Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chapman's Peak Drive

Chapman's Peak Drive as seen from Noordhoek Beach
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Spending 9 days in the Cape during the Summer holidays I had the  opportunity to drive along Champan's Peak Drive on two occasions and just realised again why it is seen as one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world.  Chapman's Peak Drive winds its was along the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula between Noordhoek (where we stayed) and Hout Bay.  The drive is 9km long with 114 curves and hugs the 593m high Chapman's Peak.  What makes the drive so scenic is the fact that while the road twists and curves you always have cliffs towering up on the one side with a sheer drop down to the sea on the other along with magnificent coastal views all the way.

Chapman's Peak Drive seen from one of the view points along the way
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In 1607 the skipper of the British ship Contest found his vessel becalmed in what is now Hout Bay and sent his pilot, John Chapman, to row ashore in the hope of finding provisions.  The pilot later recorded the bay as Chapman's Chaunce (chance) and the name stuck to the area even though the bay was later called Hout Bay.  Construction on Chapman's Peak Drive (then known as The Hout Bay - NoordeHoek Road) started in 1915 with the use of convict labour with the first portion up to the main lookout spot being opened in 1919.  The whole road was finally opened in 1922 and since then millions of motorists, cyclists, bikers, hikers, runners and specially tourists (both local and international) have enjoyed the road with it magnificent views.

The view of Noordhoek Beach from Chapman's Peak Drive with some of the retaining structures on the left
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In June 2008 after an accident in which a boulder fell on a car and killed a person, the road was closed for major upgrades and repairs.   During the upgrades various catching nets and retaining structures were erected to minimise rock falls on the road as much as possible.  The construction work took over a year and the road was eventually reopened in October 2009.

5 comments:

  1. True amazing photos are.
    Love the views.
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  2. I loved that road and drove it twice in 2010. Lots of bicycles on that narrow tarmac. I've been working on a post about it to be published soon, I hope.

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  3. Fantastic photos of one of the greatest drives in the world!

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  4. Hi,
    Such a perfect beautiful picture................................

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