Cape Point lies about 2.3 kilometres (1.4 mi) east and a little north of the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of Cape Town's Cape Peninsula. Although these two rocky and beautiful capes are very well-known, neither cape is actually the southernmost point in Africa. (The southern most point in Africa is Cape Agulhas, approximately 150 kilometres (90 mi) to the south-east.)
The peak above Cape Point is a little higher than that above the Cape of Good Hope. The rugged sandstone (Table Mountain sandstone) ridge that rises from Cape Point at sea level develops into two peaks. There is a major peak that dominates the skyline locally but there is also a smaller peak about 100 m further south. The higher peak has the old lighthouse on the top. The Flying Dutchman Funicular runs from a car park to the north up to slightly below the level of the old lighthouse and a short flight of steps leads to a viewing platform at the base of the lighthouse. From the end of the railway a second path leads to the lower peak.
The new lighthouse is at a lower elevation (closer to sea level), for two reasons: the old lighthouse could be seen 'too early' by ships rounding the point towards the east, causing them to approach too closely. Secondly, foggy conditions often prevail at the higher levels, making the older lighthouse invisible to shipping.