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Cape Town

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.

Around About Cars


More unlicensed drivers being caught

The 35 000 people who were caught driving in Cape Town without valid driving licences in the first six months of 2008 represents just the tip of the iceberg.

Among the excuses offered for this state of affairs by the ANC is the long waiting periods for aspirant drivers to get appointments for tests.

ANC councillor Werner Scwhella said he was “deeply concerned” about the number of people driving without licences.

“The question is whether people are merely ignoring the law or taking a chance driving without a licence due to the long waiting periods,” he added

Kroll Background Screening CEO Ina van der Merwe said while it was true that there were long waiting periods at testing stations, this did not excuse those opportunistic drivers who took the short cut and bought their licences from crooked officials.

“Many jobs require the employee to be on the road. Rather than not work, many employees choose to drive illegally. Also, in instances where a drivers licence is a pre-requisite for employment the employee chooses to rather buy a fake drivers licence than risk not getting the job. Unemployment levels are very high, and people have become desperate,” she said.

According to the Metro Police’s quarterly report, Cape Town’s traffic department dealt with 19 234 unlicensed drivers and just under 11 000 unlicensed vehicles in April, May and June.

Acting safety and security director Heathcliff Thomas said the waiting period for a new licence was nine months nationally but that Cape Town was doing “relatively well” in reducing the waiting time to an average of six months.

With government admitting that only a “hand full” of the 90 000 bogus drivers’ licences that are currently used by drivers have been cancelled, background screening companies are compelled to certify these illegally obtained licences as valid lending further credence to


Willie Hofmeyer, head of the Special Investigations Unit told parliament that his investigators had visited 350 licensing offices and had scrutinised 1,4-million files. From this investigation it became clear that 91 596 drivers’ licences were invalid.

“The present situation is making life extremely difficult for background screening companies who are compelled to certify a licence as valid until such time as it had been cancelled by the Department Of Transport.

“We believe the number may be much higher because last year the transport department’s Wendy Watson confirmed that up to 50% of all drivers’ licences were “suspect”, Van der Merwe said.

Kroll Background Screening, the largest credentials verification company in South Africa, processes millions of enquiries relating to the authenticity of drivers’ licenses, passports, degrees and diplomas.

“One of the major problems that we face is that some of the holders of these bogus licences may end up driving busses putting the lives of thousands of commuters at risk.

Van der Merwe has urged the department to address the problem with a greater degree of urgency and to get the bogus licences out of circulation.

“Human lives are at stake here and the sooner we get these bogus licence holders off our roads the safer it will be for the rest of us”, she said.

Equally important was to shut down the licensing offices where many of these bogus licences were issued, she said.

Van der Merwe said more than 18% of all documents sent to her company for verification turn out to be fake.

For more information, please contact Nina de Winter at Kroll on 012 644 4000 or on her cell 082 787 9890

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