Cape of Good Hope and the mystery of the flying Dutchman
Cape Point Travel Blog› entry 12 of 18 › view all entries
If you set foot in Cape Town and do not make a trip to cape point, you will have missed the most exciting and memorable part of your trip. The legendary Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope form part of Cape Town’s Nature Reserve. These two points served as attractions for the early explorers and are the source of many myths and legends in southern Africa. In 1488, Bartholomew Dias one of Africa’s major explorers named the Peninsula Cabo Tormentoso, or the Cape of Storms because of it‘s fierce storms. In the later years however, King John II of Portugal decided to rename it Cabo da Boa Esperanca which means “Cape of Good Hope“, a name that has since popularized this region at the tip of Africa.
The mystery of the Flying Dutchman stems from the 17th century mysterious disappearance of Hendrick van der Decken, a Dutch explorer who attempted to round the Cape in strong headwinds. Mysteriously his ship and crew disappeared, and legend now tells of the ghost ship "The Flying Dutchman". I recently took time at the urging of my daughter, to watch the movie Pirates of the Caribbeans' and the three part movies includes the mysteries of the ship that ferries the souls of the dead to the underworld from across the seas, it is called 'the flying Dutchman', quite something. If you have not watched it you should it is quite entertaining actually.
The light house that now stands at the top of Cape Point is not the original light house that was erected in 1860. The earlier light house did not withstand due to its high location of two hundred thirty eight metres (238m) above sea level. It was not very functional due to the nature of weather at this geographical location, there was incredibly obscure clouds and mist that made it dysfunctional to the point that in 1911 the Portuguese liner Lusitania was wrecked leading to the relocation of the lighthouse to it‘s current location. I must add, the location is incredible, you can clearly see from above the meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic oceans.
The Cape of Good Hope has great beaches, in the earlier days it was revered and named the cape of storms/ death. I saw otherwise when I was there, infact Don and I walked the beach and it felt tranquil and beautiful. It is very scenic with great white sands with portions of rugged cliffs offering breathtaking views. The Cape Point cliffs are very high coastal cliffs photographed by tourists and photographers from all over the world. This happened to be the meeting point of the worlds two largest oceans (Atlantic and Indian). I would caution all surfers, this is not the place to surf unless you are a dare devil.