The natural areas of the park have spawned many myths, legends and religious beliefs: the African legend of Umlindi Wemingizimu (Watcher of the South); the Portuguese myth of Adamastor, the Dutch stories of Van Hunks and the Flying Dutchman and the religious beliefs of the Muslim people.
According to African legend Qamata created the world. However, Nganyamba - a mighty old dragon who sleeps under the sea - tried to prevent Qamata from creating dry land. To help him against Nganyamba, Djobela, the one-eyed earth goddess, cast a spell and created four giants, one each to guard the north, south, east and west. Many battles raged and eventually the giants were defeated. Before dying they asked Djobela to turn them into mountains so they could continue their work. The Watcher of the South - Umlindi Wemingizimu - became Table Mountain.
The story of the mythical monster Adamastor, the grisly spirit of the Cape of Storms, is told by the Portuguese poet Camoens in the 1500s. Camoens tells it like this:
As Vasco da Gama and his fleet approached the Cape a dark, ominous cloud appeared overhead taking the shape of a monstrous human figure who reproached the voyagers for venturing into the seas and prophesied that disaster would befall anyone who dared round the Cape of Storms.
The monster tells the frightened mariners that he is Adamastor who, in classical myth, sought to overthrow the gods. However, Adamastor was punished by the gods who metamorphosed the monster into a mountain and set it at Cape Point to guard over the southern seas.
The Ghost of The Flying Dutchman
In 1641 Captain Hendrik van der Decken was sailing his ship around the Cape on his way back to Holland. He was caught in a storm and his ship was wrecked. However, before dying he vowed that he would sail until he met the ends of the earth. Legend has it that his ship sails forever around the Cape. There are numerous tales of sailors who claim to have sighted the Flying Dutchman, although it is said that if you go too near your own ship will sink.
As the story goes Jan van Hunks, a pirate in the early 18th century, retired from his eventful life at sea to live on the slopes of Devil’s Peak. He spent his days sitting on the mountain smoking weed on his pipe.
One day a stranger approached and asked to borrow some spliff. After a bit of bragging, a smoking contest ensued which lasted for days.
Van Hunks finally defeated the stoned stranger - who unfortunately turned out to be the devil - and they both vanished in a puff of cannabis smoke. Legend has it that the cloud of "tobacco" smoke they left became the "table-cloth" - the famous white cloud that spills over Table Mountain when the South-Easter blows in summer.