WATCH: A hike through Cape Point without visiting the lighthouse

One of the most beautiful sections of Table Mountain National Park, when people visit Cape Point they tend to make a beeline for the famous lighthouse and vernacular. 

But the park has more to offer - with keen eyes and nose, an easy hike through the reserve will open up a whole new world.

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pink flowers in bloom

(Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

And one person who seems to know a lot about the indigenous fynbos that covers Cape Point's landscapes is mountain guide Justin Hawthorne. 

The Capetonian has a deep love for the natural world, and after going on one of his recent hikes I have learned an intimate appreciation for the floral kingdom that surrounds our beautiful city.

Starting in the old Lime Kiln parking lot, we set off on an upward, craggy journey to the top of Kanonkop, and on the way Justin showed us amateur hikers just how valuable the smallest flower or plant is to the wider ecosystem. 

And boy do they smell - not in a bad way though. Scents ranged from liquorice to honey to wild fynbos fragrances, all from the most unsuspecting sources. 

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bush with silver baubels

In summer this silvery bush will come alive with flowery beauty. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

There's also wildlife in the veld - although it's not like the Big Five. Sugarbirds flit from one bush to the next, the little workers of the veld, as Justin called them. Ants are also vital to the regeneration cycle of the fynbos, especially the protea. They ensure that seeds make their way underground, protected from the elements, where they wait for the right conditions to germinate once again.

footprint of a klipspringer

The fresh tracks of a startled klipspringer. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

Right at the top of Kanonkop, where the wind was chilly but not like a Cape Doctor, we gazed at the coastlines of False Bay and the famous lighthouse far in the distance. 

At only 6 kilometres done over three hours, Kanonkop is the perfect hike for those who don't want to use up every ounce of their energy just to immerse themselves in the wild. 

READ: Where to stop and smell the fynbos this Winter

carnivorous sundew plant

These are carnivorous sundews - their sticky nectar traps unsuspecting insects that walk across them. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

For those who want to know more about the fynbos you're traversing through, you can contact Justin through his blog to find out about his tours.

So the next time you visit Cape Point, remember to strap on your hiking boots to explore a natural wonderland. 

WATCH: From sand dunes to fynbos, veld and vlei: The rapidly changing landscape of De Hoop

pink flower

(Photo: Gabi Zietsman

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