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Cape Town

Cape Town – A Cosmopolitan City On The Tip Of Africa

Cape Town South Africa is the second largest populated city in the country, and the largest in actual land area. It is the legislative Capital of South Africa, and one of the most prominent features is of course the harbor and table mountain. It is much more than this, and there are many different reasons it attracts millions of visitors each year. From its wondrous shopping and dining opportunities, to tourist attractions. It is also a starting point from which many wonderful excursions into the African wilderness are taken. There are so many things to see and do here, you can come here many times and still not see it all.

capetown sunrise

If you are at all interested in the political history of South Africa, then a tour of Robben Island is something that you cannot miss. Once the prison of  Nelson Mandela, this island has a 400 year history of imprisonment, and exile. Once a maximum security prison, it is now a museum, and Cape Town’s World Heritage Site.

There is a three hour tour of the facility, including round trip across Table Bay, to the island that is 12 kilometers away. Ex prisoners now offer to take visitors on a guided tour, interacting with them and giving their own experiences of what life here was like. “Never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land shall ever experience oppression of one by another,” is a famous quote made by Mandela in 1994.

Another site not to miss is the oldest building in South Africa, the Castle of Good Hope. Built between 1666 and 1679, it was created by the Dutch East India Company, it replaced an earlier timber and clay fort erected some 14 years beforehand. This pentagon shaped fortress not only offers guided tours, but self tours with the use of a map in seven different languages. Traditional ceremonies can also be witnessed at 10 in the morning and 12 noon by the Castle Guard.

At the very Southern tip of Africa lies the Cape of Good Hope, or Cape Point as it is also called, and this is where you will find Table Mountain National park. This area is world renowned for its hazardous seas, and many a ship has crashed in this area, trying to cross from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic, or the other way.

Now a National Park, it has many walking trails, allowing you to see an abundance of flora as well as both marine and land wild life. You can even walk to the very end of the tip, to look back at the cape, including Cape Town and the surrounding area, giving you a glimpse of what sailors must have seen as they traversed its treacherous waters.

CapetownWhat trip to Cape Town would be complete without an adventure to the Green Market Square, one of Cape Town’s oldest open air markets. Located in the city center, this cobble stone square offers tourists a chance to purchase African clothing, curios, and many other items from a variety of different stands. When you need a break, there are also an abundance of different cafes and restaurants surrounding the square, providing a lavish assortment of food and drink. This shopping mecca dates back hundreds of years, to when sailors coming here would stop and sell their wares from around the world, and that atmosphere can still be experienced today.

This is just a few of the many different attractions that Cape Town has to offer. Did you know that penguins actually call this area home? If you want to see them, then go to Boulders Beach, near the quaint village of Simons Town. Here you will see a large population of African Penguins, who live here because of the lack of natural predators in this area. They feed in False Bay, and are looked after and protected as part of the Table Mountain National Park system. You have to stay on the walkways, in order to make sure you are not disturbing their natural habitat.

Cape Town is also the gateway for the Cape Winelands, and incredibly beautiful region, producing some of the best wines in the world.

Close to Cape Town you will also find Hermanus, were you are able to see whales in the bay area, while eating fine seafood and sipping champagne.

For the more adventurous, you can also do Great White Shark cage diving.

From Cape Town you can also join up with one of the many different wilderness adventures around South Africa. Whether it is guided safaris into the Pilanesberg Game Reserve from the backs of elephants, to overland adventures in Kruger National Park, or traveling through the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. There are over 20 different National Parks to choose from, each with its own variety of things to see and do. Whether you want to spend time experiencing native tribes, gaze at a host of wild animals, or go on a real white water adventure, there are more choices than you can hope to do in a lifetime.