From the moment my feet touched South African soil I had been talking of my desire to visit the Cape of Good Hope. A part of the reason for my enthusiasm is probably because when I told my father that I was going to Cape Town, his face lid up and he said “then you can see the Cape of Good Hope.”
The Cape of Good Hope is a legend among old sailors like my father. A place where many ships have battled fierce storms. Some lost, some won. I also had the misconception in my mind that it was the most southern part of Africa, place where the Atlantic and Indian ocean come together in a rouring stream.
As it turn out I was completely wrong. The most southern part of Africa is Cape Agulhas. I still wanted to visit the Cape of Good Hope and as well the most southern part. So we decided to take a road trip and rent a car.
At the “wrong” side
When you have all your life driven a car on the “right” side of the road the idea of driving on the “wrong” (left) side becomes a little distressing. The only thing that is in correct order of is the clutch, brake and gasoline. For operating anything else I had to think. Every time I was going to indicate the direction the windshield wipers went crazy. Worst moment were when I panicked, then I started looking for the gear pole on the door. My niece was my trusted guide out of Cape Town and once we were out of the city things started to become easier.
Our first stop was in Simon’s Town for lunch and we had booked accommodation in a private home that Inga found on Airbnb. We knew that we were early but fortunately we were able to check in.
The apartment was situated in the hills above Simon’s Town and we gasped when we saw the view from our private porch. The flower best known from the cape are is the Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos. It is a big and beautiful flower that only grows in this area. We were delighted to see several of them in a vase at in our apartment. We also found a big plant growing these beautiful flowers in the garden.
Then we ventured off to get a glimpse of the Cape of Good Hope. The Cape is a part of Table Mountain National park and we were astonished by the beautiful surroundings.
As I was still a bit insecure driving we followed the cars in front of us and came to the parking lot below the lighthouse. There it was, this infamous cape that had through the centuries taken life of many sailors. We found out that to get to the tip of the cape we had to hike for one and a half hour. In this case it was unfortunate that we had checked in so early because all our things were in Simonstown and our footwear consisted of flipflops. But we were determined to have nothing stopping us and off we went with a tiptap sound of the flipflops. The weather was perfect for a hike. It was cloudy, there was a light breeze and we really enjoyed the hike in spite of poor footwear.
Finding an old friend
It is a strange feeling to come to a place you have dreamed to get to for a long time. It is like meeting an acquaintance that you have secretly admired. You don’t quite know how to behave. When we were filming our joy of being there we found out that we could have parked just below the cape. That came clear to us when a bus load of indians appeared from out of nowhere it seemed. Even though it felt a little bit crowded for a while we enjoyed our time there and I recall that I was a little reluctant to leave this almost old friend of mine. Knowing that perhaps we will never meet again.
On the hike back we met one of the residence of the cape. A big ostrich was pecking into the flora obviously enjoying a delicious meal. We also decided to walk to the lighthouse and capture the view from there over the cape. What a view it was. We almost lost all track of time and when we walked to our car we found out that it was the only one left at the parking lot. We happily drove away from this adventure on the “wrong” side of the road knowing that more was to come. The day after we were planning to take a look at Boulders Beach and visit the most southern part of Africa, Cape Agulhas.