The End of the World, Well, Africa Any Way

Trip Start Jul 25, 2006
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of South Africa  ,
Saturday, October 27, 2007

Travellers can sometimes get a bit obsessed with the "est" syndrome. It is not a new phenomenon. Throughout history there are countless examples of this. Columbus wanted the short-"est" route to India and bumped into North America instead (not that he realized it at the time). Hillary was obsessed with the high -"est" and along with Tenzing Norgay, they were the first men to summit Mount Everest, highest peak in the world (ok, for the annoying purists, the Hawaian island of Mauna Kea is higher, but only its top is above water, and it's unlikely anyone will start at the bottom of that one and start climbing anytime soon). Shackleton and countless others were obsessed with the first to the north-"est" point on earth, te pole. Many died in the race to claim the title.

While not trying to match accolades, there is a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with being at the "est" of a country or continent. Even if all you had to do to get there was bum a ride from an English girl, and a Czech brother and sister in their rental car.

The Cape of Good Hope (also known by the less optimistic name - Cape of Storms) lies on the end of the Cape Point Peninsula starching south of Cape Town. Its place in history, in the quest to reach India, conquer and colonize Africa, and the world's economic fortunes has been clearly defined for ages. Many times, it was also, though erroneously, labled as the southern most point of Africa.

It is not.

That honour goes to Cape Alghus. A few ours drive west of the Cape of Good Hope, it quietly holds the titles of the southern-"est" point of Africa. While lacking the glamour, dramatic scenery, and storied place in history as it South-Western most cape sibling, it has a charm and understated presence all it's own. Perhaps this is part of it's charm. There are none of the tourist trappings of Cape Point. A simple stone platfrm and plaque marks the place where the Indian and the Atlantic Oceans meet.

As we arrived, the sun was just beginning to set. We shared this sunset at the bottom of the world (well, Africa anyway) with only two other people, a couple staring out to sea. After a year and half it was official; I could go no further south. Everything else was up. I dipped my foot in the ocean and walked back to the car.

There were other "ests" waiting for me. Time to move on.
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