Cape Point is a promontory at the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula, which is a mountainous and scenic landform that runs north-south for about 30km at the extreme southwestern tip of the African continent. The cape is located at about 2.3km east and a little north of the Cape of Good Hope on the southwest corner. Although these two capes are very well known, none of them is actually the southernmost point in Africa; that is Cape Agulhas, approximately 150km to the east-southeast.
The peak above Cape Point is higher than that above the Cape of Good Hope. There is a major peak that dominates the skyline locally (238m) but there is also a smaller peak (100m) further south. On the top of the higher peak is the old lighthouse, built in the late 1850s. Unfortunately it had two drawbacks: on the one hand it could be seen 'too early' by ships rounding the point towards the east, causing them to approach too closely, and on the other foggy conditions often prevail at the higher levels, making it invisible to shipping. On 18 April 1911, the Portuguese liner Lusitania was wrecked just south of Cape Point for precisely these reasons, prompting the relocation of the lighthouse at a lower elevation (87m).
Cape Point is situated within the Table Mountain National Park, within a section of the Park referred to as Cape of Good Hope. This section covers the whole of the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula and which takes in perhaps 20% of its total area. The Cape of Good Hope section of the park is generally wild, unspoiled and undeveloped and is an important haven for seabirds. The main indigenous vegetation types are Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos and Cape Granite Fynbos, both of which are endangered and endemic to Cape Town.
One of the specific plants of fynbos region is the King protea (Protea cynaroides), the national flower of South Africa. It has several colour forms and horticulturists have recognized 81 garden varieties. It is adapted to survive wildfires by its thick underground stem, which contains many dormant buds; these will produce the new growth after the fire. One of the birding highlights of the peninsula is the African Penguin colony at Boulders Beach. The African penguin (Spheniscus demersus), also known as the jackass penguin for its donkey-like bray.
Table Mountain National Park is part of the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. It is the only floristic region of the Cape Floristic Kingdom, and includes only one floristic province, known as the Cape Floristic Province. The Cape Floristic Region, the smallest of the six recognised floral kingdoms of the world, is an area of extraordinarily high diversity and endemism, and is home to over 9 000 vascular plant species, of which 69% are endemic.
The property represents less than 0.5% of the area of Africa but is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora, and is recognised as one of the world’s ʻhottest hotspotsʼ for its diversity of endemic and threatened plants. Of particular scientific interest are the adaptations of the plants to fire and other natural disturbances; seed dispersal by ants and termites; the very high level of plant pollination by insects, mainly beetles and flies, birds and mammals; and high levels of adaptive radiation and speciation.
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Cape Point - Wikipedia
Cape Point - sa-venues.com
Table Mountain National Park - South African National Parks official website
Cape Floral Region Protected Areas - UNESCO official website
Sent from ??? (??? / South Africa), on 05.05.2015, via Namibia 13.05.2015