Welcome to Cape Town
Cape Town, South Africa’s scenic city on the Cape Peninsula, blends natural wonders with a sense of history and a modern sophistication. Come along as we take a virtual tour to some of the area’s most significant sites.
No attraction defines Cape Town quite like Table Mountain. This flat-topped peak, located within Table Mountain National Park, looms over the city. A trip to Cape Town wouldn’t be complete without taking in the view from the top of the mountain, voted one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Table Mountain Cable Car
To reach the top of Table Mountain, take a ride on the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. Before the cableway opened in 1929, the only way to reach the top of the iconic mountain was on foot. Today, passengers ride one of two cable cars with rotating floors to allow for 360-degree views on the 5-minute ride up.
Hiking to Kasteelspoort
For one of the best views from the top of Table Mountain, hike the Kasteelspoort route. This trail leads to the site of the old Table Mountain cable car on the Twelve Apostles side. From the top, you’ll be rewarded with stellar views over the Atlantic Ocean and Camps Bay.
Colorful streets of the Bo-Kaap
Bo-Kaap means “Upper Cape,” and it’s hard to miss this neighborhood, thanks to its brightly painted houses. The area was established in the 1760s as a neighborhood for enslaved (and later emancipated) Cape Malays – people brought from Indonesia, Malaysia and Africa to work in the Cape Peninsula.
Cape Malay curry
Cape Town’s rich cultural heritage and position along the spice route to India means a varied culinary landscape. No trip to Cape Town would be complete without tucking into some Cape Malay curry, a sweet and savory dish that graces the menus of curry shops throughout the Bo-Kaap.
Twelve Apostles from Camps Bay
Among Cape Town’s many beautiful beaches, Camps Bay ranks among the trendiest. This chic suburb beneath the towering Twelve Apostles is home to a wide swath of sand, tide pools, cocktail bars and some of the city’s top restaurants.
View from Lion’s Head
For some of the best views of Cape Town and Table Mountain, take the 8-mile round trip hike to the top of Lion’s Head. The trail winds around the conical mountain, offering up views of the city from many angles. If you happen to be in Cape Town during a full moon, make the hike up in late afternoon in time for a sunset picnic at the peak – a popular local pastime.
West Coast National Park in bloom
Just up the coast from Cape Town, you’ll find West Coast National Park. From September to November (springtime in South Africa), the park’s fields of wildflowers put on a spectacular display of color. Throughout the rest of the year, the park is popular for kite boarding, swimming and birdwatching.
Gallery: Photos show why the Madeira Islands were just named the best island destination in Europe for the 7th time in 8 years (INSIDER)
Robben Island Prison
Visit Robben Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to learn more about Cape Town’s troubled history of apartheid. During this period, the island was used as a high security prison for political prisoners. Nelson Mandela served much of his sentence here. Today, it’s a solemn memorial to those once incarcerated.
The Cape Winelands ranks as the largest wine-producing region in South Africa. Visit Groot Constantia, the country’s oldest wine estate, to sample some of the award-winning wines. The estate is perhaps best known for its Grand Constance, a sweet wine favored by Napoleon Bonaparte that is produced nowhere else in the world.
From Cape Town, visitors can make a day trip to one of South Africa’s oldest towns. Simon’s Town (sometimes misspelled Simonstown) is home to the nation’s largest Naval base. It’s also known for its Cape Dutch architecture, museums and picturesque waterfront.
Fish and chips (“slapjtips”)
Hungry visitors to Cape Town won’t want to miss the chance to try fish and chips (known locally as “slapjtips”). For the best iteration of the dish, head to the Salty Sea Dog near the harbor in Simon’s Town.
While you’re in Simon’s Town, snap a photo with the statue of Just Nuisance. This Great Dane was the only dog ever officially enlisted in the Royal Navy, where he served at HMS Afrikander from 1939 to 1944. You’ll find his statue in Jubilee Square.
African penguins at Boulders Beach
A visit to Simon’s Town also means the chance to spot some African penguins in the wild. Some 3,000 of these delightful birds call Boulders Beach home. The sandy beach, named for its granite boulders strewn along its expanse, doubles as a popular swimming beach protected from wind and large waves.
Crystal Pools hiking
Hiking enthusiasts will find no shortage of trails in the Cape Town area. A favorite is Crystal Pools near Gordon’s Bay, about an hour outside the city. The trail winds for about 45 minutes through the Steenbras Nature Reserve, culminating in a series of natural pools perfect for a cooling swim.
Dolphin & whale watching
While many a visitor comes to South Africa to see the Big Five, you won’t want to miss the marine life just off the coast of Cape Town either. During the annual migration (May to November), it’s possible to spot southern right, humpback and Bryde’s whales, as well as pods of bottlenose dolphins.
One of the most spectacular promontories on the Cape Peninsula coast lies 37 miles outside Cape Town. The stone cliffs and scenic bays of Cape Point have long served as a navigational landmark. Come for the views from the lighthouse and stay for the birdwatching, or a meal with a view from the popular Two Oceans Restaurant.
Oranjezicht City Farm Market
The Oranjezicht City Farm Market, also known as the organic market, takes place along the Victoria and Albert Waterfront on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays. Visitors and locals shop for produce, fresh-cut flowers, artisan goods, freshly baked pastries and ready-to-eat cooked foods.
The Long March to Freedom
Cape Town’s Long March to Freedom statues get their name from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, published in 1994. The installation comprises a procession of 100 life-size bronze statues of some of South Africa’s most prominent icons from four centuries of South African history.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
The Cape Floral region near Cape Town is known for fynbos plants found nowhere else in the world. See them at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden at the foot of Table Mountain. It was the first botanical garden in the world to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
You’ll find one of the most colorful (and frequently photographed) spots in Cape Town at Muizenberg Beach. Retro wooden bathing chalets line the sand of this popular surf beach.
10Best is a part of the USA TODAY Network, providing an authentically local point of view on destinations around the world, in addition to travel and lifestyle advice.
Source: Read Full Article