Cape of Good Hope

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Cape of Good Hope
Cape Of Good Hope2.jpg
View of the Cape of Good Hope (from Cape Point )
Geographical location
Cape of Good Hope (South Africa)
Cape of Good Hope
Coordinates 34 ° 21 ′ 29 ″  S , 18 ° 28 ′ 20 ″  E Coordinates: 34 ° 21 ′ 29 ″  S , 18 ° 28 ′ 20 ″  E
Waters 1 Atlantic
Geographical location near Cape Agulhas
Surfer on Neptune's Diary Beach, Cape of Good Hope
Shield at the Cape of Good Hope

The Cape of Good Hope ( Dutch Kaap de Goede Hoop , Afrikaans Kaap die Goeie Hoop , English Cape of Good Hope , Portuguese Cabo da Boa Esperança ) is a very striking cape near the southern tip of Africa , which used to be feared for its cliffs . Politically it belongs to the Western Cape Province of the Republic of South Africa . It is located in Table Mountain National Park .


The high and steep cliff with its rocky beach lies like Cape Point at the southern end of the Cape Peninsula , about 44 km south of the city center of the metropolis Cape Town named after it . It is the most south-westerly, not the most southerly point of Africa (this is Cape Agulhas , around 150 km away ), and thus the cape at which the African coast begins to pivot to the east and indicates the passage into the Indian Ocean .

Immediately on the coast there is a rocky landscape that extends underwater to the sea as far as the eye can see. Most of the rocks are only 50 cm to 3 m below the surface of the water and their tips sometimes protrude more, sometimes not at all, from the water at low tide . In addition to the rocks themselves, there is another danger from the strong winds at the cape, which, even if a sailing ship actually circumnavigates this place far enough, push it back towards the coast so that it can then hit the rocks. This has already been fatal to at least 23 ships that are lying there as wrecks on the seabed.

The geographical coordinates displayed on a wide wooden panel close to the water are: 34 ° 21 ′ 25 ″  S , 18 ° 28 ′ 26 ″  E

The lighthouse is at 34 ° 21 '14 "  S , 18 ° 29' 25"  O .

Evaluations of satellite data ( satellite geodesy - TerraSAR-X was started in June 2007) have shown that the probability of monster waves is greater at the Cape than elsewhere. The reason is the interaction of strong winds and an opposing (warm) water current, the Agulhas Current .

Nautical history

In April 1488, the Portuguese navigator and explorer Bartolomeu Diaz first sighted the cape by a European when he had already circled the southern tip of Africa (far from the coast) and was on his way back north. Diaz set out on a top secret voyage of discovery with two caravels and a supply ship in the summer of 1487 (probably at the end of August); Due to the prescribed secrecy of the voyage of discovery, there are no written records. It is therefore not clear whether Diaz measured the Storm Cape or the actual South Cape - Cape Agulhas ( Cape of Needles) - with his astrolabe . On the further way back he found his abandoned supply ship in the southern Walvis Bay , on which only four men were still alive. Therefore, the fleet did not return to Lisbon until the end of December 1488.

With the opening of the Suez Canal in November 1869, the route around the southern tip of Africa suddenly lost its importance (see also distance savings ). With the fuel price being low, it was still sometimes profitable to take the detour around the southern tip of Africa to save the high passage fees through the Suez Canal, around the end of the 2000s.

Near the cape, the Cape Point Lighthouse has served for sea safety since 1860 .


Bartolomeo Diaz called the rock tongue protruding over 20 kilometers into the sea Cabo das Tormentas (Cape of Storms) . The Portuguese King John II is said to have given it the new name because he rightly hoped that the sea ​​route to India would now be discovered. After examining the few remaining documents, historians today disagree on whether Diaz did not use the name Cabo da Boa Esperança (Cape of Good Hope). Another reason for the name may lie in the sharp change in the direction of the coast, which led to the - ultimately correct - assumption that the southern end of the continent was no longer far away. In addition, the cold Benguela stream and the warm Agulhas stream meet here . The seafarers sailing south in the Atlantic could see a rising water temperature. This showed them that this water came from warmer regions and that the southern tip of Africa should not be far away. However, it is not possible to clearly clarify where the name comes from.

Up until the end of the 19th century, the cape was primarily referred to in German as the “ promontory of good hope”; between 1870 and 1880, “Cape of good hope” was the most widely used term. Between 1910 and 1920, the capitalization of "Good Hope" gained the upper hand.

Web links

Commons : Cape of Good Hope  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Conquering the Cape , The Independent, accessed November 7, 2008
  2.  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically saved as marked defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  3. February 23, 2009: Falling oil price: Hapag Lloyd circumnavigates the Suez Canal
  4. Google Books Ngram Viewer Cape of Good Hope, Cape of Good Hope, Promontory of Good Hope, Promontory of Good Hope  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as broken. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /