The Western Cape - A Complete Guide to Cape Town
A Breathtaking Vista of Silver Mountains and Azure Seas
Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, located at the southwestern tip of Africa. Many years ago, when the world carried out its trade by boat, Cape Town was an important stopping off point on the spice route to Asia.
The city lies approximately 60km north of Cape Point, with the magnificent Table Mountain to the back and the vast Atlantic Ocean to the front. It has the reputation as being the most laid back city in the Southern Hemisphere. This relaxed atmosphere is attributed to Table Mountain which is known to be amongst the most spiritual places on earth. You only have to look up to see the magnificent quartzite cliffs towering over the city with a protective presence. People are drawn towards the mountain and every visitor feels the need to climb up or take the revolving Cable Car to the top. At 1086 metres above sea level, you are privy to the most dramatic views of the whole of the Cape Peninsula.
The city is safer than most on any continent with a bustling street life of shops, cafes, market stalls and street artists. This vibrancy is set amongst historic buildings of old Cape Dutch and English architecture with the Castle of Good Hope dating back to 1666, when the first Dutch settlers set up a rest station for trading ships.
You can watch whales in Hermanus (June to December), visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, or see spring wild flowers cover the countryside. The list of things to do around Cape Town, the Mother City, is endless. Wine tours to Stellenbosch, Constantia, Paarl, Franschoek and the Swartland are definite must do's as is the seafood at Houtbay, and a boat trip to Seal Island.
There are many museums, including those in District Six, the Bo-Kaap and the Mayibuye Centre. The V & A Waterfront is the most popular tourist attraction in South Africa. Visit the Cedarberg Mountains and see the San (Bushmen) paintings; or take a trip up the West Coast to do some bird watching - gannets, flamingoes, terns and pelicans.
You can visit the endangered Jackass Penguin Colony, walk to Cape Point, or take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, a perfect setting for a picnic of fine wine and cheese. Of course there is also Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent most of his life in jail. Excellent reasons to include the beautiful Cape on your travels.