Forgot your password?



Back to login

Cape Town- A city brimming with adventure, culture, and culinary arts
August 10, 2017, 4:08 pm
Share/Bookmark

Set between mountains and the sea, Cape Town flaunts its natural beauty with pride. Rising above the city, iconic Table Mountain provides the perfect plateau for panoramic views that stretch to the glittering Atlantic, botanical gardens beckon from its slopes, and the city's long blonde beaches backed by towering peaks are some of South Africa's best. Bubbling beneath the surface is an irrepressible sense of adventure, and travelers can join in the fun with a range of outdoor activities, from hiking, biking, surfing, and paragliding to whale-watching trips and cage dives with great white sharks.

Chapman's Peak Drive: Affectionately called ‘Chappies’ by the locals, Chapman's Peak Drive is one of the most jaw-dropping driving routes in the world. Cut into the sheer face of Chapman's Peak, which plunges to the sea, this spectacular toll road snakes its way for about nine kilometers between Noordhoek and Hout Bay passing panoramic Chapman's Peak point along the way. With 114 curves carved into the rock face, some perched more than 500 meters above the sea, this is not a route for those prone to motion sickness. Around sunset, cars cram along the panoramic viewpoints as sightseers’ stake a spot to watch the sun sink.

Robben Island: For nearly 400 years, Robben Island in Table Bay, was a brutal prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in a tiny cell during the apartheid era. Today, the island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see attraction for anyone interested in South African history.

Table Mountain: Towering 1,086 meters over Cape Town, and around 500 million years in the making, Table Mountain is a playground for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Once an island, now boasting more plant species per square kilometer than a tropical jungle, this flat-topped monolith begs exploration. Trails run the length and breadth of the mountain, offering exceptional hiking for all levels of experience and fitness. Whether you are looking for adventure or solitude, nature or views, a hike up Table Mountain is not to be missed.

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront: Stretching around two harbor basins, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a buzzing entertainment quarter reminiscent of Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. Once a scruffy fishing harbor, this reimagined waterfront district is now one of the city's top tourist attractions, and many of the old buildings have been preserved and restored. Millions of visitors a year flock here to the shops, jazz venues, restaurants, hotels, theaters, drama school, cinemas, and museums.

Clifton and Camps Bay Beaches: About six kilometers from the city center, the beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton lure the buff, the bronzed, and the beautiful, as well as the big bucks. At Clifton, Cape Town's St. Tropez, some of the city's priciest real estate overlooks four gleaming white-sand beaches flanked by smooth granite boulders and washed by sparkling, but crisp, blue seas.

First Beach is a favorite volleyball venue and offers decent surf when the conditions are right. Just south of Clifton, trendy Camp's Bay sports another stunning beach, backed by the magnificent Twelve Apostles and the distinctive peak of Lion's Head. People-watching is an art along this pretty palm-lined stretch as well as at the chic cafes and boutiques fringing Victoria Street. Camp's Bay and Clifton's Fourth Beach boast coveted Blue Flag status awarded for clean water, safety, and environmental management making them a great choice for families as well.

Great White Shark Cage Dives: In the chilly waters off Cape Town's coast, thrill seekers can come face-to-face with one of the ocean's most feared predators: great white sharks. Protected by the thick bars of an iron cage, divers score a hefty dose of adrenaline as these magnificent creatures swim within inches of the bars. The best time to see these magnificent creatures is between April and October.

Penguins at Boulders Bay: Penguins are adorable in any setting, but seeing them waddle around in their natural environment is a particular thrill for wildlife lovers. About an hour's drive from Cape Town, Boulder's Bay in Simon's Town shelters a breeding colony of more than 2,000 endangered African Penguins. Visitors can enjoy close-up encounters with these charismatic creatures, all in a stunning setting with giant granite boulders, rock pools, calm bays, and blissfully uncrowded patches of gleaming sand.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens: In a beautiful setting on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are part of the Cape Floristic Region UNESCO World Heritage site. The site was bequeathed to the state by Cecil Rhodes in 1902 and the gardens were established in 1913 to preserve the country's indigenous flora - one of the first botanical gardens in the world with this mission. More than 20,000 native South African plant species are collected, grown, and studied in the hilly 528-hectare nature reserve of indigenous forest and fynbos.

City Hall and the Castle of Good Hope: History buffs can visit two notable historic buildings within five minutes' walk of each other in central Cape Town. Built in 1905, Cape Town City Hall is a striking mix of Italian Neo-Renaissance and British colonial style. The 60-meter-high bell-tower, with a carillon installed in 1923, was modeled on Big Ben in London. Highlights of the interior include the beautiful mosaic floors, marble staircase, and impressive stained glass.

Across the road from the Grand Parade, The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest surviving stone building in South Africa. It was built in 1666-79 as the residence of the Governor and for the protection of the early settlers, but the castle, which is in the form of a five-pointed star, was never exposed to attack. A highlight here is the William Fehr Collection, which includes pictures, porcelain, fine glass, ceramics, and furniture of the 17th to 19th centuries from South Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Signal Hill and the Noon Gun: This place offers stunning views over Cape Town, Table Bay, and the glittering Atlantic Ocean from its 350-meter summit. The hill forms the body of the adjacent Lion's Head peak and was named for its historical use when signal flags were flown from here to send messages to approaching ships. Many locals and visitors drive up to watch the sunset and stay to see the shimmering lights of Cape Town ignite after dark. At noon every day (except Sundays and public holidays), a cannon activated by an electronic impulse from the Observatory fires a single shot. In earlier days this ‘noon gun’ served to give the exact time to ships anchored in the bay.

 

 

 

 

 

Share your views
CAPTCHA
 

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."

"Envy comes from wanting something that isn't yours. But grief comes from losing something you've already had."

Photo Gallery