In 1998, the Table Mountain chain plus the entire of the Cape Peninsula was proclaimed a National Park for its extraordinary natural beauty, its unique flora and fauna and its special historical and cultural significance. The Table Mountain National Park now extends from Signal Hill in the north down to Cape Point and includes the mountain ranges of the area and the coastal stretches. The former Cape of Good Hope Reserve (later called Cape Peninsula National Park) in the south of the peninsula became part of the new National Park as well as Table Mountain and the Silvermine resort.
The greatest attraction of the Nature Reserve continues to be the southern part of Simon's Town down to the Cape of Good Hope. Here one can enjoy many secluded bays with beautiful beaches. And you can go on walks through the Fynbos landscape, particularly beautiful in spring when the wildflowers bloom, and many animals can be observed: many different species of antelope, reptiles, ostriches, zebras and numerous seabirds.
A unique feature of the TMNP is that it is primarily an open access Park with only three points where conservation fees are payable, Cape of Good Hope, Boulders and Silvermine, the rest of the Park is open access and free for all to enjoy.
Large troups of Chacma baboons (papio ursinus) feel at home here, espcially in the southern section of the park. It is the only protected population of this species in the country. Unfortunately, some visitors do feed them, although it is strictly forbidden. The social order in a troup is such that the higher ranking individuals may feed first and are even fed by the lower ones. If you feed a baboon, you'll be regarded as someone of lower rank. The baboon generalises and regards all humans as ranking below himself. He feels the humans owe him food and when it is denied, he could become aggressive, steel food and occassionally attack. Eventually such a baboon has to be killed by the rangers.
Keep the car windows closed when baboons approach your car. Don't unpack food and don't leave your car open. Once a baboon has taken something, don't try to retrieve it. An attack can be terribly dangerous!
Top right: Beach at the Atlantic on the Cape Peninsula. Below: In the Good Hope part of the National Park. Left: Chacma Baboons can become a nuisance, when they were fed. Top left: King Protea with Sunbird.