Tag Archives: lookout point

Watching Table Mountain from up on Signal Hill in Cape Town (2021-01-24) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 10 MAR 2021

Want a view over Cape Town but don’t actually want to walk to get it? Then Signal Hill has everything you need! For non locals, to reach this landmark flat-topped hill next to Lion’s Head and Table Mountain, take the fun little drive up Kloof Nek Road, swing to the right when you get to the top of the road (do not go left unless you actually wanted to reach the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway station), follow the road past all the eager hikers going up and coming down Lion’s Head, shoot past the eye-catching white and green-domed Mohamed Hassen Ghaibie kramat, and then take the final bend, coming to rest in the handy (but tiny) parking lot right on top of the hill.

In the days before radio signals (i.e. this no longer applies), Signal Hill served as the vantage point from which signal flags were used to communicate weather warnings and anchoring instructions down to visiting ships in order to ensure that they were adequately prepared for the typical stormy weather that accompanies mooring in Table Bay. Similarly, ships could communicate back if in need of assistance or other instructions. Moving on, as the local time signal system, Signal Hill is also known for its very special Noon Gun (jointly operated by the South African Navy and South African Astronomical Observatory) which, although now very unnecessary, to this day still happily gives all local pigeons a hearty fright with its booming midday announcement.

As mentioned earlier, the winding road up to the summit runs past a couple of features, like the Appleton Scout Campsite (operatd by Scouts South Africa), several tombs (or kramats) of Muslim missionaries and religious leaders, and of course the entrance to the super popular hike up Lion’s Head. The flat topped Signal Hill itself comes with magnificent views over Cape Town city centre and the Atlantic Seaboard, and also serves as a jump off point for local paragliders, including that of the famous Tandem Paragliding experience which has since become a popular event for both locals and tourists alike. In terms of ecology, Signal Hill also just so happens to be one of the only places in the world where the critically endangered Peninsula Shale Renosterveld vegetation can be found. Endemic to Cape Town, the Peninsula Shale Renosterveld used to be the dominant ecosystem of the Cape Town City Bowl, but thanks to urban development, only a tiny patch on Devil’s Peak and Signal Hill itself remain as the surviving sample of this type of vegetation.

This particularly little visit to the top with Chantelle and the girls came after first a lovely walk along the Sea Point promenade, followed by some picture snapping in the colourful Bo-Kaap. In other words proper Cape Town tourist stuff, which is exactly then why directly following our waltz about in the wind above Cape Town, we shot down to the V&A Waterfront and made it our mission to make it through to the Lindt Studio before it closed for the day. (We succeeded, but only just!)

A Cairn at Rotary Way Lookout Point above Hermanus (2021-01-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 15 FEB 2021

Hermanus is a wonderful seaside town, squeezed into a narrow coastal plain that is bounded by the endless blue of the Indian Ocean to the south and the peaks of the Kleinriviersberge mountains to the north. One of the best ways to get a lay of the land is to drive up the easy to miss as you enter the town Rotary Way, a 5.3 km long road that ticks all the boxes of being a mountain pass but which instead simply doesn’t go anywhere.

The start of the road gives you a view to the Western areas of Hermanus, such as Sandbaai, Zwelihle and Vermont, while a little further on to the left you get blessed with the stunning landscape views of the fertile green Hemel en Aarde Valley, before reaching the final tarred section of the road which opens up views over the Klein River Valley, Stanford, the Lagoon and of course of Walker Bay and Hermanus itself. Here there are a couple of benches to sit down and quietly admire the view, or if you are like me with a couple of energetic girls in tow, head out for a stroll in the bush and add a couple of stones to the nearby cairn as a way to leave your mark. (This was by far the most fun bit of this stop for them).

The views over Hermanus are of course spectacular. You are high but not high enough that you lose any detail, and it becomes a fun way to spot the landmarks like the golf course, Hoy’s Koppie, the Old Harbour and Gearing’s Point. (It’s also worth pointing out that if you have a capable vehicle, you can actually continue along the gravel section of the road from here, which will then take you past the local hang glider launching area all the way through to the edge of the Hamilton Russell Vineyards property where the road finally terminates once and for all.)

Beautiful agamas and other rock lizards, delicate fynbos flowers, views to die for, and that fresh sea breeze in your face, a drive up Rotary Way should really be considered the next time you find yourself in Hermanus on a good weather day.

The Harbour and the Lookout Point in Gordon’s Bay (2017-07-29) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 28 APR 2018

It’s not often that I get my brother to come out and visit me here in Gordon’s Bay, but on the odd occasion that I do, it is imperative that the girls and I do something out and about with their ‘favourite uncle’. Luckily, small as it may be, there are more than just one or two pretty things to look at when visiting here in Gordon’s Bay.

On this particular visit of his, we decided to head up for a stroll at the Steenbras Water Treatment Plant Lookout Point, which involves taking a short drive up the mountain overlooking Gordon’s Bay, followed by a walk along a narrow ridge (if you are brave/steady enough) to a clearing that gives you a great view of the treatment plant itself, not to mention an even better view over good old Gordon’s Bay.

