Original source: BushBoundGirl.com
As far as cities go, Cape Town is a winner for the outdoorsy type. After spending a year and a half exploring this wonderful city and its surrounds, I’ve finally concluded that the place I love most is Cape Point.
I love watching waves throw themselves wildly against the rocky mountain cliffs, spotting seals lazing in the ocean with just one flipper sticking out of the water, and breathing in the salty clean air, letting the wild wind tangle my tresses and sing through my ears.
If you’re a nature lover like me, then you’ll be in your element. Cape Point (Table Mountain National Park) is part of the Cape Floral Region, a National Heritage Site containing more than 1 1000 plant species – the smallest but richest of the Worlds six floral kingdoms. It’s also home to a large chattering array of birds – (250 different species), Cape mountain zebra, eland, and the only shellfish-foraging baboon population ever recorded.
And then there are the anemone’s… swaying sea delights, colourful clown heads, treasures dancing in underwater gardens…
“There were water-flowers there too, in thousands; and Tom tried to pick them: but as soon as he touched them, they drew themselves in and turned into knots of jelly; and then Tom saw that they were all alive – bells, and stars, and wheels, and flowers, of all beautiful shapes and colours; and all alive and busy, just as Tom was. So now he found that there was a great deal more in the world than he had fancied at first sight.”
(From Charles Kingsley’s ‘The Water Babies’)
One third of ALL marine species in Southern Africa occur at Cape Point. In winter months, it’s the place to view Southern Right whales that arrive to mate and give birth. The rich variety of marine life here is due to the unique merging of two ocean currents – the Cold Benguela and the Agulhas current.
Cape Point’s famous lighthouse, built in 1859, stands 249 metres above sea level, surrounded by beautiful greenery, meandering rocky paths and perfect places to picnic and marvel at the magnificent views.
Cape Point is also a place of stories. When the explorer Bartolomeu Dias arrived in 1488 he named it ‘The Cape of Storms’. Violent wind, thick fog, sharp cutting rocks and gigantic wild waves made it a dangerous place for sailors. Along the whole of the Cape Peninsular, 650 ship wrecks occurred, 26 of these wrecks at Cape Point.
There are also tales of a legendary ghost ship called the Flying Dutchman. One of the first recorded sightings was by the future King George V of England when he was 16 years old…
“At 4 a.m. the Flying Dutchman crossed our bows. A strange red light as of a phantom ship all aglow, in the midst of which light the masts, spars, and sails of a brig 200 yards distant stood out in strong relief as she came up on the port bow, where also the officer of the watch from the bridge clearly saw her, as did the quarterdeck midshipman, who was sent forward at once to the forecastle; but on arriving there was no vestige nor any sign whatever of any material ship was to be seen either near or right away to the horizon, the night being clear and the sea calm.”
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