Cape Town was named the best place in the world to visit by The New York Times in 2014!
"Perhaps it was history that ordained that it be here, at the Cape of Good Hope, that we should lay the foundation stone of our new nation. For it was here at this Cape, over three centuries ago, that there began the fateful convergence of the peoples of Africa, Europe and Asia on these shores." Former President Nelson Mandela, during his inauguration speech on May 9, 1994
Cape Town was home to the first heart transplant, performed in 1967. Cape Town is the only city in the world that sits on the Indian and Atlantic Oceans and in South Africa, it's called the Mother City, since it was the first metropolis in the country.
The second-most populous city in South Africa, Cape Town is the seat of the National Parliament, and the legislative capital of the country. The city is famous for its harbour, its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom and its well-known landmarks such as Table Mountain and Cape Point.
Today, Cape Town is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa.
What to See
Top of the World: Cape Town has several well-known natural features that attract tourists, most notably Table Mountain which forms a large part of the Table Mountain National Park and is the back end of the City Bowl. You can reach the top of the mountain by hiking or taking the Table Mountain Cableway.
Surf or Sun: The beaches of Cape Town are known for their surfing waves, warm water and even, penguins!
History of Freedom: The city has several notable cultural attractions. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront (V&A), built on top of part of the docks of the Port of Cape Town, is the city's most visited tourist attraction. There you can visit the Two Oceans Aquarium and travel from the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island via ferries. On Robben Island, you can visit the prison where Nelson Mandela was held and the accompanying museums.
Cape Town is noted for its architectural heritage, with the highest density of Cape Dutch style buildings in the world. Cape Dutch style, which combines the architectural traditions of the Netherlands, Germany, France and Indonesia, is most visible in Constantia, the Central Business District, and along Long Street
Flora and Fauna: The city also encloses the 36 hectare Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden that contains protected natural forest and fynbos along with a variety of animals and birds. There are over 7,000 species in cultivation at Kirstenbosch, including many rare and threatened species of the Cape Floristic Region. In 2004 this Region, including Kirstenbosch, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is possible to take a ferry from the V&A to Hout Bay, a historic and still-working fishing village and also to see the Cape (brown) fur seal colonies on Seal and Duiker Islands.
Wine and Dine: Less than an hour away from Cape Town, the Cape Winelands region is the source of many legendary Cape wines, the product of row upon row of grapevines, many of which were first planted hundreds of years ago.
Its classic Cape-Dutch homesteads, mountainous surrounds, grand heritage and sumptuous restaurants have earned the Cape Winelands the right to call itself South Africa's culinary capital.
Apart from a wide choice of wine estate cellars lined with top-class wines, visitors will discover a variety of locally produced cheese, olives, export-quality fruits and organic produce to sample and buy.
Cape Town has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate. October means spring in South Africa and the spring weather in Cape Town is mild. Average temperatures range between 15 degrees in September and 17 degrees in October with plenty of days in the [mid] twenties. Cape Town's average amount of sunshine per year (3,100 hours) compares favourably with that of Los Angeles and exceeds that of Athens and Madrid.
Cape Town International Airport is South Africa's second largest airport. Catch the convenient My CiTi Airport Shuttle between the Cape Town International Airport and Cape Town city centre. The Airport service runs every twenty minutes.
The convenient My CiTi Bus Service runs interim routes within the City Centre from Gardens to the Civic Centre in Town and on to the V&A Waterfront. Table View is also serviced by My CiTi busses between the West Coast and City Centre.
A public bus service, called Golden Arrow, operates across the main areas of the city; however, this is mainly focused on commuter transport.
A train service, Metrorail, operates across the main areas of the city; however, this is also predominantly focused on commuter transport with the exception of the scenic Southern Line Rail Route. Stretching from Cape Town to Simon's Town, the Southern Line meanders through varying urban landscapes before hitting the rugged False Bay coastline and from Muizenberg the train travels along the coast with views of the mountain on one side and ocean on the other.
Minibus taxis operate across the city and offer fast public transport along major routes. Boarding points are throughout the city, but beware these can be harrowing experiences. The upside is that minibus taxis are frequently available, convenient and inexpensive. There are no route maps for these services but you can't miss the network across the city.
See you soon in Cape Town!
For information about tours in Cape Town, click here.