Presentation of the destination
Cape Town is one of the largest cities in South Africa, second only to the capital city of Johannesburg. Cape Town is also the capital of the Western Cape province. Cape Town is also the capital of the legislative branch branch of the South African government as it is home to the country’s national parliament.Cape Town is situated by Table Bay on the southwestern tip of South Africa. The colonial history of Cape Town dates back to the Dutch East India Company, who developed the town as a supply station for their ships, which were often on their way to East Africa, India, and the Far East. The first permanent European settlers to Cape Town accompanied Jan van Riebeeck on 6 April 1652.Following the settlement of Europeans in South Africa, Cape Town grew quickly and became the economic and cultural centre of the surrounding area. For a long time Cape Town was larger than Johannesburg and it was not until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush that Johannesburg surpassed it in terms of size and importance.
Points of interests / things to see
For years Robben Island was a fully functioning prison, which remained open until the day it closed in 1996. While visiting a prison may not be everybody’s cup of tea, this prison is particularly important for both South Africans and many people across the globe. The prison on Robben Island is where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for nearly twenty years. Due to Robben Island’s historical and cultural significance, it has been given the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Of course, visiting Robben Island tops most lists of things to do for those visiting Cape Town. However, getting a ticket to visit Robben Island is difficult as the tickets are highly sought after and often sell out days in advance. If you do wish to visit Robben Island, then make sure you book well ahead, perhaps even before your arrival in Cape Town. Tickets can be reserved either online or through one of the several tour operators, as they often have better access to tickets than the general public.Guided tours allow visitors a total of two hours visiting the island as well as the thirty minute boat trip to and from Cape Town. The tours leave for Robben Island from the Nelson Mandela Gateway on the mainland. As well as a departure point for the tours, there is also a museum here, which comes highly recommended as a place to visit.
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a popular tourist destination for those visiting Cape Town. The Waterfront, as it is commonly known by the locals, was originally a dock which fell into a bit of disrepair before being redeveloped into the thriving area you can see today.If you are planning on visiting Robben Island, then you will have to visit the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront to get the boat. However, getting to Robben Island is not the only reason to go to the Waterfront.Of course, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is named after the former Queen Victoria and her son Alfred. The Waterfront is currently home to Green Point and the Green Point Stadium. As well as the stadium, the Waterfront also has a golf course.Though the wharves are not used by tankers, they are still used by smaller boats, such as tugboats and fishing boats. Nature lovers may even have the opportunity to glimpse seals on the tyres around the wharves.While the Waterfront and Green Point are under a great deal of redevelopment and a great place to visit, it should be noted by families with small children that the Main Road in Green Point is where some of Cape Town’s prostitutes operate, and perhaps an unsuitable sight for younger children.
Nature lovers can enjoy one of the world’s greatest botanical gardens. The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens cover a whopping 36 hectares and are so special because of their incredible location and the great number of unique types of plants and flowers that can be found here.The information centre, souvenir shop, and the conservatory can all be found along the Newlands end of the centre while there is access to the centre via the Rycroft Gate entrance on Rhodes Drive.Of the 22,000 different plant species that can be found in South Africa, around 9,000 of them are grown in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The botanical gardens also house a wonderful “fragrance garden” whereby guests can enjoy the beautiful scents of the flowers, which are elevated to a more appropriate height in order to better appreciate them.The botanical gardens can also be visited using the My Guide device, which works very much like an audioguide. There are three signposted routes that visitors can take around the gardens and the My Guide will provide them with information on the plants they will pass as they follow the signposted routes. Also, if you are visiting between the months of November and March, make sure not to miss the Sunday afternoon concerts.
A particularly interesting sight is the Cape of Good Hope. The Cape of Good Hope makes up only part of the Table Mountain National Park and is well worth a visit. The cape is also commonly referred to as Cape Point and is a magnificent 7750 hectare section of the national park. At the Cape of Good Hope there are incredible views and walks that visitors can make use of. There are also a number of beaches that are often empty, allowing you to enjoy yourself without the hustle and bustle of the usually overcrowded tourist beaches. Birdwatchers can enjoy keeping an eye out for any of the 250 species of bird resident to the Cape of Good Hope, including cormorants and ostriches.Bus tours can be arranged for those that would prefer not to walk but exploring the reserve on foot comes much more highly recommended than any of the bus tours. However, visitors should make sure to check the weather before embarking on any of the walks. There is also a two-day Cape of Good Hope Trail which is just over 30 kilometres in length and visitors will spend a night in the Protea and Restio Huts. For information on the Cape of Good Hope visitors should contact the Buffelsfontein Visitors Centre.
