Cape Town is easy to spot with Table Mountain apace with the area and is famous for its beaches, European sub-culture and vineyards, making it the most visited international tourist destination in Africa.
The Cape of Good Hope, the headland of the Cape Peninsula was originally believed to be the southernmost tip of Africa, where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet but it was later discovered that the actual southernmost point of Africa is Cape Agulhas, situated 150km from Cape Town. Nevertheless, the Cape of Good Hope represents some of Cape Town’s earliest documented history and heritage.
Cape Town is also known as “The Mother City” as it was the first place discovered by Dutch and Portuguese explorers in the 15th century. In the late 16th century, Table Bay and the Cape of Good Hope became a regular stop for ships travelling to India from Europe, particularly those which formed a part of the Dutch East India Company. This led to the creation of a settlement and the later colonisation of the area by the British.
Cape Town is the capital city of the Western Cape Province, as well as South Africa’s legislative capital and the seat of South Africa’s National Parliament. The University of Cape Town (often referred to as UCT) is the top ranking university in South Africa as well as Africa, and the only African University to be continually ranked among the world’s top 200 tertiary institutions.
Where is Cape Town?
Cape Town is the second most populous city in South Africa, after Johannesburg, and the Cape Town metropolitan area is home to 3,7 million people. It is situated in the serene Western Cape province of the country.
Most of South Africa’s prime real estate is in Cape Town, particularly at the city’s swish Atlantic Seaboard suburbs of Clifton, Bakoven, Bantry Bay and Llandudno, and in the southern suburbs of Bishopscourt and Constantia. Some of South Africa’s wealthiest citizens own homes in these areas, and they are a popular investment for foreign executives and celebrities.
The city is currently in the first phase of introducing a rapid bus system and there are rail, air and sea networks that link to the rest of the country, however the preferred mode of transport in Cape Town for tourists is by private vehicle.
Top 5 Things to do in Cape Town
The famous flat-topped mountain overlooks the city and got its name because it was said to look like the surface of a table. The mountain is a part of the Table Mountain National Park, where visitors can take part in numerous activities including hiking on the mountain, rock climbing, caving and mountain biking. There is also a cable car which carries passengers from Tafelberg Road to the plateau of the mountain.
Victoria and Albert Waterfront
The V&A Waterfront attracts over two million visitors annually because it hosts spectacular views of the city of Cape Town, Table Mountain, the Atlantic Ocean and Table Bay Harbour. The Waterfront is situated in Cape Town’s oldest working harbour and has been developed for mixed use including shopping, entertainment and business.
Long Street is one of the most famous streets in South Africa because of its Bohemian atmosphere, Victorian buildings and artsy bars and hangouts. The street has many bookstores, shops and restaurants which speak out for the creative nature of the city’s inhabitants.
Robben Island was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 and is the old prison where freedom fighter Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his 27-year imprisonment. The island is situated off the coast of Table Bay, and is the ideal excursion for people wishing to learn about South Africa’s political struggle before the end of Apartheid.
Two Oceans Aquarium
The Aquarium is located at the V&A Waterfront and features seven exhibition galleries with large viewing windows. The zoo showcases marine life from the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Aquariums are a safe bet when visiting any country as you usually know what to expect. You won’t be dissapointed with Two Oceans.
Cape Town International Airport
Cape Town’s airport is the third busiest one in Africa, and the second busiest in South Africa. It handles between seven and eight million passengers annually. In 2011, the air route between Cape Town and Johannesburg was the ninth busiest in the world and catered for an estimated 4.5 million passengers. The airport has no direct railway links to the airport although shuttle services are available, and the city plans to extend the existing rail network in the future.
Cape Town is likely as South Africa’s most well-known destination, and is a must-see for any visitor to the country. The city hosts a mix of history, culture and art which is on par with European counterparts, but has an additional flair and beat which can only be experienced in Africa.