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Definition: Cape of Good Hope from The Seafaring Dictionary: Terms, Idioms and Legends of the Past and Present

A rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of South Africa. Although it is about 150 kilometers (90 miles) from the southernmost point of Africa (Cape Aguhlas), it is the place where a West-to-East circumnavigation becomes more eastward than southward. Thus, rounding the cape in 1488 was a psychologically important milestone in the Portuguese effort to establish a trade route to the Orient.


Summary Article: Cape of Good Hope
from The Encyclopedia of Tourism and Recreation in Marine Environments

The Cape of Good Hope is a promontory located near Cape Town, South Africa. There are three promontories at the end of the Cape Peninsula: Cape Point, Cape Maclear and the Cape of Good Hope. The latter is believed by many authors to be the most famous promontory in the world.

The cold Benguela current on the west coast and the warm Agulhas current merge off the Cape of Good Hope. The Cape was first rounded by the Portuguese navigator, Bartolomeu Dias in 1488, who named it the ‘Cape of Storms’. It was later renamed by John II of Portugal as the Cape of Good Hope because of the opening of a route to the east. A Dutch merchant, Jan van Riebeeck, established a refreshment station for the Dutch East India Company near the Cape in 1652, which became Cape Town.

The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is an area containing unique flora and fauna such as baboon, eland, bontebok, rhebok, grysbok and birdlife. It has magnificent scenic walking trails, which locals and tourists enjoy using.

There are about 240 species of birds in the nature reserve (seabirds). For example, cormorants nest on the cliffs whilst oyster-catchers, plovers and sandpipers feed at the water’s edge (shorebird). Sugarbirds and sunbirds feed along the roadsides. Albatross glide past when onshore winds bring them close to land.

Related internet sources

Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, South Africa: http://www.melaniff.com/features/travels/cape_of_good_hope.htm

Cape of Good Hope Map: http://www.sunsetbeach.co.za/cape_point/cape_of_good_hope_map.htm

Michael Spisto
© CAB International 2008.

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