Cape Town is a prominent destination on many of our Africa tours, acting as a highlight for most people during their time on the continent. South Africa’s legislative capital attracts travellers from all over the world, but people have many different reasons for their visit. Which of these experiences would you look forward to the most when in Cape Town?
Lying at one end of the fabled Garden Route, Cape Town has many beautiful spots from which to soak up the views, see the local wildlife and generally appreciate the breathtaking natural characteristics of the city and its surroundings. Just south of the city centre, you’ll find 85 square miles of Table Mountain National Park, featuring plenty of hiking opportunities, indigenous flora and, of course, Table Mountain itself.
On the eastern extreme, there’s Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Here you can see more than 7,000 species of plants and trees, relax in the various shops and restaurants, and look down on the vegetation from the treetop walkway. Finally, lovers of the animal kingdom should venture further south to Boulders Beach, on the Cape Peninsula, to witness the cheeky penguins getting up to no good.
Some of these activities are likely to overlap with those aimed at nature lovers, but the chances are if you like the great outdoors you will love to stay active. Some options to get the pulse racing include hiking through Skeleton Gorge via the Nursery Ravine Walk, which offers fantastic views of Table Mountain, and taking the cable car to the top of the peak itself. If you want to get really extreme, though, you could choose to abseil down the side of this famous precipice.
Other wild activities include cage diving with sharks, paragliding, sandboarding and a range of exciting water sports in the various different bays.
If you really want to get to know the story of Cape Town, you need to delve into the history of a country that has been through some tough times. Robben Island is a small patch of land off the coast of Cape Town, known for being the place where Nelson Mandela spent a large part of his time behind bars. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, allowing people to visit the actual cell in which the former president was held and hear the story of some of the prisoners. The island is also home to many World War II remnants and ships that have run aground over the years.
Back on the mainland, you can extend your history knowledge in a number of other places. The V&A Waterfront is a nice place to do some shopping and enjoy a meal, but it can also share stories of the city’s maritime past. Elsewhere in town, the District Six Museum will help you learn about how the introduction of apartheid forced the black people living here out of their homes.
Anyone who knows the difference between a grape and a raisin will be able to tell you that South Africa is one of the world’s premier wine regions, especially for varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinotage and Chenin Blanc. The best place in Cape Town to try the local vintages is in the suburb of Constantia. There is a designated wine route that winds its way through the valley, stopping at 10 different estates which all offer wine tasting for visitors.
These vineyards are owned by some of the youngest winemakers in the world, each trying to push the boundaries and create innovative new products for wine lovers to enjoy. There are many great restaurants in the area too and some fantastic little spots for soaking up the sun and admiring the wonderful views.
If you are planning a tour of Africa or a visit to Cape Town, we can help you create the perfect trip. Whether you are looking to enjoy nature, learn some history or just taste some of the delicious wines produced here, we will help you find an itinerary you will love.
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