Cape Town is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and backed by the magnificent Table Mountain. The views from the top are awe-inspiring, taking in the city, the ocean with Robben Island and winelands fringed with distant mountain ranges. The vibrant heart of Cape Town is the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront with its restaurants, cinemas, bars and boutiques (Victoria is the late Queen, and Alfred her 2nd son who inaugurated the project). A harbour cruise may provide sightings of whales, seals, sea birds and perhaps great white sharks. A trip to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held captive for many years, will be on most visitor’s agenda. There is also an impressive aquarium and one of the largest craft markets in the whole of South Africa. Many museums and historic buildings are situated in the City Bowl.
On the slopes of Table Mountain is the unmissable Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden displaying typical plants of the fynbos vegetation including proteas, restios (Cape reeds) and ericas (heaths). Sunbirds are invariably in evidence as they fly between the proteas, pollinating the flowers as they feed. As a contrast and a reminder of South Africa’s apartheid past, a Township tour can take you safely to townships and squatter camps of the Cape Flats.
Table Mountain is a 1087m flat-topped massif at the northern end of the Cape peninsula dominating Cape Town. The Table Mountain National Park is rich in flora and indigenous mammals including hyrax, baboon and porcupines. Beware baboons they may invade your car! The heights may be reached by the scenic cable car or climbed by the more adventurous. The latter can be hazardous because of sudden changes in weather, visibility and the presence of thieves. A mountain guide and proper equipment is to be recommended.
Cape Town boasts numerous attractive beaches for relaxation and water sports. Popular Camps Bay is a short drive from the city centre, Clifton has four sheltered beaches of differing character, Blouberg strand around 25 km north of Cape Town provides a seemingly endless sandy beach backed by dunes with picturesque vistas off the Bay and Table Mountain. It can often be windy here, making it a great venue for kite-surfers.