South Peninsula

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South Peninsula

Overview
Activities and Highlights
Seasons
Region Map

Description

"Once thought of with fear and curiosity, the Cape Point is world renowned as a rugged and dramatic windswept point, along the south western coastline of Africa. In the past, sailors have described the treacherous rock jutting coastline as the Cape of Storms, causing many ships’ demise, but the famous English navigator, Sir Francis Drake described the region as ‘the fairest cape in the entire world.’

Today the majestic Cape Point is a Natural World Heritage Site and lays within the Table Mountain National Park. Visitors can enjoy the beauty offered by yet another Natural World Heritage Site, the array of kaleidoscopic Cape Floral Kingdom.

Access Details

Situated just 20 minutes away from Cape Town City centre, the Cape Peninsula can be accessed by car. Drive along the award winning, world renowned road; Chapman’s Peak Drive which runs 9 km from Noordhoek to Hout Bay. Charter a boat and set sail from the Victoria Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town’s harbour with the luxury of a champagne cruise as you enjoy the sunset and journey toward Hout Bay.

Suggested Stay Details

Many people who visit can never leave. For those who only experience the area on a day trip miss out on all the character and smaller attractions.

It is worth spending 2 - 3 nights but beware, you could get hooked.

Type of Experience

Situated on the outskirts of Cape Town’s metropolis, the Southern Peninsula is a blend of nature’s mystique, laid back urban atmosphere, the adventure of outdoor exploration and fine dining that will keep you coming back for more. Boasting a varying collection of seaside towns, the Southern Peninsula offers visitors both the modernity of city life without the rushed pace and the majestic beauty of nature’s magnificent perfection. Bask in the warmth of an African sun and enjoy the cooler waters of the Atlantic Ocean with the towering backdrop of mountainous power.

Infrastructure

The little seashore towns which span from Cape Point to Hout Bay are filled with delightful markets, cafês and restaurants for your pleasure. With accommodation set within milkwood forests, stone and thatch cottages blend seamlessly into the slopes of Chapman’s Peak.

Five star estates and cellar hotels present luxury and is seeping in history which dates back to the 16th and 17th century. The Southern Peninsula offers everything and more, from exclusivity, breathtaking beauty, to championship golf courses and even world class wine cellars to tickle the taste buds of the avid wine connoisseur.

Geography

Most famous for Cape Point Nature Reserve, which lends itself to Table Mountain National Park, is one of the few national parks incorporating a major city within the protected landscape. The Southern Peninsula runs along the south-western coastline of South Africa, and as such, the cooling waters of the Atlantic Ocean washes the beach shores of the quaint seaside towns; each possessing a wealth of fynbos – the indigenous flora of the Cape Floral Kingdom.

History

First mentioned by Bartolomeu Dias in 1486, subsequent Portuguese described the Cape Town areas as the “Bay of Storms” and the “fairest Cape in the whole circumference of the earth.” The first European to land on the shores of Table Bay was in 1503, who named it Saldanha, but after 1601 a Dutchman renamed it to what is now. In 1652, a young and adventurous Jan Antony van Riebeek set sail to establish Dutch rule, which gave birth to the Cape Town’s first erected building but was replaced by the existing Castle of Good Hope.

The area of the Southern Peninsula was once roamed by the nomadic Khoisan and San bushmen. It is believed the elephant, buffalo and leopards once grazed in the area but since European arrival in the 1950’s, the areas of the peninsula changed forever. Since 1679, Simon van der Stel Governed the Dutch Colony and expanded the city. During this time, the Huguenots from Holland arrived on the shores of the Cape.

Thereafter, the French arrived to aid the Dutch Colony during the war between Britain and Holland (1780-1783). In 1840, the municipality of Cape Town was born and in 1875, the first foundation stone was laid in the current House of Parliament.

After the extensive industrial growth of South Africa, the first National Party, under the leadership of D. F. Malan, won its first election in 1948, and as such, Afrikaners lead the country and adopted the apartheid policy. For 46 years, South Africa was segregated by racial law, which ended in 1994 with the country’s first democratic election and inauguration of black State President, Nelson Mandela.

Activities & Highlights

"FLORAL KINGDOM: Cape Town is home to one of the world’s most diverse areas of plant life. The area is so prolific that it has been dubbed as the hottest-hot spot in the world in terms of plant diversity. The colourful Cape Floral Kingdom consists of more than 9500 plant species, of which 70% are found nowhere else in the world. There is certainly no wonder why UNESCO added the floral kingdom as one of its Natural World Heritage sites.

CAPE POINT: The southernmost point of the Cape Peninsula is a beautiful picturesque landscape and at the same time, powerfully overwhelming. The dark rugged rock juts out amongst the green patched gigantic cliffs; descending and cutting into the ever changing blue ocean from above 200 metres. Built as a navigational landmark in 1859, the lighthouse warned sailors to approach the Cape of Storms with caution. Today, the navigational beacon still stands 249 metres above sea level and is accessed by a one of a kind cliff railway, which is named after the mythical Flying Dutchmen.

BOULDERS BEACH: Appealing, exquisite and dazzling are words used to describe many of the surrounding beaches of Cape Town. Cute and adorable, on the other hand, belongs exclusively to Boulders Beach and its many feathery residents. What on earth are we referring to? Three thousand indigenous African Penguins of course. See these adorable black and white birds stroll along the shore of their protected habitat, around which large 540 million year old granite boulders are scattered. These penguins may be social birds, but please keep your distance, because they tend to waddle their heads and snap their beaks whenever feeling threatened. Remember, Boulders Beach belongs to the penguins, but if you cannot resist the oceans alluring call; adjacent to the colony you will find beaches designated for your enjoyment.

WHALE WATCHING: With amazing unspoiled beaches for your enjoyment, visit the Southern Peninsula’s 3 mile beach line and find out why it is known as Long Beach, situated between Noordhoek and Scarborough. The waters along the Southern Peninsula are not only for your enjoyment, but during months of May and November, you are guaranteed to see whales enjoying the coastal waters along the Cape coastline. Most frequent sightings of these giant sea mammals are the Southern Right Whale. Whether they are breaching, lobtailing, spyhopping, blowing, grunting or mating; these endangered fish are a remarkable sight to see. Among other whale species, seen in the False Bay area, are Humpback Whales, Bryde’s Whales and killer whales, dolphins also tend to frequent these shores so grab your binoculars and do not forget to blink."



Season Travel Details

South Peninsula has a Mediterranean climate, with cool, wet winters between May and September and warm, dry summers.

Average maximum temperature in January is 26°C (79°F) and an average minimum of 16°C (60°F). July average maximum is 18°C (64°F) and an average minimum of 7°C (44°F) with an annual rainfall of about 515 mm (17 ounces).

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