Imagine the sublime views from a trail up to a famous landmark accompanied by expertly narrated stories surrounding its history. This was the case when I partook in the Cape Point Audio Tour, newly launched and free for all who want a more enhanced and integrated experience of one of Cape Town’s most iconic Natural World Heritage Sites.
There are actually two tours on offer. The first is the Quick Tour, beginning and ending on the Flying Dutchman funicular, and involving walks around the site’s top lookout points and up the steps to what is now known as The Old Lighthouse.
The Full Tour, which I was on, begins in the parking area and takes you up the meandering path to the lighthouse, returning you to the starting point via the funicular. It includes The Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail, which offers a closer view of the newer, functioning lighthouse, and which is optional, in case you’re already out of breath.
The audio portions of both these excursions are available on the free smartphone app VoiceMap. You can download both if you’re unsure of how energetic you’ll be. Make sure you’ve successfully downloaded all segments of the audio tour before arriving at Cape Point, as the signal there can be unpredictable. If you’ve missed or forgotten anything worth hearing and remembering, you can keep the tour saved on your phone to refer back to at any time.
The audio tour offers information regarding the flora and fauna of the trail, such as the Chacma baboons who inhabit the area and who, given their location, are the only baboons in the world to eat seafood. Unfortunately, there were none to be seen when I visited, but the views from the southern end of the Cape Peninsula and the facts shared about the area were the real reasons for being there.
Narrated to those who make the journey are details about the first inhabitants of Diaz Beach (named after Bartholomeu Dias who discovered it in the 1400s); the nomenclature of The Cape of Good Hope and False Bay; and, of course, The Old Lighthouse, built in the late 1800s and once the most powerfully lit lighthouse in the world.
Fanciful tales are also included, such as that of the legendary Flying Dutchman, a merchant ship that purportedly sunk in the 1600s off the coast of the Cape of Good Hope and whose ghost still reportedly haunts the area.
While some might assume that the audio tour makes a tour guide unnecessary, the two actually go hand in hand. A guide can elaborate on what has just been narrated and can share new information. A great aspect of the tour is that the narration does not persist without any breaks. A certain story will be told or a fact relayed once you have reached a particular GPS coordinate. This means that some moments can be spent admiring the scenery or listening to a guide.
Once you’ve finished the tour, you can have an exquisite meal at the Two Oceans restaurant, or pop over to The Food Shop for a smaller bite to eat. But no matter what you do throughout the day, you can consider yourself fortunate to have spent it at a place rich in history and natural beauty.
When Daily at 7 am in September, and at 6 am from October
Where Cape of Good Hope, Cape Point Road, Cape Town
Cost Free app download, see Cape Point website for park entry prices
Contact +27 21 780 9010 (Visitor’s Centre)/+27 21 551 0288 (Marketing Office), [email protected], www.capepoint.co.za
Photography courtesy Joshua Craig White and Cape Point