100 Years of Wonder
It is described as “one of the world’s most scenic drives” … beautiful Chapman’s Peak Drive between Hout Bay and Noordhoek close to Cape Town.
Where did the name came from?
Chapman’s Peak Drive (also known as Chappies) was named after John Chapman, the first mate of an English ship (the Consent), which rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 1607. When the ship was anchored, the captain sent John Chapman to shore in search of provisions. Upon his successful return, the skipper named the bay Chapman’s Chaunce. However, this bay later become known as Hout Bay.
Hout Bay beach:
But, before we get to Chapman’s Peak Drive, let’s take a walk on the beach of Hout Bay – from where one can see the majestic Chapman’s Peak Drive.
While walking on the beach at Hout Bay, Chapman’s Peak Drive can clearly be seen running along the western side of the Cape Peninsula.
Chapman’s Peak Drive:
Hundreds of years after John Chapman saw Chapman’s Peak for the first time, work began in 1915 to cut a road along a series of ridges to connect Hout Bay and Noordhoek. It was officially opened on the 6th of May 1922 and then called Chapman’s Peak Drive.
Chapman’s Peak Drive is 9km (5.6 miles) and has 114 curves. On the one side you have a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean and on the other the Western Mountains of the Cape Peninsula.
Chapman’s Peak Drive is a toll road (for travelling between the towns of Hout Bay and Noordhoek), however part of the drive is for free. It is valid for the use of the designated picnic areas, viewing spots and mountain trails (before the Day Pass Control Point).
In 1962 the road was widened and in 1977 a portion of the road was washed away resulting in a bridge to replace the damaged section.
However, between 1998 and 2000, four deaths and several serious injuries occurred from rock fall incidents. The road was then closed to the public in order for suitable rock fall protection measures to be implemented.
Half tunneling, rock shelters and catch fences were brought into place to protect motorists from falling rocks. In 2003, Chapman’s Peak was re-opened to the public and heralded as a great success, enabling tourists and locals to once again experience the beauty of this drive.
Chapman’s Peak is certainly one of the most picturesque drives we have ever experienced. Should you visit Cape Town, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy this scenic drive!