Cape Point National Park is one of South Africa’s most visited nature reserves. It is also a great place to visit by bike, with easy rides, along a network of tarred roads, providing a selection of meandering routes through the most southern tip of the Cape Peninsula.

Copy and images: Jacques Marais

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Cape Point is situated in the southern section of the Table Mountain National Park and sports rugged rocks and sheer cliffs towering more than 200 metres above the sea and delving deep into the ocean, providing a spectacular backdrop for the park’s rich bio-diversity. Fynbos, the natural vegetation of the area, comprises the smallest but richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms.

Cape Point

The riding might not be the most exhilarating, but the views are exceptional in Cape Point.

The Cape Point Routes

Get stuck into this easy ride along a network of tarred roads meandering through the southernmost tip of the Cape Peninsula. This may not be where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet, but it is way more beautiful than Cape Aghulhas, so who cares. And don’t moan about the tarmac until you’ve experienced the views – it’s worth it all the way.

Your starting point is right at the Cape Point Nature Reserve entrance gate, with a slight climb for the first few hundred metres before you dip down onto the fynbos plains. Pass turn-offs to your left (1.4km) and right (1.9km) to Olifantsbos; it is a gorgeous beach though, and if you have the time … If you decided to keep straight, turn right (4.9km) towards Gifkommetjie. Another option here would be to turn left just before Olifantsbos onto the only stretch of gravel in the park for a 3km jeep-track jol, thus ignoring the directions in the next paragraph.

If you stick to the tar, ignore the sign to Hoek van Bobbejaan (7.1km), rather continuing along the circular section past the viewpoint until you again T-bone with the main route to Cape Point (12.3km). Just on 2.8km later, a sign­board to the right (15.1km) will indicate the turn-off to Platboom, a nice little downhill stretch to the sea (17.3km). Breathe in the fresh air and then head back up to the main drag (19.5km).

Some dirt road loops add a bit of off-road fun to a ride in the southern part of Table Mountain National Park.

You’ll be doing a bit of up and down along the way and might feel it in your legs if the wind is pumping, but cruise on towards Cape Point. At 21.3km, hit a right towards Maclear Beach and the Cape of Good Hope (24.7km) – a part of Cape Point that most people don’t actually get to in their hurry to make it to the Point parking lot – and drink in the view. Finally, it’s time to climb back out and up to the main road (28.1km) and turn right – you’ll know you’ve arrived when you encounter the tourist buses and attendant baboon troop 3.2km later. Have a meal, hike to the lighthouse and then do the high-speed return run.

This is a leisurely cruise through coastal strandveld and fynbos plains, with occasional encounters with any­thing from eland, bontebok and zebra to excellent sightings of marine and ter­restrial bird species, especially sunbirds and sugarbirds.

Cape Point

Looking for excitement amongst the boulders.

Off the bike

Hiking down rocky shores to deserted beaches is one of the reserve’s major drawcards, but many families also visit to relax at the gorgeous picnic spots or the restaurant overlooking False Bay.

The modern environmental centre and funicular up to the lighthouse are also popular. Just outside the entrance to the reserve you can seek out a working ostrich farm and an African curio market. Cape Point Vineyards are a must for anyone in search of an excellent coastal Sauvignon Blanc.

Cape Point

Unless you ride from the city, which is a beautiful cycle in and of itself, you will be driving into the park.

Best Time of Year:

Best is during the so-called ‘Secret Season’. Autumn, winter and early spring bring with them balmy, windstill days devoid of the summer tourist crush. Watch out for Cape Point in the summer months of November to February when the south-easterly wind kicks in – it is as wild a Cape of Storms as you will ever encounter.

Between winter cold fronts, winter days in Cape Town are windstill and often mild enough for a ride in short sleeves.

Getting There

From Cape Town city, head south via Simon’s Town or Scarborough along the Peninsula – Cape Point is well signposted and easy to find. Turn south into the entrance gate around 12km from Simon’s Town.

Cape Point

Cranking to Cape Point.

DURATION: 3-4 hours
Options up to 60km
TERRAIN: Tarmac with a 3km jeep-track section
START POINT Reserve gate
MAP: Available at the Main Gate
GPS COORDINATES: 34˚21’24″S, 18˚29’51″E
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Normal National Park entry fees apply. A Wild Card from SANparks must be loaded with an annual MTB permit
Parking with security on duty; restaurant and ablutions
Tourist busses, heavy winds