Cape Town & Attractions
At the southern extremity of the African continent, a mountainous peninsula juts into the Atlantic Ocean. Its southern tip is Cape Point and the fabled Cape of Good Hope, at its northern limit stands the Table Mountain masif, a spectacular backdrop to Cape Town.
Renowned as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Cape Town reflects a mix of modern-day living and old-world charm. The city is packed with attractions, vibrant craft & flower markets, quaint cobblestone streets, modern shopping malls, specialist boutiques and antique shops, art galleries and restaurants offering fine dining & wonderful South African wines.
CAPE TOWN ATTRACTIONS
Cape Town’s many clean, natural beaches are considered among the most beautiful in the world, spectacularly situated between sea and mountain, from False Bay to the Atlantic Coast. Sun-worshippers, nature lovers and watersports enthusiasts alike are spoilt for choice! Just 10 minutes from the city centre, Clifton and Camps Bay are sheltered from the southeaster wind, and are perfect for sunbathing, frisbee throwing, swimming and sundowners. Surfing spots abound, as well as excellent spots for scubadiving, boardsailing and fishing. For those afraid to brave the invigorating sea temperatures of the Atlantic coast, a scenic drive to False Bay offers warmer waters at popular Muizenberg, Kalk Bay or Simonstown. For ‘naturalists’ wanting to get a little closer to the elements, Sandy Bay, a nature reserve, is also an unofficial nudist beach! With the exception of Boulders Beach in False Bay, entrance to all Cape Town’s lovely beaches is free. All our city asks is that visitors respect the unspoilt natural environment by taking their litter home with them and refraining from making fires.
This World Heritage Site is Cape Town’s most unique identifying landmark. Its summit soars 1 086m above sea level and can be reached by means of a revolving cable car. Visitors can marvel at the awe-inspiring 360° view of Cape Town while enjoying a meal or refreshing drink at the restaurant, or wandering the rocky trails lined with beautiful fynbos. The mountain is, in fact, covered with a wide variety of wild flowers and is the natural home of the famous silver tree.
A national monument, Robben Island is one of the most significant historical sites in South Africa. First used by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a refreshment station, it later became an asylum and leper colony. The Island was then controlled by the Army and Navy, after which it fell into the hands of the Department of Correctional Services in 1960. It gained notoreity as a gaol for those considered dangerous to the previous government, including its most famous prisoner, Nelson Mandela, for whom the island was ‘home’ for over two decades.A limited number of tourists can now visit Robben Island every day, with guided tours of the prison and a museum as well as walking and cycling tours for a closer look at the wildlife. Visitors arrive by means of catamarans or historic vessels which depart from the V&A Waterfront. Phone (021) 419 1300.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
A garden world-famous for its indigenous plants (over 5000 species) and for its magnificent setting on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Visitors can stroll the vast grounds or admire the view whilst picnicking on the rolling lawns of Kirstenbosch. There is a delightful restaurant renowned for its Sunday breakfasts and teas, as well as a shop where one can buy postcards and plants.Guides for interested parties can be arranged, while regular guided walks take place every Tuesday and Saturday. Phone (021) 762 1166.
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
Situated at the Victoria and Alfred basins in Table Bay Harbour, the Waterfront is one of South Africa’s leading tourist destinations and a favourite with local residents who work, play, shop – and, soon, will also be able to live – there! Original buildings have been renovated and new ones built, all in Victorian style, contributing to the timeless charm and appeal of this complex in the midst of a working harbour. Visitors can enjoy world-class shops, a variety of fascinating museums, an excellent selection of restaurants, pubs and coffee shops, craft markets, historical walking tours, cinemas (including an Imax!) and theatres, the Telkom Exploratorium, outdoor entertainment, helicopter flips and much more. The Waterfront is home to some of the Cape’s most renowned hotels, and is a superb venue for conferences. One can also visit South Africa’s largest aquarium, the Two Oceans Aquarium, which represents some 300 aquatic species. An information centre, good security and ample parking add to the Waterfront’s popularity and to visitors’ pleasure!
Built of Table Mountain granite as a tribute to the memory of Cecil John Rhodes, Prime Minister of the Cape from 1890-1896, Rhodes Memorial nestles in the mountainside off Rhodes Drive, Rondebosch. There are free running fallow-deer on the mountain slopes and, to the east, a magnificent panoramic view of the Cape Flats, False Bay and the Drankenstein Mountains. At the back of the monumentis a delightful thatch and stone tearoom. Phone (021) 689 9151.
Hout Bay Harbour
A traditional, working harbour with rustic fishing boats and the constant activity of fishermen plying their trade. Hout Bay Harbour boasts the world-famous Mariners’ Wharf, comprising a harbourfront emporium of live lobster and fish markets, seafood bistros and restaurants, shell, souvenir, art and nautical-style shops, and old wine and liquor store, and a pearl-in-an-oyster outlet. Visitors can enjoy round-the-bay boat trips, watch the antics of the cape fur seals in the summer months and see the rare black cormorant and the common black-backed gull at nearby Duiker Island.
Reasons to visit Cape Point
The most southwesterly point of Africa – where one can breathe the freshest air in the world – straight from the Antarctic. Here the cold Benguela current on the West coast and the warm Agulhus current on the East coast merge. It has one of the highest sea cliffs in the world – 249 m above sea level. The circumnavigation of the Cape of Good Hope led to the establishment of a sea route to the East and subsequent trade and has 26 recorded shipwrecks. It is a bird watcher’s paradise – at least 250 species. Numerous scenic walks and trails and excellent angling and diving spots. Whale and dolphin watching from May to November. The Two Oceans Restaurant offers world class cuisine and spectacular vistas over False Bay.
There are many waterbased activities to take part in while visiting Cape Town from scuba diving, shark cage diving and deep sea fishing to surfing, kite-surfing and windsurfing. With its beautiful blue waters and sunny skies, Cape Town beckons and adventures are waiting to be enjoyed.The Western Cape Coast is one of only three places in the world where white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) can be viewed on a cage dive.