The southern tip of the Cape Peninsula is occupied by the Cape Point Nature Reserve, with its 7750 hectares of rich fynbos and 40 kilometers of rugged coastline. The reserve forms part of the Table Mountain National Park.
Getting there: drive south on the Main Road (M4) through Simon’s Town, turning left after 12km into the Reserve [-34.2577, 18.4561]
GPS Coordinates: -34.26154, 18.45792
Whilst Cape Point is certainly the most impressive feature of the coastline with dramatic cliffs towering over deep blue waters, it is the Cape of Good Hope that is actually the southern-most promontory of the peninsula, and of course neither has the honor of being the southernmost tip of Africa, that belonging to Cape Agulhas.
A stop at the Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre is really worthwhile and will arm you with a wealth of knowledge that will make your visit that much more enjoyable.
The park is well maintained, and there are plenty of info-boards at the various attractions.
The reserve is criss-crossed with hiking trails, two of which are Sirkelsvlei, Platboom to the Reserve Gate and Farmer’s Cliff’s. There is very little fresh water in the reserve, and certainly no drinking water on any of the hikes. The conditions in the area are fairly harsh: it is frequently very windy, and there is no shelter from either the wind or the sun.
There is a two-day hike, and the Hoerikwaggo Trail begins / ends here.
Flora & Fauna
You are almost guaranteed to come across one of the handful of Chacma Baboon troupes that forage in the reserve. Please remember that they are wild animals, and potentially dangerous. The park is proactive and you will undoubtedly see baboon monitors keeping tabs on the baboons and their behavior, and ministering baboon / human interaction.
I have seen baboons, ostrich, bushbuck, eland, zebra and bontebok, as well as whales in season.
The fynbos is exposed to harsh conditions with regular gale-force winds and salty sea air to contend with.
You can rent the Eland and Duiker Cottages, as well as the Olifantsbos Guest House. There are also overnight bungalows servicing the two day overnight trail.
Buffel’s Bay looks like it was designed for camping, with its grassy terraced areas and ablutions. I think it is a huge shame that this is not a camping site as it would give the average South African an affordable option to stay in the Reserve, as well as creating some employment.
The ocean is fairly cold, and the beaches are not ideal for swimming, however, there is a beautiful tidal pool at Buffel’s Bay. This is a great spot for a picnic as there are grassy lawns, braai areas, and an ablution block with fresh water showers. There are also some popular, but remote, surf spots.
A visit to the Lighthouse is essential — just be prepared to brave the hordes of tourists. There is a funicular to take you up but it is fairly expensive at R42 per adult and you will miss out on some of the views and view points.