Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Cape Town, Western Cape

No other city in the world can compare to Cape Town. It is in Africa and of Africa, yet so different. Flanked between the ocean and mountain and a National Park in its heart, Cape Town is cosmopolitan, wild and wonderful. It is the oldest city in South Africa and has a cultural and fascinating heritage than spans over more than 300 years.

Nowhere else in the country will you experience such cultural diversity. Here you will experience Cape Dutch homesteads, elegant Georgian townhouses, traditional dancers with painted faces lighting up the streets, the fragrant aromas of spicy Cape Malay cuisine, the taste of well matured wine and the sound of the snoek horn advertising the wares of vendors at the harbour.

When the noon gun erupts over the city every day, visitors might jump in surprise, whereas Capetonians will simply glance at their watches and go about their day. This gun is a relic from the days when sea captains has to check their chronometers and will only be experienced in Cape Town.

Cape Town is every tourist's dream. It satisfies the needs of even the most discerning guest and you will never get bored. The imposing and majestic Table Mountain, Cape Town's most famous celebrity, watches over the city and offers some of the best climbing in the world.

The surfing in also amazing and the diving is cold but good. Adventure lovers can also enjoy mountain biking, sand boarding or sea kayaking for a truly memorable experience. You may even encounter Seals, Dolphins or Penguins.

A wonderful activity includes walking up to Lions head before dark and watching the spectacular sun set on one side of the mountain while the moon rises on the other. Make your way down as the silvery light of the moon guides you to safety.

Shopaholics do not despair. Cape Town is home to some of the most upmarket and world class shopping destinations in South Africa. Enjoy a spending spree at Cavendish, Canal Walk or the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, or all three. Enjoy the vibrant energy of the malls while browsing the shops, sitting down for a cuppa and eating at one of the lovely restaurants and fast food outlets.

For those in search of some culture and entertainment, you are spoilt for choice. Cape Town is bubbling with energy, with live music, art exhibitions; a host of cinema's, theatres, ballets and even opera's to cater for all tastes. The Baxter Theatre and the Artscape are two places where you can catch a host of plays, concerts and comedy showcases.

For a history lesson, Cape Town houses numerous museums, national monuments and is the legislative capital of South Africa. Discover more about the struggle of Apartheid on a boat trip to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for 18 years. This is an enlightening and informative experience and a must for those interested in this sad but prominent part of South African history.

Wine connoisseurs will rejoice during an unforgettable tour through the magnificent Cape Winelands, where some of the finest wines in the world are produced. These tours include wine tasting and tours of the working wine cellars. Follow this tour up with a wonderful lunch at one of the fine restaurants in the area, and of course, compliment your meal with a delicious wine. Must see Winelands towns include Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl.

Cape Town has something for everyone, from adventure lovers, shopaholics, culture seekers, or visitors just looking for a place to relax and enjoy the sun, sea, surf and sand of a coastal city. Accommodation is abundant, from casual backpackers and B&B's to world class, five star rated hotels with breathtaking views.

Cape Town is also conveniently close to the Whale watching town of Hermanus, the many towns on the West Coast, and not to mention the spectacular and world famous Garden Route, including George, Wilderness, Mossel Bay and Knysna.

Cape Town Activities Guide

The majestic Table Mountain and Robben Island are the backdrop of Cape Town, South Africa, one of the world's top five tourist destinations. Visitors to this city in the Western Cape can book many of the exciting Cape Town tours and activities.

The "Mother City" of South Africa bids a warm welcome as you enjoy its many sights and attractions. The iconic Table Mountain in Cape Town dominates the landscape and around the base visitors to this city in the Western Cape will find plenty to see and do right along the Cape Peninsula on both sides. From the top of Table Mountain you can see forever! Table Mountain National Park has many hikes and walks and visitors are advised to go well prepared with a day pack, warm clothing, plenty of water and a camera. The Table Mountain Cable Car ride is a delight for everyone and a truly memorable experience.

The Cape Town City Bowl has many fabulous eateries (some serving traditional African specialities), nightspots, pubs and clubs for partying after hours, but for all day activities and a variety of eateries, the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town is a top visitor attraction. This is the jumping off point for harbour cruises and much more. Here, Cape Town visitors can enjoy a great atmosphere, shopping, live shows and entertainment, art and craft displays and drumming sessions. The Waterfront is also the site of the beautiful Two Oceans Aquarium, Scratch Patch gemstone outlet and Cave Golf.

