Recognised globally for its extraordinarily rich, diverse
and unique flora, this singular peninsula - with the rugged
Table Mountain range meandering down the centre and soft
white sandy beaches, rocky coves and sand flats - is a truly
remarkable recreational asset. Nowhere else in the world
does an area of such spectacular beauty and such rich bio-diversity
exist almost entirely within a metropolitan area - the thriving
and cosmopolitan city of Cape Town.
Numerous scenic drives are so impressive they require an
unhurried approach, to appreciate their stunning beauty.
The cold Atlantic Ocean (46°- 59°F (8°-15°C),
runs down the western edge of the peninsula, while the warmer
waters of False Bay (55°- 68°F (13°-20°c),
caress the eastern shores. These bodies of water are both
visible in some places along the route, and it is often
said that the Atlantic finally meets the Indian Ocean at
This is not strictly true as satellite images show that
the warm and cold currents mingle off Africa's southernmost
point at Cape Agalhus, 106 miles (170km) south east of Cape
Town. However, there are days when a distinctive line is
visible in the ocean at Cape Point, but the sea know no
boundaries and call them what you will, these waters will
become the great Southern Ocean.
The Cape's flora is quite unique, containing the world's
Sixth Floral Kingdom, named Fynbos.
This encompasses Proteas, Ericas, Reeds and Bulbous plants,
which flourish in the nutrient poor soils. Under such conditions,
an astonishing diversity of 2,256 species has emerged -
more than the whole of Great Britain (which supports 1,500
species), in an area 5,000 times smaller! The Cape contains
526 of the world's 760 erica species and 96 out of the world's
160 types of gladiolus, and Table Mountain alone supports
In the pristine Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, keep your
eyes open for beautiful brown and white bontebok
antelopes, dawdling tortoises and dashing ostriches
and be on the lookout for cheeky baboons
in the parking lot.
In the oceans around the Cape, Southern Right whales entertain
thousands of spectators each year when they come so close
to shore that you can smell their fishy breath. These wonderful
gentle giants of the sea come to the Cape peninsula from
August to October to mate and calve. Sightings peak in September,
and there are a number of well-placed viewpoints along the
Boulders Beach is home to a growing colony of the vulnerable
African penguins, which
can easily be viewed at close quarters from a wheelchair-friendly
boardwalk. They were commonly called 'Jackass' penguins,
and when you hear a noise like a donkey being strangled,
you will understand why.
The birdlife along the peninsula is prolific with iridescent
sunbirds, long-tailed Cape
sugarbirds, rare black
oystercatchers, gulls and arctic terns, plus raptors
like eagles, kestrels, kites and buzzards.