Photo of the Week: The Cape of Good Hope
Spectacular. That’s the only way to describe one of the most famous geographic points in the world. Sea captains of past eras would have said cold, windy, dangerous, or daunting. The Cape of Good Hope can indeed be all these things. But to the modern visitor, it inspires a unique sense of awe and wonder.
Only an hour away from Cape Town, Good Hope is the perfect definition of a great day trip. The sense of excitement grows as I get closer and closer. I know I’m heading for someplace special. On a stormy day, with high seas and fast-moving clouds, through which sunlight strongly spears, the effect is surreal.
The vistas of the Cape of Good Hope can easily, and justifiably, claim all the attention. But look closer rather than farther, and the small pieces which make the whole slowly emerge. Tilt your gaze downward from the horizon to the shrubs and rocks, stand still, and the rock hyrax, or “dassie,” appears in all its cuteness. This little creature (bafflingly the closest relative of the elephant) calls the terrain of Good Hope home. This landscape, then, becomes suddenly softer than at first glance.
The coming together of sea, sky, and wind make the Cape of Good Hope truly wondrous. In a symphony of sounds, sights, and smells, the sense of being at the end of the earth is quite potent. Mother nature is clearly in charge here, and it’s hard to capture its mightiness in words. Standing out there, high on the cape, I think of Aldo Leopold’s charming phrasing: “Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.”