Up the winding roads and around the beautiful bays lie Chapmans Peak. Pack a bottle of wine, some snacks, and a couple of cameras. Stop often as there is a photo opportunity around every bend.
One of my favourite trips of 2011 was meeting a friend in Capetown and taking a drive up Chapmans Peak. Chapmans Peak Drive is a stretch of road between Houtbay to Noordhoek. This road hugs the western side of the Chapmans Peak Mountain as the mountain has a steep fall that is near vertical into the Atlantic Ocean.
The road winds up the mountain and offers a series of spectacular view points. You really do want to stop every couple of minutes. We started from the Houtbay side after a little wine and snack purchase. There are small picnic spots, which are very small areas along the road, some with only one concrete table that you can park your car, and go sit and enjoy the view, we did just that.
You will find yourself taking the same photos over and over again with a bunch of different cameras just to try to capture the awesomeness of this spot.
As you go further along the road, you will come across a toll of around R50 (South African Rand), you will get a ticket, which you need to keep as it gets checked at a checkpoint further along the road. The money goes to keeping the road in good condition as it is in itself, a bit of an engineering feat with its cantilevering concrete slabs that protect you from the rocks that fall down the mountain. There are many gabion walls and catch nets too as the rocks fall often and there have been a few fatalities over the years caused by collapsing rocks but they do their best to prevent such things from happening.
Some advice for the ladies – don’t wear a dress or a skirt as it is ridiculously windy most of the time and can be a bit of a hassle to hold your dress and take photos. Also, at each stop when you are having a sip of wine and a chip or two whilst looking at the horizon, don’t forget to look down into the ocean as this area is full of marine life, most commonly you will see lots of seals swimming together or meeting each other.
This was a favourite for me in 2011 and I hope you can make it there in 2012!