For entertainment and shopping, Canal Walk north of Cape Town at Century City is the place to go with shops for everyone, live shows, cinemas and plenty of places to eat. Next door is Ratanga Junction, for 24 thrill rides and theme park fun for all ages. In the vicinity is the GrandWest Casino complex.

Cape Town has some of the finest beaches in the world. For a stunning view of Table Mountain and Robben Island, Bloubergstrand (north of the city) is the place to go. Here visitors can enjoy a long stretch of sand and perfect views. Near the 2010 stadium is Cape Town's Sea Point Promenade, ideal for walks and jogs in the fresh air and in the vicinity tourists can find a variety of food deli's, cafés and speciality restaurants.

Along the Atlantic Seaboard is Camps Bay's sidewalk cafés and trendy bars which overlook the white sands. Clifton beaches are excellent for people watching and sunbathing in fine weather. Hout Bay near Cape Town is great for a seaside stroll, fish and chips and a harbour cruise; Noordehoek has a long sandy beach for superb walks in mild weather and horse riding followed by a cheerful pub lunch in the cosy village.

False Bay beaches can be seen on a train ride from the city which first travels through the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town and then along the coast to Simonstown. Beaches along the way include Muizenberg for kite sports and surfing; Kalk Bay has a picture perfect bay and rockpools with excellent seaside restaurants and pubs; Fishhoek's family-friendly beach with an invigorating promenade walk, and Simonstown, is a quaint naval town with many activities, eateries and famous Boulders Beach, home to a colony of Penguins. Visitors here can also see gemstone polishing and scratch for a handful.

Simonstown is ideal for an interesting day out at the end of the train line. Visitors can hop off and enjoy the strong naval atmosphere, harbourside shops and restaurants. The SA Navy and museum is located in this historic area. Further along the coastal road visitors can explore magnificent Cape Point.

The Southern Suburbs offers leafy suburbs and a pretty drive along the foot of the mountain with top attractions being the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, ideal for beautiful walks, picnics, teas and meals; Newlands Cricket Oval and Rugby Stadium and nearby there are Wine Estates in Constantia, and above Noordehoek.

The Cape Winelands are extensive and diverse with wine routes on the Cape Peninsula, in the hills of Durbanville, around Paarl (wine and brandy cellars), around Stellenbosch and in the Franschhoek Valley beyond. Other magnificent wine route areas further afield can be accessed via a Wine Tasting tour and will entail a day trip inland or along the coast.

Highlights in Cape Town

Social outings

  • Harbour and Sundowner Cruises - V&A Waterfront
  • Township and Shebeen Tours - various options
  • Bars and clubs on Long and Kloof St in the City Centre

Action and Adventure

  • Scuba diving, canoes and kayaks - V&A Waterfont
  • Cave Golf - V&A Waterfront
  • Adventure Golf - Green Point and GrandWest Casino
  • Ten Pin Bowling - Claremont and Tyger Valley
  • Go Karting - Kenilworth; GrandWest Casino; Kilarney Race Track
  • Paintball - near Century City and in the Tokai Forest
  • Quad biking - Atlantis, West Coast
  • Fishing charters, Kalk Bay; Simonstown; Hout Bay; CPT harbour
  • Kitesports - Muizenberg and Table View

Animal Encounters

  • Two Oceans Aquarium - V&A Waterfront
  • Horseback riding - Long Beach, Noordehoek
  • Penguins at Boulders Beach - Simonstown
  • Monkey Town - Somerset West
  • Cheetah project, Spier Wine Estate - Stellenbosch
  • Tygerberg Zoo - Tyger Valley
  • Drakenstein Lion Park - Cape Winelands, off N1 highway
  • Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm - Cape Winelands near Paarl
  • Cape Town Ostrich Farm - Philadelphia, West Coast

The Great Outdoors

  • Table Mountain and Signal Hill, city centre
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens - Newlands / Bishops Court
  • Beaches on Blouberg; Atlantic Seaboard and False Bay - Peninsula

Scenic Routes

  • Explorer Bus, hop on / off topless double decker - City to Camps Bay
  • Atlantic Seaboard drive from Sea point to Hout Bay
  • Southern train ride from the City to Simonstown
  • False Bay beaches from Muizenberg to Simonstown
  • Noordehoek to Cape Point scenic drive
  • Wine Routes throughout the Cape Winelands

Historic attractions

  • Historic buildings and museums in Cape Town central
  • Robben Island, Table Bay
  • Simonstown near Cape Point
  • Cape Wineland towns

Shopping, Entertainment, Markets

  • V&A Waterfront - City
  • Century City and Canal Walk - N1 highway
  • Hout Bay Market - Peninsula; Stellenbosch Market - Winelands
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