Southern Cape South Africa - Coastal Vignettes False Bay

Rocky with cliffs.  Sweeping vistas as the road winds its way to hug the contours of the Cape coast.
The wind is on our faces. That is how I first encountered the southern oceans, away from those in New Zealand and Australia.  The landscape here still has rugged terrain, with not many people, more natural and yet still impressive.   There are houses, mostly clinging on to the hill sides, but there is not much vehicular traffic.  Where are the surfers, one of the first thoughts that bugged me as I am transported down the Southern Cape, beside a bay that is seen as False.

 I was not certain whether this route I was taking with my group was passing by the Atlantic, or Indian, Oceans.   The relevant question then is whether False Bay is part of the Atlantic or Indian Oceans.  Spots with English and Dutch name origins dot the coast, like Parson's Nose,  Saint James, Murdock valley, Seaforth, long Beach, mackerel bay, Fish Hoek and Shelley Beach.   By coincidence, names like Shelley Baech, Seaforth and St, James are also used in the greater Sydney area in Australia.  There is a Mediterranean climate here, nurturing its popularity as a get away route with holiday homes, fishing for the Snoek, fine dining, scuba diving and yachting sport.

Where there are no sandy beaches, the ocean meets land with rocky surfaces or slopes of thin vegetation.  May be it was the season - early spring.  I could feel excitement of budding and practising geologist when coming to this region.  South Africa's Cape province is the site of more than several high points with record breaking cliff gradients beside an ocean.

False Bay is defined in boundary by Cape Hangklip, the cute name meaning "hanging rock".   This has been emphasised to us when we had a stop over to view a quiet large inlet.  Most likely a tour hot spot, for people had written in chalk names, places of origin and dates of being there.  It was a quietly stunning experience, soaking in the panoramas of rather placid waters touching the bases of cliffs.   The roads built to circumnavigate the coast are neither too wide nor narrow.   My group stopped mainly at Simon' Town and at Boulder Beach African Penguin colony.

Empty beautiful beaches line the route and provide a getaway from it all.  The landscape is so different from the interior of South Africa but here the Great White sharks swim aplenty.

From Muizenberg to Smitswinkel Bay, along a part of inlet called False Bay, the scenic ride or drive happens.   Seals around the shore at Cape Fur Seal do attract sharks in the waters - and just like around Australian waters, incidents of shark attacks do happen.  And not just any shark species, but the Great White. There is a register kept on line of casualties involving individuals off the coast of South Africa.

A  tip of a huge continent - Cape of Good Hope, but not where the Indian Ocean's warm Mozambique currents flow.

Rocky cliffs predominate part of the scenic route south from Cape Town to Simon's Town and Cape Point.

A bay along the False Bay coast.

Land's end at the Cape of Good Hope, where two major oceans still do not meet up.  The lesser known Cape Alguhas is said to be where the Atlantic meets the Indian Oceans, as the cold Benguela currents from Antartica still touch False Bay and Cape Point.
The Cape of Storms was changed in name by Portuguese King John II to the Cape of Good Hope, for its discovery and passage use by European colonists significantly changed the history of trade, cultural intermingling and cuisine development forever.
Cape Point is also known as Diaz point, in honour of Bartholomeu Diaz and rises 249 metres above the ocean level.  There is still some distance to traverse between the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point.  The latter has become another tour spot, with a funicular railway to ferry visitors up to the light house if you do not wish to climb up.  Interesting enough, Vasco da Gama Point is north of all these, along the southern stretches of False Bay, within the confines of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, south of Smitswinkel Bay and Simon's Town.

You may want to check out:

The Black Marlin Restaurant

Penguin Colony


Simon' Town


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