Driving to the Southern Tip of Africa

Posted on August 30, 2012 by

The road hugs the cliff, meandering along the edge of the Table Mountain range all the way to Cape of Good Hope, the southwesternmost tip of Africa. On one side, the steep slopes plunge dramatically into the Atlantic Ocean; and on the other, needle-sharp peaks soar into the sky. In my years as an adventure travel blogger this scenic drive along the Cape Peninsula is one of my favorite routes in the world. There are just such wild and raw landscapes surrounding us. Cape Town – for all of its vibrant urban groove and sophisticated metropolis reputation – is the starting point of the route and makes for an excellent base to do a daytrip around the Cape Peninsula.

On our recent trip to Cape Town, we made it a point to experience the Cape Peninsula loop again, with the folks from Escape to the Cape. Starting out from Muizenberg, our first stop was Kalk Bay, a bohemian village littered with a flurry of antique shops, flea markets and indie boutiques. We then continued down to Simon’s Town, the third oldest town in South Africa, having been founded right after the settlements of Cape Town and Stellenbosch.

While it’s a charming fishermen’s village, the town is better known for the African Penguin colony that inhabit the nearby Boulders Beach. A wooden boardwalk weaves through the penguin’s habitat, allowing intimate encounters with the cute little animals. Over 3,000 penguins live in the area, many of them staying here permanently due to the cold water and other favorable living conditions. We watched some of them lounging around under the sun, others enjoying a dip in the clear waters. The penguins were clearly well protected in their natural habitat, free to roam around the area.

Boulders Beach
A penguin on Boulders Beach

Penguins at Boulders Beach

The drive from Simon’s Town to the Cape Point Nature Reserve brought us through plains filled with brown and yellow shrubs and green thorny cacti. According to our guide Shaheed, there are more vegetation varieties here than that in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand combined. As we drove through the nature reserve, we spotted a rainbow across the horizon, creating once again an impressive backdrop.

Rainbow in the skies

Making a stopover at the Cape of Good Hope, we chanced upon several ostriches, looking startled as we all stood wide-eyed staring at the animal in awe. The Cape of Good Hope is the southwesternmost tip of Africa and naturally, draws in quite a crowd. We had to actually go in line with other tourists for our turn to snap a shot with the sign!

Cape of Good Hope

We continued our journey to the Cape Point lighthouse, set dramatically against the crashing ocean. Cliff trails wind around the vegetation and lead to the lighthouse, we took just twenty minutes to hike along the trail, before we were treated to expansive views of the ocean.

View from Cape Point Lighthouse

Alberto and I at the lighthouse

Our route back via the Atlantic Seaboard was all the more impressive, as we drove through the town of Scarborough and the gorgeous surfing beach of Noordhoek. From Misty Cliffs, we got an atmospheric view of the sea, with a light mist creating quite a romantic setting.

Misty Cliffs

Our trip culminated at Chapman’s Peak Drive, where we drank in a view of the crescent-shaped bay and spotted sealions and sharks swimming beneath us.

Chapman's Peak

If you ever find yourself in Cape Town, be sure to head out to the peninsula for a day, you might find yourself hooked to it – just as I was.

Disclosure: Our trip was made possible by Cape Town Tourism, but all opinions are our own. 

For more photos from the Cape Peninsular, click here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter with the #LoveCapeTown hashtag.


About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

8 Responses to “Driving to the Southern Tip of Africa”

  1. @EnkosiAfrica August 30, 2012 2:52 am #

    Ruta sin igual, totalmente recomendada, aun no hemos visto una foto de Hout Bay desde Champman's Peak que no nos haga sentir allí!

    Gracias por compartir la experiencia con nosotros!

  2. Dean August 30, 2012 12:29 pm #

    This is some very spectacular coastline! Looks like a beautiful drive.

  3. CeCe September 2, 2012 12:28 pm #

    This is also one of my favorite coastal drives. It reminded me a little bit of Big Sur and the Central Coast area of California, minus penguins, baboons, and ostriches.

  4. DAVID November 7, 2012 8:32 pm #

    This looks like a really coastal drive along the sea. Cape of good hope is a nice lookout. Have written a few posts about this place.

  5. Neil Playdon March 5, 2013 8:57 am #

    The photos you have put up are stunning. Chapmans Peak Drive (the cliff-hugging road from Cape Town) is a must for anyone visiting this area. Looks like you hit Cape Point at its usual windy self looking at your photos but when the sun is out it really doesnt matter how windy it is! Glad you enjoyed your trip and hope to see you again soon :-)

  6. Colleen Setchell November 17, 2013 8:27 pm #

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!! It's been ages since I was in Cape Town. Did you see any baboons? Crazy animals they are. Jumped all over our car in an attempt to get at some crisps :-) Loving your photos as usual, thanks for sharing…

    • Nellie November 24, 2013 9:18 pm #

      Yes definitely saw lots of rowdy baboons! :)


  1. 2012: Our Year in Photos - Wild Junket - December 31, 2012

    […] We did a bike ride through a township, tested our cooking skills preparing some Cape Malay cuisine, drove to the southern tip of the African continent and swam with great white sharks (again!). Our trip also coincided with the Getaway Travel Blog […]

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