When people see Cape Town from beyond, I don’t think they see is the vast and unique natural setting it sits within. Cape Town is in the heartof one of the most unique bits of geography in the entire world, and for an outdoors lover, it’s absolutely paradise to explore.
I set out in the direction of the town of Hermanus, but like anything I’ve ever done in my life, I take the long way via Cape Point to get there.
Through a mountain pass, the road winds up then downward towards the cozy suburb of Camp’s Bay. Houses dot the steep landscape and look down on the stunning sea front below. The beach curves gently into sturdy boulders that frame the coastal scene. It’s the dead of winter, but children still race through the water’s edge in swimsuits. Pasty tourists still lay on the beach hoping to harness a shade or two darker.
The road pushes along the ocean front before meandering along a steep cliff face akin to the scenery of the French Rivera. Red rock presses through bright green foliage and is perfectly contrasted by the gentle blue shade of the sea. The scene from lookout points looks to be a creation from a photoshop project rather than a view witnessed by men and women.
I cut inland, and push through a scene of green shrubbery. The road appears like the trail of ants through the landscape, and as I slice through it I see an antelope hop alongside.
Cape Point stretches out into the desperate Pacific Ocean. A funicular pulls trigger happy tourists to the top of a hill looking out towards the “bottom of Africa”. It’s South Africa like you’ve always imagined, wild and inspiring. Yet there are no lions or leopards here, it’s just you and the power of the end of the world that draws the breath from your lungs.
The road from Cape Point continues along a coast where subtle beaches spring from sea and penguins waddle to a bath in the calm waters. They stop occasionally to look at the gallery of tourists snapping photos, to pick at their feathers, or just to contemplate life in general.
Again, the road rises well above the coast and looks out towards the endlessness of the sea. Along the horizon, I search for Southern Right Whales which migrate here from Antarctica. Dolphins too play in these waters.
The heavy sun begins to pull down on the world and a soft glow of orange graces the sky. Though I don’t see whales, the beauty of the sea nearly draws me into it as I drive completely distracted.
I finish my journey in Hermanus after dark has already set in. I plop down in my bed at the Marine Hotel and listen to the waves kiss the white sand of South Africa’s Whale Coast. My eyes struggle to fade away to the land of dreams. It’s hard to dream, when the world you’re living in is far more beautiful than your wildest fantasy.