As we rounded the curve on a very windy coastal road leading out to the Cape of Good Hope, we saw a roadblock. At this point, it was my third time seeing the penguins at Boulders Beach and making the drive to Cape Point, so I knew exactly what stood in our pathway: a baboon.
Baboons are extremely common on the Cape Peninsula of South Africa; they’re drawn to the many fruit trees and the food discarded by tourists. They’re not unlike deer in the United States or kangaroos in Australia; some may consider them pests while visitors love the novelty of the experience.
We fell in the latter category and couldn’t help but stop to take a picture—staying in our car, of course, because baboons are aggressive—this wouldn’t be the only time we’d see one on our drive to Cape Point. We continued to follow the topsy-turvy path that hugged the Cape Peninsula’s coast out to the state park.
Getting to Cape Point
Cape Point isn’t far from Cape Town; in fact, if you drive it straight along the M3 and M4 road, it will take just over an hour. But there’s plenty to see along the way like Table Mountain National Park and the penguin colony at Simon’s Town that you’ll want to allot an entire day to this outing.
Don’t have a car? No problem. There are plenty of options for full-day tours out to Cape Point, as well as multi-day tours that incorporate South African highlights like a safari that include either a shared driver or a private transfer.
Visiting Cape Point Nature Reserve
Once we reached Cape Point Nature Reserve, we paid our entrance fee at the gate (around $20 USD per person), then it was another 10 minutes by car to the parking lot where there are bathrooms, a cafe, a funicular and hiking trails.
And also more baboons.
The Cape of Good Hope (more commonly referred to as Cape Point) is the southernmost point in Africa. It’s also home to some of the best scenic overlooks in the area with just shy of 20,000 acres and 25 miles of coastline.
From one side of the main parking lot, three’s a sweeping panorama of the mountains that flank the eastern portion of the peninsula. From the other, you can see the “meeting point” where the Indian and Atlantic collide—you can even see a discernible divide via the water color and current.
It was fun comparing the view to the last time my mom and I were at this very spot exactly 12 years prior.
How special getting to revisit this point together again!
On this trip, however, we didn’t hike. We were all fighting jet lag as it was our first full day in Africa so chose not do the 1.5-mile walk up to Cape Point, which takes around an hour and a half. Instead, we took some photos of the view, then drove down toward Diaz Beach where a rocky coastline made a perfect resting point and backdrop.
Though you won’t see it on your Google Maps, if you drive back out of the parking lot toward Diaz Beach, there’s a turnoff that takes you down to just below the hiking trails and facilities.
Keep driving as you pass the beach on your right and you’ll hit a rocky section of the coastline that’s perfect for stretching your legs.
Keep your eyes peeled for ostriches, as we saw dozens—including a handful of babies!—at this very spot next to the beach.
The wildlife of Cape Point
You may not initially notice all the wildlife roaming the horizon at Cape Point Nature Reserve due to the rocky landscape as they blend in quite seamlessly, but be assured: They’re out there. We saw antelope like steenbok and springbok, as well as wild ostriches and the endemic Chacma baboons.
There are also Cape mountain zebra, clawless otters and plenty of reptiles and amphibians. Once we got down to Diaz Beach, it took us awhile to realize that seals, too, are abundant here—which I guess shouldn’t surprise me given the number of great white sharks that prowl these waters.
Dusk was approaching, so after Diaz Beach, we loaded up our car and headed back to our rental villa in Camps Bay. A day trip to Cape of Good Hope is never a bad idea, and I’m glad we got to start off our trip to South Africa with a bang.