- Review: The Commodore Hotel
- Photoblog: V&A Waterfront – A Tryst with the History
- Food Fiesta: Asoka Restaurant and Lounge
- Straight from the Cape of Good Hope Part-II: The Voet Pad Trail
- Straight from the Cape of Good Hope Part-I: The Cape Point Trail
The Cape Point Trail is not the only one that you get to enjoy at the Cape of Good Hope. In fact, the area has several walking trails that are a good experience for all ages. After descending the Cape Point Trail, it was time to explore the trail that leads to the ‘Cape of Good Hope’; also known as the Voet Pad Trail.
About the Voet Pad Trail
The Voet Pad Trail starts from the assembly area at the bottom of the Cape Point climb. A trail of about 3.5 km, Voet Pad trail is sure to put your stamina to test. A zig-zag route moving over the mountain top, the Voet Pad Trail is an iconic rendezvous with nature. With the hushing sounds of the Atlantic Ocean Waves to the left and miles of grasslands to the right, this trail is like walking into a magic land. The trail has been developed with wooden walkways on the tracks. At certain places, the wooden platforms extend into the valley for a thrilling infinity view point.
The Best is for the later!
The best treasures are kept for those who dare to walk the mile!
Despite the occasional unpredictable weathers in South Africa during these months, the weather was exceptionally clear for the day. Not all venture this side considering the long walk. At the start point, I saw a board that said 1 hr 45 mins one way. I don’t know what it meant for the rest, but for me, it said – I should take all the time to enjoy the view! Do not hurry!
As you move along the trail, the first half a kilometer walk is almost with one foot on the edge of the track. The hillock is near vertical almost to the bottom, where it slopes down a little. (To ease out the vertigo phobics). While I walked the track, I was wondering if there was a way to go down to the sea-shore, where the size of the waves only kept increasing.
As it turned out, after a walk of almost two kilometers, I finally found the way to connect with the Dias Beach. And what appeared spectacular from a distance came up with a warning sign here! And in my past interactions with the seas, especially, when I have come across such sign boards, I do take them seriously. The rip tides create a deeper coastline, steeply sloping inside the sea waters. Bottom-line – while the shore may seem alluring, you should not try to wet your feet here, even if you think you can beat Michael Phelps.
Back in India, I will surely take a chance to swim half a km inside the sea, if it is the Arabian sea coastline. I have done it several times in Goa and Alibaug beaches. But, if it is the ‘Bay of Bengal’, even signposts do not stay long enough to alert you. I remember having traveled to Tambaram coastline during my training years in 2006, just after the tsunami in Southern India in 2004. It was only that I noticed jelly fishes and star fishes on the shoreline that I realized being adventurous here was not a good idea. That’s one thing that keeps the East Coast seas in India cleaner when compared to the West.
I was now facing a huge grassland in front and turned around to realize that in enthusiasm, I had surpassed the other people on the trail. I have always been lucky (??) to brush past the rare wildlife (often with no physical barrier between us), whether it was the Himalayan Cats or Ibexes in Uttarakhand,or the rhinos and elephants in Kaziranga. Suddenly, this weird idea of another unanticipated encounter swept past me.
I was just 1.5 km short of the Cape of Good Hope and the trail was getting interesting. It was complete wilderness now. No one between me and nature. I could only hear my breath panting and the sea breeze. I was sure, I would end up to the Cape all alone. I guess not! Today, was yet another lucky day, I suppose. At a distance, I could see I entered someone’s private space. I maintained silence. I am usually not a fan of soap operas and news, but if someone asks me what I love to watch on TV, I would say – Nat Geo, Discovery or Travel XP. Today, it was like I was part of a live Nat Geo show. The two giant sized ostriches stood right in front of me, and their size grew bigger as I kept closing in on them. If they did not find me friendly, I was sure they ran fast enough to knock me down.
If that was not enough, to the right, another head popped out of nowhere. To the best of my self-argument, I could figure that it was an antelope, as I was not sure, which animal it was! There was no google in the wilderness to find out, and I was sure to find out once I went back to the civilization. I did and Viola!! It was indeed an antelope – The Eland Antelope! also known as the Common Eland. These are herbivores that venture huge grasslands such as the Savannahs and are also domesticated in certain areas.
While all this was happening, I realized that the ostriches still stood on the main track, blocking the way ahead. It was definitely a bad idea to shoo them away, as they had been polite enough to allow me to take their pictures. I kept closing in on them, to walk through them slowly, trying to pretend I am not going to hurt them. As they saw me coming closer, they just made way by stepping off the track and gently walked ahead towards the fields. So, I was back on the track again to move ahead.
At the Cape of Good Hope
The last few hundred meters of the Voet Pad Trail was going to be tougher, as it moved through thin rocky patches. Finally, the trail culminates with a steep vertical climb, about 50 feet again leading through the rocky tracks until you are facing the vast Atlantic Ocean in front. Down below, I could spot the vehicles lined up at the Cape Point Shores. It was one of those places you can sit down for hours and yet would not feel like going back.
It is the rule of life, that good things do not last long. The key here to understand is – how fully you live despite such small moments… 🙂