Cape Town Travel Guide
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Cape Town is undeniably one of the most popular destinations in the world. Located on the southern tip of South Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the city’s famous Table Mountain, Cape Town welcomes close to two million visitors each year.
Affectionately known as the Mother City, Cape Town is South Africa's oldest city. Founded in 1652 by Jan van Riebeeck and his band of Dutch settlers, Cape Town is rated one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
The silhouette of Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain is an internationally-renowned landmark. Also long been famous for its Mediterranean lifestyle, Cape Town is home to spectacular scenery and the country’s world-famous Cape Winelands around Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek on its doorstep.
Best Time to Visit Cape Town
The summer months from November to March are generally warm and dry with temperatures rarely exceeding 30°C. While winter in Cape Town (May to September) is a cool 12°C. The end of summer is often considered the best time to visit Cape Town with fewer rainy days and mild temperatures.
Cape Town Beaches
Known for its pristine beaches and relaxed culture, Cape Town is one of the best beach-side holiday destinations in the world. There are three blue flag beaches in and around Cape Town. Blue flag beaches are an international standard that recognise a high level of water quality, facilities, cleanliness and safety.
The blend of two oceans (the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean) means there are different beach styles available. The west side of the Cape Peninsula, on the Atlantic Ocean, is where the more fashionable set go to see and be seen.
North of the Atlantic Seaboard are the beaches of Table Bay which sport the picture-postcard views of Cape Town over Table Mountain and Robben Island and tend to be more popular with locals.
The east side of the peninsula, on the warmer Indian Ocean, is generally more laid back and not as hectic as the Atlantic coastline, although in peak season these family oriented beaches can still become pretty busy.
It was a proud moment for all South Africans when the official inauguration of Table Mountain as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature took place at a ceremony held at the foot of the Mountain.
Table Mountain is not only a spectacular backdrop for Cape Town, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it also offers visitors the unique experience to actually walk on top of the mountain and enjoy the most remarkable 360 degree panoramic views.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
Situated at the foot of Table Mountain, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town is a vibrant cosmopolitan area offering an abundance of unforgettable experiences including chic shopping malls, arts and crafts markets, theatres, fine restaurants and bars and live music. The Two Oceans Aquarium is also not to be missed for families and visitors of any age. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront area is also known as a historical site and is working harbour for export.
Robben Island is one of the most significant historical sites in South Africa. Located a short boat ride from the Victoria & Alfred waterfront, Robben Island was first used by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) after Cape Town was first settled in 1650. From the 17th to the 20th centuries, Robben Island served as a place of banishment, isolation and imprisonment. Today it is a World Heritage Site and museum, a poignant reminder to the newly democratic South Africa of the price paid for freedom.
Cape Town Food and Culture
Tourists in search of a relaxed, well nourished experience will be pleasantly surprised by Cape Town. Visit the Cape Winelands to take a course in cheese making or take a stroll through one of Cape Town’s food markets including; Stellenbosch’s Slow Food Market, Woodstock’s Biscuit Mill and the Tokai’s Porter Estate produce market. Cape Town’s unique cultural history will ensure everyone’s tastes will be catered for.
Great White Shark Tours
If it's adventure you’re after, visit Gansbaai for a close encounter with the Great White Shark. Only two hours from Cape Town, there are two shark viewing experiences available including a securely designed 6-man steel cage, which floats on the surface or a shark-viewing deck onboard the boat. For an added adrenalin rush experienced shark handlers can encourage the sharks to the boat.
Also likely to be sighted on the trip are Cape Fur Seals, Gannets, Cormorants, African Penguins, whales and dolphins, all native to the Cape Town area.
This neighbourhood, located on a hill south-west of downtown, is the area historically inhabited by mainly Muslim descendants of slaves from South-East Asia and is a common location for film shoots, as there are very colourful buildings, quaint streets and mosques. Bo-Kaap also offers great views over Cape Town and some delicious local food sold on the side of the street. It's well worth wandering around for an hour or so, as well as visiting the Bo-Kaap Museum. Atlas Trading is an old fashioned shop where you can buy spices for any dish, just ask the proprietor to mix you the necessary spice for the meal you intend making.
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