Panoramic ocean views, towering cliffs, and 100-year-old lighthouses define Cape Point Nature Reserve, located at the tip of South Africa’s Cape Peninsula. Set within the Cape Floral Region (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the reserve is a haven for hiking, wildlife viewing, and photography.
Hiking trails wind through lush valleys and secluded beaches in the 19,000-acre (7689-hectare) reserve. Known for its biodiversity, the area houses roughly 250 species of birds, 1100 species of indigenous plants, and a variety of antelope, reptiles, and amphibians. In addition to natural beauty, Cape Point Nature Reserve also boasts two historic lighthouses. The older structure can be accessed by a steep path or funicular (tram), while the new lighthouse, still in use today, is accessible by trail.
You can visit the reserve on a day trip from Cape Town, and many tours also include visits to small beach towns, local vineyards, and other nearby attractions. Wine lovers can join a tour that pairs exploring the peninsula with wine tasting in Constantia Valley, while thrill-seekers can cruise the coastal roads in a sidecar. For a truly unique perspective, view the point from above on a helicopter tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The reserve is perfect for nature lovers, photographers, and maritime buffs.
- A funicular provides access to the old lighthouse and cliff-tops for those not up for a hike.
- On-site amenities include three shops and a restaurant.
- Beware of overly friendly baboons who are quick to snag food.
- Wear sturdy shoes for exploring the steep trails and rocky shorelines.
How to Get There
Located 43 miles (70 kilometers) southwest of Cape Town, the reserve is a popular day trip destination. You can visit on a guided tour that departs from the city or travel independently by car, bus, or taxi. The road along False Bay is almost as stunning as the destination itself, so be sure to explore the area’s quaint beach towns and stop to see Africa’s famous penguin colony at Boulders Beach.
When to Get There
The park is open 6am to 6pm from October through March, and 7am to 5pm from April through September. Get to the park when it first opens to beat the crowds and watch the sunrise over False Bay. For the best chance of seeing whales, visit between June and October.
Shipwrecks at Cape Point Nature Reserve
To see the point’s chaotic maritime past first-hand, take a walk along one of the shipwreck trails. The Thomas T. Tucker and Sirkelsvlei trails will take you past numerous wrecks left behind on the rocky shoreline. The trails range from roughly 2–5 miles (3–7 kilometers) in length and include uneven, rocky terrain.