The Cape of Good Hope is located about an hour and a half from the center of Cape Town on the tip of South Africa’s Cape Peninsula. It’s a common misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southernmost point in Africa, when in fact this prestigious honor belongs to Cape Agulhas, located three hours away. In reality the Cape of Good Hope is the most southwestern point on the African continent. To be clear, the Cape of Good Hope is an amazing place, but the “most southwestern point of the African continent” barely seems noteworthy. I completely understand how the southernmost/northernmost/easternmost/westernmost point of any continent is worth getting excited about. But most southwestern? It hardly feels worthy of a sign. It’s like when sports announcers reference an obscure record with way too many qualifiers…i.e. “most strikes thrown on a Wednesday in August by a left-handed pitcher in Fenway Park.” Impressive…but a bit ridiculous.
All that aside, the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve surpassed our expectations in every way possible. To be honest, we were far more excited about seeing the penguins at Boulders Beach, so the Cape of Good Hope was really the secondary destination of the morning. The 30 minute drive from the entrance to the nature reserve down to the tip of the Cape was full of breathtaking views that became even more impressive once the road began to run parallel to the coastline.
After spending some time exploring and taking in the views from the rocky outcropping at the Cape of Good Hope, we started driving back towards the entrance to the nature reserve which ended up turning into an unexpected mini-safari. There are signs everywhere announcing the presence of baboons, but beyond that we didn’t know what to expect in terms of wildlife, so it was a pleasant surprise when we encountered a group of ostriches right on the beach. Ostriches are far from being one of the most exciting animals you’ll see in South Africa, but ostriches running along the ocean is an impressive sight.
We also saw two large eland, one of the antelope species that calls the Cape of Good Hope home.
The ostriches and eland were great, but the baboons stole the show. For a while it looked like we were going to return to our Airbnb without seeing a single baboon, until we saw one sitting right on the side of the road. Moments later, a group of baby baboons emerged from the tall grass. Baboons can be a nuisance and very dangerous, but it was hard not to love these little guys.
We didn’t intentionally go to the Cape of Good Hope in search of wildlife, but the wildlife really did end up being one of the highlights of our short visit.