To Capetonians and global travellers, the extraordinary drive along Chapman’s Peak has to be one of the most awe-inspiring routes imaginable. A steady and an occasional steep climb from Hout Bay up to Noordhoek provides a thrilling, breathless experience with sharp sudden turns and great sweeping curves on your route. On your left are the sheer cliffs into which this road is cut and on your right the often sheer drop down to, far below, the sparkling – and sometimes
– raging Atlantic.
As a matter of interest, Chapman’s Peak gets its name from John Chapman, the navigator of an English ship way back in 1607. It was first named “Chapmans Chaunce”. Chapmans Peak drive was hacked out of the mountainside between 1912 and 1922 and officially opened as a toll road in 2005.
The top of Chapman’s Peak consists of flat, sedimentary rocks similar to those that form Table Mountain. The base of the mountain, however, consists of Cape Granite, and the two formations meet in a geological “non-conformity” that is unique and indeed world-famous among geologists. Two different endangered flora can be found along this road, and they indeed correspond to the two main geological formations. These are the Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos and the Cape Granite Fynbos and are both unique to the Cape Peninsula.
Proteas too, South Africa’s national flower grow wild here. Proteas are beautiful and fascinatingly unique since they are unlike any other flower in the world. And naturally too, they are native to South Africa. South Africans so love the Protea that it has become the symbol and name for the national cricket team! There are several varieties of Proteas and those that grow in the wild are protected.