A nice addition to the lookout point is the recently installed granite map of False Bay that the local Rotary Club has donated and installed, a great guide to all the major points along this important Cape Town geographical landmark.

Anyway, piggyback rides exhausted, our next stop was back down the mountain and on to the old harbour. (In case you didn’t know, Gordon’s Bay is surprisingly the proud owner of two small harbours!)

Pretty boats in water, what’s not to like? So, two reasonably nice and relaxing sights to see, and one out and about ‘adventure’ with the favourite uncle all done and dusted.

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Note: I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t take as many photos as what I normally do when out and about sightseeing, but it probably had something to do with the fact that it annoys Ryan to no end when I constantly whip out the phone whenever I spot something new! ;)

As for the rest of the day, it was probably spent braaing and playing XBOX games – you know as adult brothers tend to do.

Related Link: Gordon’s Bay

Visiting the Steenbras Water Treatment Plant Lookout Point (2016-10-29) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 08 FEB 2017

I’ve previously mentioned how I took the girls up to the Steenbras Water Treatment Plant lookout point above Gordon’s Bay last year, a trip that involves a rather perilous walk along a ridge which I allowed the girls to do by themselves. This of course mortified Chantelle, meaning that we needed to take her there so that she could experience this pretty cool viewpoint for herself.

So one early evening in October we did exactly that.

The viewpoint is situated on the doorstep of the Steenbras Dam Water Treatment Plant, which is itself obviously closed to the public. From this point high up in the Hottentots-Holland mountains you get a great view of False Bay, and if you venture along the aforementioned narrow little ridge along the plant’s fence, you get rewarded with spectacular views of Gordon’s Bay and its sister town, Strand.

This time around it was a lot clearer in terms of sky, meaning that we got treated to some great views of the area, not to mention the chance to snap some photos of the girls in the warm golden light as the sun started going down.

I’m pretty pleased that we managed to convince Chantelle to join us on this little sightseeing adventure, though I’m not so sure that she is any more convinced that letting the girls do the ridge walk by themselves is a good idea!

Also, I’m not much of a photographer, and nor could my phone couldn’t really cope with all that extra light, but I did manage to squeeze out at least one or two half decent pictures from the outing…

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Here’s a map in case you also want to take in the view:

Related Link: Steenbras Dam

Watching Gordon’s Bay from the Steenbras Lookout Point (2016-08-27) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 15 SEP 2016

I’ve mentioned Steenbras Dam on these pages before, formerly the main reservoir for Cape Town and also current source for the Steenbras Power Station (a pumped storage system).

I know that it used to be open to the public back in the day, making for a fantastic fishing and picnic spot for the local Helderberg residents, but has sadly for security reasons and due to vandalism and neglect, it has been closed to public access for a couple of years now.

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Thankfully though, the Steenbras Lookout Point has remained open to the public, situated literally in front of the gates of the Steenbras Water Treatment Plant (constructed in 1946).

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Once you reach the top of the steep, winding road leading up to the water treatment plant, you park in the parking area in front of the treatment facility’s gate and are immediately rewarded with a great view of False Bay.

However, for the full effect, you need to walk on the narrow path along the fence of the water treatment plant to reach an open lawn that then affords spectacular views of Gordon’s Bay, Strand, and in fact the whole Helderberg region!

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Amazingly, neither of my girls appeared worried by the seemingly treacherous path to reach the lookout point, though I must say for the most part I was sticking VERY closely behind!

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The reward was however worth it.

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Despite the slight haze on the day, the views were amazing, and the girls and I rather enjoyed watching the cars and boats seemingly at play down below. Mountain flowers were starting to bloom and of course, the girls were rather pleased by the fact that every now and then we could see clouds floating by underneath us!

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If you find yourself in the area, do yourself  a favour and take the quick trip to the top. It is definitely a nice and short, but rather rewarding, little tourist attraction here in Gordon’s Bay.

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Oh, and apparently this lookout point gives quite the view come night time – though I suspect I might do that without the little ones also clomping about!

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(Also, as you might have surmised, Chantelle nearly fainted when I eventually showed her the pictures of what the girls and I had gotten up to while she was away at work!)

Here’s a map in case you also want to take in the view:

Related Link: Steenbras Dam

Photo Gallery: Jacobsbaai Weekend – Abandoned Lookout Point (2012-02-12) My Life | Photo Gallery 12 FEB 2012

Xander’s mom Priscilla has just recently opened a guest house in Jacobsbaai (along the West Coast), called Artists’ Retreat. She invited Chantelle, Jessie and myself to come through for a weekend for some input from Chantelle, and as events would have it, the entire Montgomery Clan ended up also coming through for the weekend, making for a fantastic family weekend away, dipped in that famed West Coast hospitality!

Sunday, the last day of our weekend getaway, saw Robert, Xander, Chantelle, Jessie and myself go out and do some exploring, making the walk through to the abandoned lookout point across the bay.

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