Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. It's character results from the cultural melting pot of Indonesian, French, Dutch, British & German settlers, the local Khoisan (Bushman & Hottentot) tribes and the Bantu tribes from the north. It's a place where old and new harmoniously converge - in history, architecture, cultural pursuits and the essence of its people.
Warmed by the African sun, Cape Town is dominated by a towering, table-shaped mountain, set on a peninsula of soaring, rocky heights and lush valleys, where two oceans converge - the Indian and Atlantic. Immense natural beauty, and the fast pace and bright lights of a great urban centre meld effortlessly here. Firmly positioned on the international map, Cape Town offers a myriad things to do and places to see, whatever your tastes, inclinations or budget.
Cape Town's most famous landmark - a quick spin by revolving cable car to the 1 086m summit will give the visitor a grand view of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and of course the equally famous South African 'Alcatraz', Robben Island.
The V&A Waterfront
The most visited attraction in Cape Town is the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront with its assortment of shopping, eating, entertainment and sightseeing facilities, all set within a working harbour.
The V&A Waterfront is also the gateway to Robben Island, a former prison (now national monument) where a visit is an emotional journey echoing with the sorrows of stalwarts of 'the struggle' against apartheid. The island was `home' to many of South Africa's freedom fighters including Nelson Mandela.
The oldest surviving building in South Africa, and well preserved too, is the Castle of Good Hope, the pentagonal fortress built by personnel of the Dutch East India Company back in the 1660s-70s. Today it houses the regional headquarters of the South African Defence Force in the Western Cape, and a military museum.
A stop at Cape Point gives the visitor the opportunity to boast of having been at the most southern point of the Cape Peninsula. Some 26 shipwrecks have been recorded at Cape Point, some of them presenting good diving spots. A funicular takes visitors on scenic trips to an old lighthouse and the spot is a bird watcher's paradise.
Most Fabulous Beaches in the World
There's a beach to suit every mood in Cape Town:
- Clifton for those who want to see and be seen
- Sandy Bay for the nudists
- Muizenberg with its colourful bathing boxes for a good swim in warm water
- Kommetjie for watersports
- Fishhoek is a quaint seaside village
- Hout Bay has a colourful fishing harbour and craft market
- Kalk Bay attracts antique hunter
- Boulder's Beach at Simon's Town is home to a colony of Jackass penguins.
Cape Town has many markets and impressive shopping centres and malls. One of the most talked about shopping venues is the impressive 400-outlet Canal Walk Century City. It also boasts a 20-theatre cinema complex and for adrenaline-pumping entertainment, there's Ratanga Junction, a 30-attraction theme park with and the glitzy Grand West Casino & Entertainment World.
Great Gardens of the World
A day in Cape Town might end with a classical concert at sundown in one of the world's great botanical gardens - Kirstenbosch, a repository for many rare fynbos species and a wealth of indigenous plants, trees and flowers.
Cape Town city centre is known to many as the party capital of Africa, down just a few streets in the Mother City there are hundreds of bars, restaurants and clubs just waiting to be explored through to the wee hours of the morning. Cape Town is also known as a pink city, offering a warm welcome to the gay and lesbian community.