Originally Signal Hill was a lookout point. With the “signal” in Signal Hill coming from the flags that would be raised when a ship was seen from the hill. Once a ship was seen from the lookout, the residents of Cape Town would prepare their wares in preparation for the ship’s arrival, ready to sell them.Signal Hill offers some of the greatest views of Cape Town. Once you have ascended the 350-metre peak you can look over the city during the day or during the night.Signal Hill was once also known as Lion’s Rump, since a number of hills, resembling a spine, join it to Lion’s Head. Signal Hill makes up part of the Table Mountain National Park and can be accessed by taking a right on Kloof Nek Road once you reach the top of the hill.On every day except Sunday, a cannon is fired from Signal Hill at midday. The “Noon Gun”, as it is known, can be heard across the length and breadth of Cape Town and originally helped burghers to calibrate and set their watches. The Noon Gun Tea Room and Restaurant is a great place to stop on your way up to see the cannon, which can be reached after 11:30 am, once the gate is open.
It does not take a rocket scientist to work out why this place is called “Church Square”. However, Church Square is home to no ordinary church. Church Square is home to Groote Kerk, the first christian place of worship in Cape Town and the mother church of the Dutch Reformed Church.Inside the Groote Kerk is a magnificent church with a beautiful organ and a Burmese teak pulpit, which was carved by Anton Anreith and Jan Graaf. Architecturally-speaking, the church is an eclectic mix as some parts were built during the original construction in 1704, whilst other parts were built after 1841.
Lovers of architecture must not miss out on seeing one of Cape Town’s most impressive buildings, the Mutual Building. The Mutual Building, which is also known as Mutual Heights, was opened in 1940. Originally the building was home to the South African Mutual Life Assurance Society which is now known as the “Old Mutual” company.The building is an art deco structure and includes a number of incredible special features. The building has a banking hall, assembly room, directors’ board room. On the outside there are some great features such as the prismoid windows and one of the world’s largest carved stone friezes.
The Silvermine Nature Reserve is a great area to enjoy nature, a picnic, or just make the most of a casual stroll around the grounds. Between 1675 and 1685 the area was prospected for silver by the Dutch, though their efforts were not particularly successful.The reserve includes the Silvermine Reservoir, dating back to 1898. Though swimming is forbidden in the reservoir, some people will still be seen entering the waters. There is also the Peers Cave, which can be found on the southwest of the reserve by following the trail from the parking spot on the Ou Kaapse Weg. History and anthropology enthusiasts will enjoy that during an excavation at Peers Cave, an 11,000-year-old skull was found.
On the eastern slopes of Table Mountain visitors can enjoy the wonderful monument that is the Rhodes Memorial. The area was purchased by British mining magnate and politician, Cecil Rhodes, in 1895, costing him £9000 at the time. The area was bought in order to preserve a section of the mountain for future generations.The design of the area is based on Hyde Park Corner, London, and there are 49 steps to the monument, representing the 49 years during which Rhodes was alive. There is a restaurant and tea garden behind the monument for visitors to enjoy and a steep path can be accessed in order to reach the King’s Blockhouse.
Vacation rentals in Cape town (Western Cape)
How to get there ?
The second largest city in South Africa is also home to the second largest airport in the country. The Cape Town International Airport has connections with a great number of cities in South Africa, as well as flights to cities in Africa and across the world.It is likely that if you are heading to Cape Town from outside of South Africa, then your flight will be operated by South African Airways. If not, then it is likely one of the other major operators, such as Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM, Singapore Airlines, Malaysian and Emirates, will be getting you to Cape Town.Domestic flights arrive from Johannesburg, Durban and the other major South African Cities. International flights fly to and from several Namibian cities, as well as the international cities of Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Doha, Dubai, Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur, London, Paris, and Singapore.Once at the airport, visitors can take one of the frequent MyCiti buses to the city centre. Buses arrive three times per hour throughout the day and are a simple way to get straight into downtown Cape Town from the airport.Taking a trains from around South Africa is highly recommended as many of the lines run along the coast offering spectacular views of the country once you have reached South Africa.
Cape town city hall
Cape town twins towns, sister cities
Discover the cape town's international relations with partnership cities and friendship cities.
Hotels in Cape town (Western Cape)