Home to the iconic Table Mountain, producer of some of the world’s most exquisite wines and set on probably the most striking backdrop on the planet, Cape Town is a fascinating, vibrant and cosmopolitan destination which allures millions of visitors to its shores every year.
For thousands of years Cape Town was inhabited by the Standloper (an ancestor of the Kalahari Bushmen) before 1652 when Jan Van Riebeeck of the Dutch East India Company was sent with some other employees to the Cape to establish a way-station for ships travelling to the Dutch East Indies. The city grew slowly during this period before Britain captures Cape Town in 1795. The Cape was returned to the Netherlands by treaty in 1803 but was once again occupied by the British in 1806. 1814 saw Cape Town permanently ceded to Britain following the Anglo-Dutch Treaty. The discovery of diamonds in the area in 1869 and the Witwatersrand Gold Rush of 1886 led to a flood of immigrants to South Africa. 1910 saw the Cape Colony unified with two Boer Republics and the British colony of Natal and saw Cape Town crowned as the legislative capital of the union. Cape Town later became the legislative capital of South Africa and remains so to this day.
Getting In & Getting Around
Cape Town International Airport is the second largest airport in South Africa chartering flights from a whole host of international destinations including London, New York, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Singapore. The airport is located some 22km (15.5 miles) east of the city centre and is linked by shuttle bus services. The best way to get around the city centre is on foot but as this can get very tiring metered taxis are a great alternative. Safe, reliable and affordable metered taxis can be ordered at any time day or night. A suburban train network operates five routes which serve defined areas and a bus network operates in and around the city.
Culture, Sights & Attractions
Cape Town is one of the most iconic cities in the world home to some of the most striking natural sights, impressive attractions and stunning scenery. Table Mountain is the city’s defining landmark and one of the great tourist attractions in South Africa. Take a cable car up to the top for breathtaking views over the city and the bay or, for the more energetic traveller, you can hike to the top. The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is one of the most beautiful in the world. Here you can stroll the harbour, indulge in some retail therapy or relax and admire the scenery at a pavement café. The vibrant Bo Kaap is a popular spot. Situated on the slopes of Signal Hill this area is rich in history, culture and cobbled streets lined with brightly coloured buildings.
The food in Cape Town is generally excellent with so much choice and variety of cuisine of offer. There are various places where you will find great places to eat. The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a popular area with a range of restaurants and cafés and for hip eateries the De Waterkant and Camps Bay areas boast a great selection. To sample fresh seafood, crayfish in particular, the Hout Bay area is popular and for something a bit different head out to the Cape Winelands and enjoy some good food and wine whilst looking out over the famous vineyards.
Outside The City
Visiting Cape Town means you can see some of the many wonders South Africa has to offer. On the Cape Peninsula you can swim and sunbathe with the native penguins at Boulders Beach, admire the views over False Bay at Simon’s Town then enjoy some fish and chips at Hout Bay. Venture out to the world famous Cape Winelands – Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll and sample some of South Africa’s finest. The Overberg region offers great spots for whale watching and quaint towns in which to relax and the Bontebok National Park is great for some animal watching. The renowned Garden Route in the Western Cape is a popular scenic stretch where you can visit the Big Tree, hike the otter trail and surf in Plettenburg Bay amongst other things.
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