Cape Town has a fascinating history that spans back to the very beginning of time. Its story begins with the birth of Table Mountain eight hundred million years ago and the discovery of human footprints dating back 117000 years.
Culture and Heritage
Present day Cape Town is a melting pot of cultures. A place where all, regardless of race, creed or isms, have a place. Here minstrels clad in shiny satin suits dance their days away at Tweede Nuwe Jaar, locals in Khayelitsha treat visitors to glimpses of their daily lives in an informal settlement and the locals cook up savoury storms in Bo Kaap’s rainbow bright homes.
If ever there was a city spilling over with attractions then it has got to be Cape Town.
• Seriously don’t miss out on a cable car ride or hike up Table Mountain. It’s the official New 7th Wonder of Nature and its views from the top have been described as one of the most epic views in Africa.
• Tour Robben Island. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, it was used to isolate and crush the morale of freedom fighters like Nelson Mandela during the apartheid years. Island and prison tours are led by previous inmates incarcerated during the apartheid regime.
• Pack your picnic basket and head for Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Proclaimed as one of the world’s great botanical gardens, it is the first botanic garden in the world to be included within a natural World Heritage Site. Kirstenbosch promotes, conserves and displays the extraordinarily rich and diverse flora of Southern Africa.
• V&A Waterfront – South Africa’s most visited destination offers visitors an abundance of unforgettable experiences. Indoor shopping and entertainment venues seamlessly merge with ocean vistas and mountain views adding to a cosmopolitan, vibrant atmosphere. More than 80 restaurants bring a fusion of international food
• Visit Cape Point, the most south-westerly tip of Africa. A dramatic, narrow finger of land, it is covered in endemic fynbos and home to picturesque bays and rolling green hills. Look out for pelagic birds, zebra, baboons, eland, and the many species of reptiles and small mammals.
Visitors can enjoy a range of activities from skydiving off Lion’s Head onto the world-renowned Camps Bay beach, to sitting at one of the many outdoor cafés enjoying the mix of local flavours and people.
• Scuba dive in the Two Oceans Aquarium. Dive with turtles, stingrays, sharks and large predators like yellowtail, dusky kob and black and white musselcracker.
• Take a Township Tour to the informal settlements of Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Langa or Nyanga and see what life is like for many South Africans. Experience the excitement around community development and youth upliftment projects. Purchase the beautiful locally made handcraft and grab a bite of succulent traditional African fare at a shebeen or township eatery.
• Helicopter ride – Go for a spin and get an eagles eye view of breathtaking Cape Town. There are several helicopter companies at the Waterfront Heliport.
• Skydiving – if you’ve never skydived, consider doing your first jump in Cape Town. You could choose between a standard static line jump and a tandem jump
• Abseil down Table Mountain’s “The Long Drop” and step over the edge into the pure oblivion of the world’s highest commercial abseil, all 112 metres to a ledge below.
• Deep Sea Big Game Fishing – bounded by the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, Cape Town enjoys one of the greatest concentrations of fish in the world. Deep sea fishing ranges from 10 to 40 nautical miles from land.
• Swim with the Jackass Penguins at Boulders Beach, one of the only places in the world where you can swim with penguins.
• Paraglide off Lions Head and land on Camps Bay. If you have never paraglided before then tandem paragliding is the solution. There is no better place in the world to experience paragliding.
• Kite boarding at Blaauwberg Strand – South Africa’s premier venue for high performance windsurfing and kite-boarding. Harness the power of the wind with a large controllable powerkite to be propelled across the water on a kiteboard.
Dining and Entertainment
Traditional cuisine is a mixture of Indonesian, Malaysian, Indian, French, German, British and Dutch. During the winter months, venison (especially springbok) of all kinds is popular. Mussels, crayfish and perlemoen, along with a superb selection of freshly caught fish, are widely available.
A shopaholics dream, Cape Town caters to every need. With tens of shopping centres, shoppers can choose from the most visited tourist attraction the V&A Waterfont to the 400 shops in Canal Walk, the beauty of Cavendish Square and Willowbridge, one of the hottest shopping centres in the northern suburbs. Other greats include Blue Route Mall, Cape Quarter, Gardens Centre and Long Beach Mall.
Also check out the excellent open air and craft markets at Greenmarket Square, the Red Shed at the V&A Waterfront and the markets at Muizenberg and Green Point on Sundays.