve.
In the initial days of maritime expeditions, Cape point served as a vivid landmark of identification for explorers during the day and during the night, it posed a severe navigational threat to explorers, due to its aggressive storms and poor visibility, arising from viscous mist.
This subsequently prompted the construction of a light house, which could then enhance visibility in the area. The initial lighthouse was completed in 1859, and rises to about 249 m above sea level. It protrudes at the highest position of the peak, which can be accessed by a funicular called the flying Dutchman, named after a supposed apparition that was historically sighted there.
A visit to Cape Point or the Cape of Good Hope is an absolute compulsion for visitors to Cape Town. The expedition from Cape Town to Cape point is a whole day’s tour, which takes the visitor from Cape Town, through the Atlantic seaboard, winding its way via Chapman’s peak, considered to be one of the most dramatic sceneries in the world. 

The tour continues through a generally picturesque scenery, making its way to the fascinating Cape Point, where visitors expend a great deal of time exploring and assimilating the multiple enchantments offered by this famous region.
The tour continues on the other side of the Cape Peninsular, via Simon’s Town, Constantia, New Town and finally back to Cape Town. Therefore, this amazing and memorable trip takes one around the Cape Peninsular. No visitor to Cape Town has ever missed this panoramic and breathtaking tour around the Cape Peninsular. It’s a truly marvelling experience.

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