Once able to call the Western Cape their playground, now tribes of Chacama Baboons have found sanctuary within the scrubby fynbos landscape on the outskirts of the city in areas like the Cape Point Nature Reserve and the surrounding Helderberg, Hex River, and Boland Mountains. Due to the development and spread of human settlement on the Cape over time, these mammals have a long history of human conflict in the region. Their unrestricted and close proximity to the city of Cape Town means there is bound to be an occasional, curious baboon wandering northwards towards the city, possibly following ingrained migration routes towards the aforementioned mountains to find a mate. Humans arguably present a greater danger in these situations, with power lines, guard dogs, and fast moving cars being the biggest threats in their path.
Baboons are one of the largest species of monkeys and are also incredibly strong. In the Western Cape, baboons are a protected species, so it is illegal to feed, kill, or hunt them. When visiting Cape Point, it's important to remember to keep a safe distance, lock car doors and shut car windows, and generally treat them like the wild animals they are. The last thing you want is one damaging your rental car or stealing your camera on your visit to Cape Point. For more tips on how to handle your baboon encounters while visiting the Western Cape, see the link below.
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Up in the Clouds at Cape Point
Race you to the top! No visit to Cape Town is complete without a visit to the lighthouse at Cape Point. From the main parking lot, you can walk up to the lower visitor area where there is a gift shop and the Two Oceans Restaurant, but the true highlight is the old lighthouse lookout, found up several sets of winding stairs. There is also a funicular, transferring visitors to and from the lower station to the top.
Don't be dismayed if there are clouds when you visit. While they can obscure your view, the sensation of the misty air rolling over you is quite cool. It also helps you imagine why Bartolomeu Dias called this historically difficult to navigate area the "Cape of Storms".