After a few weeks break of travelling to Astana in Kazakhstan, travelling to my parents in Muscat, Oman and celebrating the Eid holidays with them, I am finally back to posting on my blog! Of course, more on those travels later because I still haven’t finished writing about my Capetonian adventure yet!
So where did I leave off last time? Ah yes, I wrote about my experience of the tour of Robben Island. If you haven’t checked it out yet, here it is once again for you. But now I am going to talk about my best (or most favorite) day of all the days I spent in Cape Town – which took place on 15th August 2016!
I’d like to stress here that if you are visiting Cape Town, you definitely cannot miss out a day trip out to the Cape Peninsula, Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town, Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope! So make sure that you keep one day in your itinerary just for this tour. Why is this a must-do? You will find out soon enough if you continue reading 😉
But before I go any further, I wanna mention that there are two ways you can do this tour – alone or a group tour. If alone, then you’d have to hire a car and drive to these places by yourself (and of course pay all the necessary costs). If in a group tour, then you can book through one of the many tour operators in Cape Town. But I’d recommend either Daytrippers or Bazbus – they’re both fantastic and quite cheap! I booked my tour online via Daytrippers which costed R 750 or about € 47. Bazbus costs R 690 / € 44, slightly cheaper though there is no difference between the trips!
Let’s get started with the story of my day trip then!
On the day of my tour, I got picked up by Daytrippers right on time at 8:30 am (the tours have pickup and drop off services). Bill, our our guide, introduced himself and I introduced myself to him. Our ride was a minibus which can fit 22 passengers inside. Behind the minibus was a trailer kind of thing (sorry forgot what’s it called) to carry bicycles. We’d be using them sometime later in the day!
There were already 4 others inside once I was in the bus. But we had to do three more pickups before we could start our tour. By the time we’ve picked up everyone, there were 19 of us (17 visitors, our guide Bill, and our driver) of 7 different nationalities.
Then we started our journey towards our first stop – Hout Bay. Meanwhile in the bus, Bill took his microphone and welcomed us and started to give us useful information about our tour – the roads we’ll be driving through, our stops and attractions, as well as historical backgrounds related to the places we’ll be visiting and also of Cape Town.
Our first stop was at the fishing town of Hout Bay (or “Wood Bay”) where we could have breakfast or coffee if needed. There is also a boat ride to Duiker Island, where you can see thousands of Cape Fur Seals. This cruise is however optional and not included in the tour. The price is R 65 / about € 4. The stay at Hout Bay lasted about 45 minutes. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to have toilet breaks here because the toilet facilities are absolute crap (pun intended).
Chapman’s Peak Drive
After Hout Bay, we ride along the scenic and breathtaking mountainside road called Chapman’s Peak Drive towards our next destination. But not so fast! We definitely didn’t want to miss the opportunity to take some awesome photos of the stunning views from Chapman’s Peak Drive! So we stopped at a parking/resting spot up the road opposite of Hout Bay for about 10-15 mins. And here are some of the views you can experience from that spot!
Of course Bill mentioned a lot about the historical importance of Chapman’s Peak Drive – such as how it came into existence and after whom it was named etc. But I won’t go into those details here because 1) it is much more interesting when you hear it all yourself and 2) By now I don’t really remember a lot of those details 😆 *guilty*
The mountainside is carved and protected from falling rocks and boulders, so it is pretty safe to drive along this scenic road. Oh btw, you have to pay a toll to use this road if you are driving there by yourself. For us this was already included in the tour price. We then continued our journey east towards Simon’s Town.
Simon’s Town & Boulders Beach
Simon’s Town is host to the biggest naval base of the South African Navy, but that is not why we went there. We went there to meet and make friends with some rare Jackass African Penguins at Boulders Beach! They are locally called Jackass because of the sound they make when mating 😛 The entry fee to the penguin sanctuary costs R 65 / € 4 which was already included for us in the tour. This was my second time in life to see live Penguins btw! Because these charismatic African Penguins are endangered species, they are protected from people in a special area in this beach.
After spending about half an hour at the penguins’ home, it was time for us to continue our day trip towards Cape Point. At this point, we actually started to get a bit hungry and we’d have a picnic lunch somewhere inside the Cape Point Reserve. Also, it was almost time to ride the bikes… Let’s go ahead then shall we?
Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve consists of two major attractions : The Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope itself. To get in, one has to pay a fee at the entrance gate. Once again, this was included in our tour already. Once we were inside, we had to ride a bike to Buffelsfontein Visitor Center, where we’d have our lunch. The majority of us opted to ride the bike while a few of our fellow travelers stayed in to go with the bus instead.
Bill and our driver fetched a bike for each of us and we gathered helmets from inside the bus. Once everything was set and ready, we’d be starting our ride towards the visitor center. And this was the road we had to ride along!
The road was quite straight forward for the most part, except for a 300 meter slope at one point where riding a bike up can get a bit exhausting when you are hungry. But hey, at least you would enjoy lunch more right? 😉 After riding for about 25-30 mins, we reached the Buffelsfontein Visitor/Information Center. As Bill and few others were already ahead of us (they went by bus), he was preparing our lunch. Bless him!
It’s been a long time I had a proper picnic so this was quite exciting for me! Our lunch consisted of salad, pasta salad, bread, ham/chicken, fruits, and cookies – pretty delicious and healthy! After our 45 minute lunch break, we headed towards Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope.
So what’s the difference between Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope?
As seen from the picture below, Cape Point is the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula and is mountainous, therefore located at a higher point than Cape of Good Hope.
And Cape of Good Hope is the most southwestern tip of Africa. Many mistake it as the southernmost point of the continent, but that title actually belongs to Cape Agulhas, about 150 km away. Cape Point is also where the two oceans – Atlantic and Indian – supposedly meet. Though the exact ‘meeting point’ can vary as it depends on the ocean currents and temperature difference. Plus there is no such ‘dividing line’ to determine which ocean is which 😉
At first, we hiked to the top of ‘Cape Point’ where the lighthouse is located and it offers some breathtaking sceneries! Going to the top and returning can take about 45 mins to an hour tops. And guess what, you will meet a lot of baboons on the way, which means you have to be careful around them!
Due to many visitors going up and down, they won’t probably bother you but you never know! They are easily attracted by food so visitors must not feed or tease them. Better yet, don’t carry any food with you, even in your bags. They are clever enough to take your bags and look inside for food, though some aggressive or dangerous ones will actually take your other belongings too! Always make sure to keep a safe distance from baboons and feeding them can lead you to a fine!
From the lighthouse point up there, you can literally see two oceans! Oh I almost forgot, if you don’t feel liking hiking, you can also take a 3-minute funicular ride to the top and back.
Cape of Good Hope
Our last and final stop is the one which travelers look forward to the most on this day trip! After we come back down again, we take an easier hike to Cape of Good Hope.
The hike towards Cape of Good Hope and then down to the point where the famous signage is found took us about an hour. Around 4:35 PM, our legendary and memorable day trip came to a happy end.
For me personally, it was truly an amazing experience which I will never forget! We were especially lucky because the weather was just perfect – sunny, blue skies and the slightly cold temperature made our adventure really comfortable and fantastic!
It took us about 1.5 hour drive to get back to the city. The whole trip lasted nearly 9 hours and the R750 I spent for it was totally worth it! One can NOT miss this great opportunity while visiting beautiful Cape Town! 🙂
Back to you now! If you have done this day trip in Cape Town, please let us know about your experience! Also feel free to leave a comment or suggestion about this day trip, looking forward to hearing from you all!