The City of Cape Town on the Southern tip of Africa is a famous melting pot of cultures and a prime tourist destination. Dubbed the “Mother City”, this location offers every desirable tourist activity under the sun. Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
Cape Town is internationally known as one of the most picturesque travel destinations. Its trendy beaches and the iconic Table Mountain, together with the impressive floral surrounds, and the majestic Cape Peninsula justify this perception. It isn’t surprising then that it has been rated the most popular tourist destination in Africa, even outshining Cairo in the popularity polls. Part of its fame can be attributed to its favourable climate, natural splendour and first-rate infrastructure which make visiting the city a pleasure.
A Clash of Cultures
The history of the city is multifaceted and the reason for its cosmopolitan nature today. Everywhere you look there is evidence of its worldly identity: the Victorian architecture, traditional mosques, and upmarket, sophisticated boutiques and eateries point out the different cultural influences. This amalgamation resulted from the occupation of the region by the Indonesian, French, British, Dutch, and German settlers, as well as local Bushmen and the arrival of Hottentot and Bantu tribes over the years.
Top 5 Tourist Attractions
Cape Town is guaranteed to satisfy every taste – no matter how quirky or conventional. The list of to-dos is endless and will keep you and your fellow travellers enthralled for days. The variety of attractions range from the historical and architectural, to those orientated towards the outdoors and adventure.
* Table Mountain
Undeniably the city’s most breathtaking sight, Table Mountain recently made it into the final round of the New 7 Wonders of Nature contest. You can choose to either take a cable car up to the top or can enjoy a challenging walk through the Skeleton Gorge trail. Once you have completed the climb, the unbeatable views of the city will make the experience worthwhile.
* Robben Island
Located in Table Bay just below Table Mountain, Robben Island is a major symbol of South Africa’s segregated past. It is famously known for the isolated prison it hosted during the Apartheid years when political opposition figures such as former President and Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela were forced to stay there for many years.
* Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Situated at the foot of Table Mountain, the magnificient Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens hold more than 20’ 000 native plant species that can be observed at your own leisure. You will need at least an hour to stroll around the lower part of the gardens, or you can enjoy a shorter walk along the pathways of the slopes. Must-see attractions include the scented, protea, herb, and rock gardens. Don’t forget to stop off at the Bird Bath, a pool that occupies the centre of a shady area inhabited by 70-year-old yellowwood trees.
* Victoria and Albert Waterfront
Built in 1860 the V & A Waterfront is first and foremost an entertainment quarter that attracts over 13 million visitors annually. Its eclectic array of shops, restaurants, hotels and theatres attract crowds all year round – especially in the cold winter months. Named after Queen Victoria and her second son Alfred, this continues to be one of the liveliest locations in Cape Town.
* Chapman’s Peak Drive
This scenic meandering drive will take you from Hout Bay around Chapman’s Peak to Noordhoek on the Atlantic Coast, where you will experience the most impressive marine drive in the world. This 9km route has a total of 114 curves and offers travelers a marvelous 180° view of the surrounds. Stop off along the way at any one of the several picnic spots to absorb the natural beauty – if you are lucky enough, you may even spot a Southern Right whale. Be aware that the road has been under construction for the past few months and is set to reopen in October 2009, well in time for the 2010 World Cup.