A unique feature of the greater Cape Town Metropolis is that it includes large pristine natural areas under formal conservation. Table Mountain, in the heart of Cape Town, is a good example. Other areas included in the Table Mountain National Park, proclaimed in 1998, are the Twelve Apostle Mountain Range, the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Boulders Beach - home to a large African Penguin colony.
The Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) encompasses the incredibly scenic Peninsula mountain chain which stretches from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south - a distance of some 60 km. The TMNP incorporates small marine reserves along the Cape Peninsula coastline. The Cape Peninsula topography and Mediterranean-type climate support a wide array of habitats, which in turn support a rich variety of plants and animal life.
The popular full day Cape Peninsula Tour, that is normally part of a visit to Cape Town, covers much of the Table Mountain National Park. It usually includes visits to Hout Bay, Chapman’s Peak Drive, the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, the Boulders Penguin Colony and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens - a unique experience not to be missed.
Cape Town is situated on the Cape Peninsula. In 1580 Sir Francis Drake described the Cape Peninsula as "The most stately thing and the fairest Cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth". A visit to Cape Town should always include a day tour of the Cape Peninsula.
The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is the southern section of the Cape Peninsula, and includes three promontories at its southern most point: Cape Point, Cape Maclear and the Cape of Good Hope. The Reserve encompasses 7 750 hectares of rich and varied flora and fauna.
A colony of approx. 3000 African Penguins reside just outside Simon's Town at Boulders Beach. Even though it is a residential area the thriving colony was born when two wild breeding pairs started breeding there in 1982, Boulders Penguin Colony is one of the popular stops for tourists on the Cape Peninsula Tour.
Chapman's Peak Drive is a particularly scenic drive that connects Hout Bay and Noordhoek on the Cape Peninsula near Cape Town. It features a couple of lookout points with spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean. The drive forms part of a typical full-day Cape Peninsula excursion.