There are plenty of reasons visitors to South Africa make Muizenberg Beach, Boulders Beach and the Cape of Good Hope among their first stops on the tourist trail.
One of the country’s most scenic attractions, the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve on the southwestern-most tip of the African continent is a mere one-hour drive from the hurried pace of Cape Town with two worthy stops along the way.
This seaside town on False Bay is famous for its warm and calm waters for swimming, as well as the postcard-perfect, candy-coloured Victorian beach houses that stretch across the sandy shoreline.
The waves aren’t vast, but Muizenberg Beach is still a surfing hotspot even with the presence of great white sharks in False Bay. Not to worry though: attacks have been extremely rare and the shark spotting program sounds an alarm when the apex predators get too close.
I wasn’t keen on meeting South Africa’s sharks, but penguins? Yes please! My friend Suzanne and I found a whole colony of them at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town. For a small fee (R65 for adults and R35 for children), visitors can stroll along the boardwalk and coo at African penguins as they waddle around the sandy cove.
For more on these endangered birds, read this post about where to see penguins in South Africa (hint: they’re not just at Boulders Beach).
Cape of Good Hope
The last time I came face to face with such coastal beauty was in the Dingle Peninsula and at the Cliffs of Moher where rain, not surprisingly, dampened my days in Ireland. At the Cape of Good Hope, however, I had to contend with another, mightier side of Mother Nature: winds so powerful, I didn’t know what hit me. Here, we had to hang onto our hats — and everything else — or risk losing them to the tempestuous ocean below. It’s a typical experience but this spectacular section of Table Mountain National Park in the Cape Peninsula is worth it.
After a ride on the Flying Dutchman Funicular (alternatively, the more active can walk up the steep hill) we reached the old lighthouse at Cape Point, the farthest tip of the peninsula, for a most dramatic panorama of powerful waves lashing against the soaring, jagged cliffs. It’s a rare, extraordinary sight and the kind of place that reminded us of our insignificance in a world where we’re mere dots between endless oceans.
The lookout points on the narrow headland are also surrounded by green valleys, handsome coves and isolated beaches.
Between the months of May and November, one could even get lucky and spot whales near the shore.
Nature lovers flock to the hiking trails too. From Cape Point, it’s a 45-minute descent to the Cape of Good Hope but we made the journey by car. Cue more fantastic scenery.
It was here where the peninsula’s wildlife made an appearance. The Cape of Good Hope is home to zebras, antelopes, chacma baboons and 250 bird species. Where else can you see a family of ostriches on the edge of the ocean?
The ocean views, terrain of winding roads and varied flora and fauna couldn’t have made us feel further away from the city.
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From Cape Town, the journey to Muizenberg Beach, Boulders Beach and the Cape of Good Hope is best made by car and takes only a day.