Cape Point has always been one of my favourite wild places and I'm delighted that it is now a part of SANParks. However, I wasn't very impressed with the Visitor Centre, which seemed to be functioning mainly as a spot for backpacker groups to congregate for lunch.
I made a quick visit to Cape Point first on Saturday 1 April, having decided to drive the circuit of the peninsula after the delightful and rewarding mini-meet with Francoisd and Bush Baptist and their SOs at Rondevlei - which I can't discuss here as that lovely sanctuary is not a part of the national park system.
I drove south along False Bay, stopped for lunch at a bayside restaurant in Glencairn, and then took the Red Hill Road because I'd never done that route before. On a whim I then decided to head for Cape Point, just because I could just "pop in" for a brief visit. Since it was Saturday, there was a lot of speeding traffic, so after a stop to check out the Visitor Centre, I pulled off the main drag and drove the loop road, before heading back to Cape Town via the Atlantic coast route. While I didn't see anything dramatic, I always enjoy the infinite variety of the Cape's fynbos, so spent time driving slowly and looking at plants.
The weather in the Cape was extremely windy (and often also foggy) much of the time I was there, but I finally decided that if I was going to spend a day at Cape Point, I'd just have to brave the windy conditions (remembering that the wind hadn't spoiled my visits to the West Coast park). With a forecast for winds of only 35km/hr (as opposed to the 55-60km/hr forecast on other days), I headed back to Cape Point on Tuesday 11 April. The changeable weather made for interesting vistas,
view south over Smitswinkelbaai and view north from Two Oceans restaurant
and I saw both bontebok (with a young one) and baboons,
as well as many birds (only some of which I could photograph - or identify!),
plus a lizard and 23 different tortoises! WCNP was keeping a record of visitor sightings of the endangered Angulate Tortoise, but I only saw one there. However, I carefully counted all the tortoises I saw at Cape Point, only to find that the staff couldn't have been less interested, so I guess the tortoise isn't considered endangered at Cape Point, only at WCNP?
(Can anyone ID the lizard and the tortoises for me?)
Even on a weekday, while admittedly it was the pre-Easter holiday week, the main road was still a nightmare of speeding cars and coaches, racing straight to the Point for a quick "been there, tick it off the list" look and then racing back out. However, except for the side road down to the Cape of Good Hope, which was clogged with coach traffic, the other side roads were less busy as most of them are off limits to coaches and other larger vehicles.
Cape of Good Hope
I particularly enjoyed the drive out to Olifantsbosbaai, as in the past this road had been closed when I'd been there.