Cape Town

Cape Town

The Cape Town metropolitan area offers the visitor everything that he or she could possibly desire. There is everything here, from mountains to beaches, giant sand dunes, vineyards which offer some of the finest vintages on Earth, a complete cross section of life and far too much to list in just a few words.

The Cape Towns City Bowl is full of things to see and do - all within easy walking distance. The Castle of Good Hope, one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town, is situated just above the railway station.

At the southern tip of the Cape peninsula is the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve which stretches from Schuster's Bay in the West around forty kilometres of coastline to Smitswinkel Bay in the East. This 7750 hectare fynbos reserve has more species than the whole of the United Kingdom and these are chiefly heathers and proteas. Several species of buck are to be found here as well as baboons and zebra.

Few of the world's coastal cities have as famous a backdrop as Cape Town. Table Mountain looms over the city, its face changing hour by hour as the sun moves through the heavens shifting the shadows on the giant mountain. The mountain is situated in the Table Mountain National Park and this covers an area exceeding 2700 hectares, encompassing Signal Hill and Lion's Head. There are more than 500 ways of climbing to the summit of Table Mountain, but the easiest is by cable car, the lower station being situated on Tafelberg Road.

Some of the best scenery and flora can be found in Cape Town's Silvermine Nature Reserve which extends from the Muizenberg area to Noordhoek Peak in the East. There are several designated walks in the reserve and they offer some breathtaking views of False Bay. In the centre of False Bay is Seal Island, home to some 50000 seals, which are best seen during the summer months of the mating season. Simonstown on the west side of False Bay houses South Africa's main naval base.

The port of Cape Town is arguably the most famous of all African ports and is equipped for most ships. There is a large container port and two dry docks, the larger of which is more than 350 metres in length. Part of the old port has been renovated and turned into the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, a mixture of restaurants, pubs, up-market shops and even a craft market. The Two Oceans Aquarium has wonderful displays of sharks, penguins, and many more creatures found in the nearby waters, including a kelp forest. The Waterfront is a must for any visitor to Cape Town, and boat trips to Robben Island start from here. The city of Cape Town is served by a major International Airport, which is situated in the city's eastern suburbs.

If you're visiting Cape Town in summer, be sure to see the colourful faces of the Minstrel Carnival that takes place every January through the downtown streets.

There's also lots to see and do outside the City Bowl. Just around the corner towards the Southern Suburbs you'll find the Rhodes Memorial, just above the University of Cape Town, which affords a magnificent view across most of Cape Town Metropole. A little further down the M3 road is the world class Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Newlands, which was once part of the Cecil Rhodes estate. Every Sunday throughout the summer the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts take place here in the main garden.

The Atlantic Coast offers a multitude of holiday resorts and beaches. Far to the North of the main city is Bloubergstrand, and from here you will enjoy the finest views of the city with Table Mountain as the backdrop and Robben Island in the foreground. Here you can watch dolphins playing the whole year round. On the peninsula to the south of the port are the suburbs of Granger Bay, Three Anchor Bay, Sea Point, Bantry Bay and Clifton Beach, Camps Bay, Llandudno and Hout Bay. Drive further south past Chapman's Peak to Kommetjie, a rustic village famous for its crayfish, and Scarborough, a village well-known for its indigenous gardens.

Cape Town is a large and cosmopolitan city with the world to offer to the visitor. The city is just the setting off point for the rest of the Fairest Cape From here the visitor can explore the Winelands and experience some of the finest wines in the world. Along the coast the N2 leads to the Garden Route and the Klein Karoo, and the N1 takes you through the vast open plains of the Great Karoo, a semi arid desert that was once covered with salt marshes.

Cape Town Information