Cape Point has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. And while most visitors only make the beeline to the point and lighthouse, they remain oblivious to the many other attractions the park has to offer. There are a number of walks for eager ramblers. Here are 5 Cape Point sites you simply have to see.
The following essentials will ensure an enjoyable outing:
- A hat – it’s rather windy out there
- A good pair of boots to support your ankles
- A good supply of water
- Warm or waterproof clothing
- A map
- A small first-aid kit
1. Kanonkop, Lime Kiln
With a bit of a historic feel, this 6,5 kilometre route will take you about four hours to complete. There are variations to the route so you can opt to do specific stretches. The route starts at Buffelsfontein Visitor’s Centre and first takes you to the restored lime kiln, which dates back to about 1890.
The route is aptly named Kanonkop and you will find and old signalling cannon which dates back to the days of the Dutch East India Company to report ship arrivals in False Bay.
2. Smitswinkel Viewpoint and Buffelsfontein Vistor’s Centre
The main attractions on this 5 kilometre walk are the spectacular vistas, fynbos, animals and birds. The approximately three hour walk is considered mildly strenuous, and starts at the Smitswinkel parking area.
The path winds south, which later ascends to go around the lower reaches of Judas Peak. Some mild scrambling up the route will take you to Die Boer. The views are magnificent, especially the unspoilt panorama of Bordjiesrif and majestic Paulsberg, home of the black eagles.
The route then follows a contour around Paulsberg, past many interesting rock formations, including the Troll’s Ballroom, a rock shelter about 200 metres long before you reach the signal cannon at Kanonkop.
3. Gifkometjie, Phyllicia
Shipwrecks, old milkwood stands, an abundance of birdlife, animals and majestic views are what really await you on this route. There are a number of fisherman’s paths and game trails along the coastal leg that can be confusing, but the hiking trail is the most heavily trodden.
You will go through stands of old established milkwood trees, including what is called the Milkwood Tunnel. There are a number of shipwrecks on the coastal stretch and you will get to the Phyllicia, which was a steam trawler wrecked in 1968. The 5,5 kilometre route will take you three and a half hours to complete.
This is a pleasant, two-hour coastal walk which will take you through areas of fynbos, coastal flora, marsh, beach and dunes. The maritime debris washed up on the coast illustrates the “downside” of being near a busy sea lane. Ramblers will also see large kelp beds – the type from which medicines and chemicals can be extracted.
The only mildly strenuous part of the 4 kilometre route is the Gifkommetjie steps. The walk doesn’t loop so it is better to organise transport at the end.
5. Shipwrecks and Sirkelsvlei
Here you can opt to do the whole route of 6,5 kilometres or do shorter loops like the Thomas Tucker return of 3 kilometres or the Shipwreck circuit of 5 kilometres. It is one of the most fascinating routes in the park and you can look forward to seeing rare plants, interesting rocks, historical ruins, rusting wrecks and unbelievable views.
On the ridge of Olifantsbos you can visit the ruins of the Fortress Observation Post, built in 1941 for coastal protection.
Written by Irma Green (SANParks Times: www.sanparkstimes.co.za)