Once again, I (Guido Swarts) have been lucky to be sent on a tour with Ashanti Travel. This time I went on a one-of-a-kind tour to Cape Point. This tour is unique because a part of the trip is on E-bikes. Which is a whole different experience when compared to viewing the road from a car. The tour goes from Cape Town to Hout Bay for an optional cruise to Seal Island, from there you drive to Simons Town along the scenic Chapmans Peak Drive. To see wild African penguins waddling on Boulders Beach. Afterwards, you hop on an E-bike to cycle on a spectacular coastal road until you reach the Cape Point Nature Reserve. Where you can hike to the upper lighthouse. Finally, you will arrive at the Cape of Good Hope to take pictures with the famous sign. In this blog, I will tell you about my experience on this exceptional tour to Cape Point with bicycles.
Early in the morning at 8:00 AM, we got picked up from our accommodation. After the rest of the group was gathered, we left for Hout Bay. Along the spectacular road through Camps Bay. Once we arrived in Hout Bay, there was the opportunity to go on a cruise to Seal Island. We bought tickets right away, and since we had to wait for departure, we strolled along the piers and the market. The market sells all sorts of small souvenirs and hand-crafted items.
As the cruise left the bay towards Seal Island, we had an appealing view of the bay and its surrounding mountains, while the wind and waves crashed against the boat. The trip took around an hour, and I have seen hundreds of Cape Fur Seals laying on the island, as well as diving in the water and swimming around in the sea. You can see them from a distance, but it remains an enjoyable experience when you see them play around in their natural habitat. Afterward, we hopped back in the mini-van, to see the famous Chapmans Peak drive.
Our tour-guide had all the knowledge of the areas which made the tour significantly more enjoyable. He talked about the culture, history, and nature of South Africa along the scenic drive until we arrived at the spectacular viewpoint of Chapmans Peak. We quickly hopped out to take stunning pictures of the outlook. Afterward, we drove further along Chapmans Peak drive with marvelous coastal views.
After the spectacular route of Chapmans Peak drive, we arrived at Boulders Beach. It is known for the white sand beaches covered with waddling penguins as well as the large shaped granite boulders. Once we decided to enter the reserve because it would be unlikely that we would return. Our group was amazed by the amounts of African penguins. As we strolled along the boardwalks, it’s hard to ignore every single penguin. However, at the end of the sidewalk, there are a lot of them. They run underneath you with their clumsy walks or swim in the ocean. The penguins were so enjoyable that we almost lost track of time. Thus, we walked back to the van, where our guide would demonstrate the E-bikes.
As our guide explained the basics of the E-bike, which is easy to use, we tried a small test run. It was my first experience on an E-bike. But I got used to it quickly. So, we drove off almost right away. I am from the Netherlands, which means no hills/mountains while cycling. Which is not the case in South Africa. However, with the E-bikes, it took no effort to go up steep hills. Another thing to get used to was driving on the left side of the road.
It didn’t take long to get used to driving on the other side of the road. And after I learned the basics, we were already driving on a breath-taking coastal ride. Riding on a bike in such a spectacular environment makes it a whole different experience. The wind blows through your hair, and you can look around and take in the background, which is not possible in a car.
Eventually, we arrived at the Cape Point Nature Reserve, our guide was waiting for us since he had to drive the remaining bikes. When we entered the reserve, we noticed that the wind started to blow harder. In the park, it was a relatively short ride to the picknick place, and once we stepped off our bikes to have lunch, we had covered 20 km without much effort. Our guide had prepared lunch himself, and it was a rich combination of local dishes and salads. From a Cape Malay pasta salad to bread with tapas and home-made cookies. It was a well-needed lunch after the bike tour.
After lunch, we drove to the parking lot of the upper lighthouse at Cape Point. From there, we decided to hike to the tower, which was a short and effortless walk. The wind blew much harder at the lighthouse. Even though the weather was in excellent conditions, up by the lighthouse was cold, but with a magnificent view. Make sure that you know where you are looking at since you will look at an endless horizon of water. But you can orient yourself quickly by looking at the signs and maps on the walls.
Afterward, we walked back down in hope to spot a baboon. Before we arrived at the parking lot, our guide had explained that the baboons are dangerous if you keep food around. Many baboons were walking around us, searching for food. And the tourists that weren’t informed about this often found a baboon stealing their food or drinks.
The final stop was at the Cape of Good Hope, and on our way, we spotted some wild ostriches. The driver pulled over so we could see them from up-close. It was not sure if the ostriches were used to humans, so we kept a safe distance to take pictures. As we drove further, we saw Elands, which is a massive kind of antelope. Finally, we arrived to take photos of the famous Cape of Good Hope sign. After waiting in line to take pictures, we went to the rocks near the ocean to enjoy the sea breeze.
From there we drove back through the small towns Scarborough, Misty Cliffs, and Kommetjie as well as the scenic drive of Ou Kaapse Weg. During the ride, our guide was talking about the history of these towns and the impact of apartheid. Even though this was very interesting, most of us couldn’t stay awake after the beautiful day on the Cape Point tour with bicycles.