Why Capetown, South Africa Is The Place To Be

Cape Town is a city port near South Africa’s south-west coast, it is a peninsula beneath the towering Table Mountain, currently ranking third amongst the populated urban areas in South Africa, The city is home to an array of natural beaches and bountiful vineyards. Everyone needs to visit Capetown and revel in these iconic places:

TABLE MOUNTAIN

The iconic table mountain in South Africa is part of the official seven wonders of the world, Looking at it from below is one thing, but it is quite magical to be atop the mountain, from where one can view such wonderful picturesque of the entire Cape Town, Robben Island, The Peninsula and beyond. The trip to the top is an adventure in itself, as tourists are safely transported from the lower cable station to the top of the mountain and back. The journey takes no more than 5 minutes and the high tech cable car gives tourists the best view of the city. The cable cars arrive every 10 – 15 minutes and it operates 7 days a week, with the first car heading up at 8:00 am. Visitors to Table Mountain can enjoy wonderful views of the Rock Hyrax (Dassie) scuttling along the rocks, lizards plying around, butterflies flitting past and you might even get to see some of the porcupines digging for bulbs. The bird life is wonderful too, from the mighty Verreaux Eagles to the small colourful sunbirds. All these creatures resides in the fynbos, and 100’s of these plant species occur no where else on the planet.

BOULDERS AFRICAN PENGUIN COLONY

This wind sheltered beach with its safe sandy shores, houses over 2000 endangered African Penguins. The regulated access to this beach by the SAN parks authority ensures that it’s always clean and tidy and that the facilities are well maintained. The beach is usually scanty and is a real hit with little ones as it offers a very soothing and warm ocean swimming experience. Boulders Beach has plenty of decent restaurant, café and accommodation offerings close to the gates (although no one sells anything inside the reserve precinct).   A beautiful summer’s day spent at Boulders is tough to beat, but don’t get too close to the Penguins as they have a nasty nip on them. To view the African Penguins and their breeding sites, a superb walkway has been established that takes the visitor on an intimate tour of the area, these endangered birds call home.  African Penguins were previously referred to as the “Jackass” Penguin due to their donkey-like call, but a more diplomatic choice of name saw them re-named as African Penguins.  The area is patrolled by park rangers to ensure both the tourists safety and the safety of the birds.

CAPE WINELANDS

The Winelands are just an hour away from Cape Town, though it’s a very scenic and interesting hour – but this popular Cape Winelands feel like a different world. There are rolling vineyards, encompassing mountains, historic wine estates and more than enough wine to keep even the thirstiest throat satisfied. Cape wineland enjoys an impressive reputation, and the Winelands are home to most of South Africa’s premium wine estates. The good news is that nearly every farm and estate in the area offers wine-tasting: you’ll need a designated driver though. Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch are the largest, nearest and most famous towns in the region, but the further you go the more you’ll discover other winelands. The Winelands, and their rustic, rural gems such as Robertson and Montagu, offer more than just wine presses and vineyards:

Fairview Wine Estate
The cheeky goats in front of the Goatshed Restaurant gives your camera something to snap. They have completely stolen the limelight from all that this lovely wine estate has to offer: three wineries producing well-loved wines; a cheesery and a range of top-notch olive oils.

Stellenbosch Wine Route
At this dedicated Wine Route office, staff are on hand to help you make your own tour to suit your priorities: big classic wines or new unusual tastes, restaurants or child-friendly activities.

CONTINENTAL TASTE AND FLAVORS

Cape Town offers adventurous eaters, tastes from across the African continent, be it Xhosa fare like samp (crushed maize used in porridge) and marog (African spinach), spongy injeras (flatbreads) from Ethiopia, or Malay cuisine which is an offshoot of South East Asian heritage dishes . For an authentic taste of Cape Malay food (samosas, lamb denningvleis, or mild chicken kalya) head to Biesmiellah’s. For dishes from across the local regions, try Nyoni’s Kraal, which delivers sumptious braaivleis (barbecue), Malay curries, amangina also known as chicken feet and smileys (sheep’s heads). For something more universally appealing, try the Africa Cafe, where you’ll have your pick of everything from Xhosa spinach patties and Mozambican peri-peri prawns to Ethiopian lamb. There are more African foods at Marco’s African Place. The menu includes specialities like Zwelethu’s Favourite Chicken (simmered with onions and peppers) and a platter of pan-fried springbok, ostrich and kudu fillets. End your meal with the tongue-in-cheek white and dark chocolate mousses. You can taste the food of Ethiopia at the beautiful and authentically decorated Addis in Cape, where you are encouraged to eat with your hands, mopping up every drop sauce with pieces of injera (flatbread).

ROBBEN ISLAND AND ITS APARTHEID HISTORY

A symbol both of centuries of cruel oppression and the triumph of hope, Robben Island became synonymous with the former leader of the free and democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who spent 18 years in its prison. For nearly 400 years the island served as a place of banishment – not just for supposed criminals but also for lepers and the mentally ill. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999. The limestone quarry, where political prisoners toiled away doing hard labour in the blazing heat, and Mandela’s claustrophobic cell in the prison are but a few of the harrowing reminders of the the apartheid era, and of the final defeat of the regime. Fascinating and inspirational, Robben Island is a must-visit.

TWO OCEANS AQUARIUM

 
Comprising of over 3000 marine creatures on display – including sharks, turtles and penguins – the Two Oceans Aquarium is among the finest aquariums in the world. Situated in Portswood Square, the aquarium showcases the unique marine life of the Atlantic and Indian oceans which lie on both side of the Cape of Good Hope. The inviting and often interactive displays offer an educational and entertaining experience that will appeal to young and old alike. The galleries and exhibitions presents South Africa’s rich aquatic life like the following:

Oceans of Contrast – Atlantic Ocean Gallery: Allows visitors a peek into the life of the cold Atlantic Ocean. Come face to face with translucent jellyfish, see a tiny, rare Knysna seahorse for the first time and introduce yourself to the giant spider crabs that call the Two Oceans Aquarium home.

Predator Exhibit: Here you can stare at the ragged-tooth sharks and stingrays. If you have an Open diving qualification you can dive in the predators’ tank. Not for the faint-hearted though. Visitors can come along and watch the staff feed the sharks on Sunday afternoons.

Afrisam Children’s Centre: Fun activities are on display for kids between the ages of four and ten – there are puppet shows, face painting and supervised arts and crafts activities.

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