“So give me hope Joanna, give me hope Joanna” – Eddy Grant.
As a perpetual tourist, I love ticking off a textbook “tip”, “point” or “peak” on my wacaday journeys. Memories of such achievements in days of yore came reeling back, and they continue to do that on life’s sentimental worldic curveball. I remembered vividly back to that Taiwan day of freedom and realisation with Natalia and Neil back in October 2009. That day, the hat-trick of us backpacked our way to the Beacon of South East Asia, the final tip of Taiwan after our tour of Eluanbi Lighthouse. It was a moment of reality for me on my journey. I knew I was a perpetual tourist that day. I knew I wanted to see the world. I wasn’t going to stop, whether I had been the only person at the South East tip of Asia for a second or not.
The comparisons from that day to this trip whackpacking to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa in 2020 were uncanny. For these reasons:
– Both trips were on hot days
– Both trips we went to a Lighthouse first
– Both trips our trip had three people – 2 guys (Neil, Russell) and a girl (Natalia, Malina)
– All three people had different nationalities (England, Estonia, Northern Ireland) (Australia, Poland, Northern Ireland)
– Both were to a tip, point
– Both were inspiring moments to cherish. Without doubt, forever.
“I hope you’ll find your freedom for eternity” – Robbie Williams.
Getting to the Cape of Good Hope
You can backpack loyal to it if you want but we booked a day tour which encompassed other sights along the way. My friend Russell booked it and they picked us up from the Mandela Place Hotel (where I stayed one night before moving to Altona Lodge). It was a mini-bus tour for 10 people. The other sights on the tour included Bantry Bay, a seal cruise, a lunch stop (at the lighthouse itself) and later a visit to Simon’s Town and the famous penguin colony, where in February 2020 we were guaranteed to find penguins. I will write about the penguins separately – my first time to see penguins since Antarctica.
Sightseeing on the way to the Cape of Good Hope
We didn’t just drive there and back. That would have been a tad boring but would have allowed us more time there, at Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. However the few stops we made on the way were for viewpoints at Bantry Bay round from Llandudno and inland at Hout Bay.
We were also told about a nudist beach along the way. What a shame we didn’t have time to visit it as that is just my thing to do and write about! I previously went nude at the English Garden in Munich, on a nudist beach called Lubiewo in Poland and I did naked yoga with Veronika in London. The bus drive continued to Hout Bay with one stop for a viewpoint.
At Hout Bay there was the option of a seal watching tour but I skipped it as I have seen seals many times before. I headed for ice cream and coffee here at Hout Bay on route to the Cape.
Then we drove into the Cape of Good Hope National Park and paid the $20 US (in Rand it’s 350) each to enter. We stopped in the car park near Cape Point where the lighthouse is.
Baboons at the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point
Beware! Baboons are a danger here. Do not bring any food. They will nab it immediately. The baboons are everywhere here including Cape Point itself and on the drive in.
The Lighthouse at the Cape of Good Hope
From the car park, there are two trails to do. Both are short walks. However our driver and guide wasn’t very helpful, so of course got no tip. As he basically didn’t explain to us that we had plenty of time to see both the lighthouse and walk all the way to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope as well as stopping by Dias Beach. However, we headed to the Lighthouse first – it was 10 minutes up and decent views but not much else. There is a shop, cafe and toilet there also.
The Walk to the Cape of Good Hope
Then we went back to the mini-bus before a fellow tourist from England wondered where the rest of our group were and why we had to wait. It turned out they were a bunch of Indians who had gone to eat! Then we finally discovered we could do the walk (which looked gorgeous) down to the Cape of Good Hope and the driver would pick those active ones (i.e. us) up there and drive the lazier ones down. If we had known that at the start, we would have done the lighthouse quickly (20 minutes) and then walked straight to the Cape of Good Hope. However the walk was worth it – was so scenic yet we had to skip the beauty of Dias Beach now due to time constraints.
The Cape of Good Hope
The first thing we actually saw at the Cape of Good Hope, on the dander down were ostriches! Then it was time to pose by the famous sign. It was a poignant moment and great to be here to enjoy it with Malina and Russell my travel buddies on this trip, and a few other trips.
The sign itself was the moment of realisation for me. I reminded myself not just of Eluanbi in Taiwan (the beacon of south east Asia), but also of Point Danger (Queensland, Australia), Cape Horn (Chile/Tierra Del Fuego), Cape Byron (most easterly point of Australia), Birr Point (most easterly point of Northern Ireland) and Punta del Este harbour (the southernmost tip of Uruguay).
We got our photos, admired the views and waiting for our mini-bus. The next stop would be at Simon’s Town to watch African penguins. Just for the memory, here are some other photos of tips I visited…
Here are some videos from my time backpacking at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa:
Eddy Grant: Give me hope, Joanna: