Perched between the ocean and the mountain, with a national park as its heart, there is nowhere like Cape Town. The “Mother City” is the oldest city in South Africa and has a cultural heritage spanning more than 300 years.
Visitors can expect beautiful Cape Dutch homesteads, traditional dancers with painted faces performing in the streets, the smell of spicy Malay cooking and the taste of a well-made wine when delving into this exciting city.
It has the top five national attractions in South Africa, all of which should appear on every visitor’s itinerary all year round. These include:
The V&A Waterfront is South Africa’s most-visited destination, attracting roughly 24 million visitors a year. There are five shopping districts where you’ll find everything from local designs to international brands, but there’s more to this destination than shopping. There are many coffee shops, restaurants, and bars, most with spectacular harbour views. waterfront.co.za
One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Table Mountain is Cape Town’s centrepiece. If you are relatively fit and are feeling energetic, there are some amazing hikes to try. For those pressed for time, the Aerial Cableway offers a quick and convenient ascent. Cable cars depart from the cable station every 10 to 15 minutes and the journey up the mountain takes about five minutes. tablemountain.net
Robben Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has come to symbolize the oppression of the Apartheid government. It was here that Nelson Mandela, alongside many other political prisoners, spent 18 years of his 27 years in prison. Ferries depart for the island daily from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront, and the tours (including the ferry trips) usually last about three-and-a-half hours. robben-island.org.za
Situated on the slopes of Table Mountain, a mere 13km from the city centre, Kirstenbosch is regarded as one of the great botanical gardens of the world. The 528-hectare estate contains over 7,000 species of plants from southern Africa. Spend the day picnicking on the lawns, strolling through the Protea garden, or discovering interesting plant species in the Botanical Society Conservatory. sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch
The Cape Point Nature Reserve is all about natural splendour. You will be treated to some pretty spectacular views of the Atlantic and False Bay coastlines. While you are there, be sure to spend some time in the nature reserve where you are likely to encounter baboons, Cape Mountain Zebras, buck, and at least some of the 250 species of bird that call this reserve home. Don’t miss a ride up to the lighthouse on the Flying Dutchman Funicular for some truly spectacular panoramic views! capepoint.co.za
You can visit them on your own, join an organized tour or the Hop On-Hop Off Tour. Even if your stay in Cape Town is short, you should not miss this opportunity as it is very feasible during a short period of time.
Furthermore, if the wind is right, you could fly off Lion’s Head with a qualified tandem paraglider pilot, and land on the beach in time for sundowners. If that’s not your thing, there is a cultural variety of live music, art exhibitions, museums, plays and even opera, ballet and concerts available.
Beyond the city
The Western Cape is home to the world’s longest wine route, found along Route 62, a scenic tourist route that runs from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, 850 kilometres up the eastern coast. If you don’t have time to complete the whole route, consider visiting the wine-growing areas of Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington, Franschhoek, Ceres, Worcester, Bonnievale and Robertson. The Garden Route, from Cape Town to Knysna, is gorgeous, passing through many a quirky town, complete with welcoming locals and fresh produce stalls. Stop in at Swellendam, a town where the jailer once doubled as the postmaster, to experience Cape Dutch architecture at its best.
THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE
The Cape of Good Hope is a popular excursion for visitors staying in Cape Town, South Africa. It is a beautiful spot, and is known as the point where the Indian and Atlantic Ocean meet. You might meet a few baboons that will boldly try to raid your car, adorable penguins playing in the ocean, monkeys and ostriches. Other Day excursions include:
Cape Town definitely has no shortage of amazing beaches, but Boulders Beach in False Bay offers something extra special – a colony of African Penguins in all their smartly dresses, waddling glory, right under your nose. In fact, it’s the only place in the world where you can get close to African Penguins.
Enclosed by ocean, mountains and wine farms, the former fishing village offers a country affair with some adventure thrown in. Snorkel with seals, and eat the freshest seafood, straight from the harbor. Have a look at some of the day tours available: tripadvisor.co.za/