Cape Town

Aug 5, 2011   //   by Sam Wingate   //   Safaris  //  Comments Off on Cape Town

Cape Town is another hugely popular destination located on a peninsula in the extreme southwestern corner of South Africa where two oceans meet, the Indian and the Atlantic. It is rated as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, especially in summer when the air is clear and free of cloud with Table Mountain standing proud over the city.  In the rainy winter, it’s Mediterranean climate often causes cloud to settle over the mountain like a tablecloth, adding a slightly different mood and character.
Cape Town’s peninsula stretches from Table Mountain to Cape Point with oceans on either side, providing the stunningly scenic landscapes that never fail to delight a constant stream of visitors.
Cape Town has more of a cosmopolitan atmosphere than the rest of South Africa, due in part to its non-African look and feel, its international popularity and to the variety of different people of mixed races, cultures and influences whose ancestors built this city over the last 400 years.
Apart from its unique scenic value and special beaches, there is so much to see and do in Cape Town.
Take the revolving Cableway to the top of Table Mountain for magnificent views over the city 1,000 metres below, Table Bay, Robben Island and the Atlantic Ocean.
Signal Hill and Lion’s Head separate the Cape Town City Bowl from the very popular Camps Bay and Clifton Beach. Take a drive at sunset to Signal Hill or hike up Lion’s Head for fantastic land and sea views.
A day tour of the Peninsula takes you from Cape Town City Bowl through the lively coastal suburbs of Greenpoint and Sea Point to Clifton Beach, Bantry Bay and Camps Bay while hugging the Atlantic Coast. Then up, over, around and down to Hout Bay where you can visit the harbour, do a Boat Cruise to Seal Island, browse the markets or relax and enjoy the great atmosphere and views in one of the many indoor or outdoor restaurants. Continue your journey along the awesome Chapmans Peak Drive where whales can be seen between May and November. Then through Noordhoek Village and the quaint coastal hamlets of Kommetjie and Scarborough before reaching Cape Point Nature Reserve. Meander slowly towards Cape Point through pristine fields of fynbos where baboon, antelope and zebra roam. Walk up to the lookout point at the very tip of the peninsula where the oceans meet for more unforgettable views. Then drive down to the rocky coastline to amble on the beach amidst the roar of the surf before leaving this beautiful nature reserve. You will pass Smitswinkel Bay where access to private houses far below is only on foot and on to Boulders Beach Penguin Colony to see the comical waddling birds in their black and white outfits that attract volumes of spectators fascinated by their behaviour. Then through Simonstown, home to the South African Navy, and further to Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay and Muizenberg on the shores of False Bay before taking the M3 through Cape Town’s eastern suburbs to complete your round trip and reach the city.
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is located at the foot of Cape Town City Bowl and next door to the city harbour. It is a very popular area with many shops, restaurants, bars and a variety of entertainment. Take a boat cruise from here along the coast to Hout Bay for stunning views of Cape Town and the Twelve Apostles.Trips to Robben Island can also be booked here.
Robben Island is located in Table Bay, 12 kms off the coast of Cape Town. It was used as a leper colony from the 17th century and later in the 20th century became a jail for political prisoners under apartheid. Here Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in jail. Robben Island was declared a World Heritage Site as it symbolizes freedom, democracy and the triumph of the human spirit over oppression. This popular excursion will shed some light on Cape Town’s history, the struggle against apartheid and the life of Nelson Mandela.
Cape Town has a very interesting history and it is definitely worth doing a guided City Tour to learn about the people that created this fascinating city, the architecture, museums, the old fort, churches, gardens and city highlights.
A trip to Cape Town is never complete without a day spent in the Winelands of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. There are hundreds of wine farms that offer wine tasting and cellar tours. Many farms have very good restaurants or may offer picnic lunches to round off a great experience in superbly scenic areas. Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are both very beautiful historic towns with classic examples of Cape Dutch architecture and a relaxing atmosphere, set under huge old oak trees and the Hottentots Holland Mountains.
The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are located near the University of Cape Town below the eastern part of Table Mountain and provide a cool refuge from the harsh sun in a variety of wonderful areas. It is a sanctuary for the abundance of special plants that make up the Fynbos Plant Kingdom, the smallest and most diverse plant kingdom in the world. It is a most relaxing experience to meander along the many paths and end off with tea and scones at the restaurant.
There are loads of activities in Cape Town including  whale watching between May and November, kayaking, canoeing, surfing, swimming, windsurfing, kite surfing, sailing, diving, hiking, climbing, abseiling, mountain biking and cycling.
Shopping and dining caters for a diverse palate of tastes. Cape Town has a good night life with Long Street being a particularly popular area and geared for entertainment including music, dancing, dining and bars.
A trip to South Africa is hardly complete without a visit to Cape Town.

 

 


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