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Cape of Good Hope and Diaz Beach, South Africa. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini
Cape of Good Hope and Diaz Beach, South Africa. Author Marco Ramerini

Cape of Good Hope: the route to the spices


Cape of Good Hope was discovered and doubled for the first time, in 1488, by the Portuguese navigator Bartholomeu Diaz, who called it “Cape of Storms” (or “Cabo Tormentoso”). The name of Cape of Good Hope (Cabo da Esperança Bõa) was instead given by King John II of Portugal, he hopes that the discovery of the Cape will open a new trade route to reach Asia by sea. The Cape of Good Hope was once doubled by the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama in 1497, when he could for the first time reach Asia circumnavigating Africa.

Cape of Good Hope (34° 21’ 29 ” south and 18° 28’ 19’’ east), lies at about 30 km from Cape Town, is the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa, but does not represent the southernmost point of African continent, record held by the Cape Agulhas, which is located about 150 km more southeast.

Today, the Cape of Good Hope is part of the Table Mountain National Park and is along the cliffs of Cape Point the most spectacular area of this nature reserve. There is a beautiful trail by foot in less than an hour, which starts at Cape Point and  reaches Cape of Good Hope along the high cliffs of Cape Maclear and the Diaz Beach.


Cape Point is a promontory located in the southeastern part of the Cape Peninsula, a few hundred meters from the Cape of Good Hope, these two capes are not, as is often believed the sothernmost point of Africa, which is instead the Cape Agulhas which is, however, some hundreds of km to the southeast.

The cliffs of Cape Point are most spectacular and higher than those of the Cape of Good Hope, in fact they reach 240 meters, on the highest point of the promontory is located the old lighthouse, built in 1857 and connected to the parking area by a funicular and a path. On the lowest promontory was installed instead a  new lighthouse.

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