The Most Southwestern Point of Africa in Cape Town, South Africa

The world has many extremes in the form of highest points, lowest points, most southern, northern, etc. Some are of local significance, denoting superlative points in a city, state, or country, while others claim the titles for larger areas, like continents and hemispheres.

It’s a common misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southernmost point of Africa, but that’s actually located about 100 miles to the southeast, at Cape Agulhas. The marker found at the Cape of Good Hope is slightly more contrived: the most southwestern point of the African continent. 

While it feels like one of those made-up records, the location is correct, as this is the location furthest away from the center of the continent south of the westernmost point and west of the southernmost point. On this spot, a large sign can be found denoting the significance.

In the 1480s, the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias gave this spot the name Cabo das Tormentas (“Cape of Storms”). Years later, John II of Portugal renamed it Cabo da Boa Esperança (“Cape of Good Hope”), a more optimistic name for the sea route that many ships traveled to get between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

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