Like a painting on canvas, Cape Town South Africa, nestled under the shades of the austere and grandiose Table Mountain, appears like a harmony of textures and colors.
It is an amazing sight to see cable cars ascending from the mountain’s flat top, which is an ideal location to view the city and its busy harbor.
Boats are on their way towards Robben Island in Table Bay where the nefarious prison that once held Nelson Mandela stands. Interestingly enough, this place is now a living museum.
Cape Town South Africa welcomed many new visitors from around the world and re-established itself as a great place for tourists to explore.
While it has been a firm favorite for many Europeans seeking to escape the depths of winter, many travelers’ eyes to the natural beauty and modern appeal of the ‘Mother City’.
Getting Around Cape Town South Africa
It’s best to rent a small vehicle when you come to Cape Town, as everything is easily accessible by car.
This way you can comfortably explore the city’s surrounding areas and perhaps even take a drive along the Stellenbosch wine route.
If you’re planning on staying in the city centre, however, you can use the recently implemented My Citi buses to get around, or take a taxi.
You can travel to Cape Town by plane, ship, train or cross-country by car. Once you reach the city, there are various ways to get around the metropolis…especially biking South Africa
You can walk, take a taxi, hire a car or use the City Sightseeing bus, that gives you the option of hopping on and off at several major attractions that dotted the day.
If you are commuting, you can catch the My Citi bus from various points. But prior to your trip, you need to buy a ‘myconnect’ bus card from the main station at the Civic Centre in Hertzog Boulevard or from retailers along the area. There are route timetables and up-to-date costs found in MyCiTi website.
While the city center is relatively safe during the day, it is important to remain vigilant and never walk alone at night.
Sights to see in Cape Town South Africa
Today, tourists find their way to this South African city for it is rewarding to see sculpted balconies filled with colorful blooms, streets lined with shady leafy trees, mosques with their onion-shaped domes and exotic minarets.
Like an open canvas of art, you encounter natural beauty or a visit to their museums that echoes the historical period of South African.
Cape Town is second among the most populous urban areas in South Africa.
Majestic Table Mountain
An absolute must-see when you’re in Cape Town is the view from atop the majestic Table Mountain, which you can either hike up or ride a cable car to the top.
Make sure to go on a clear, sunny day when you can see the beautiful sights of the city down below, without having clouds in your way.
If you enjoy historical buildings, don’t miss the Castle of Good Hope, which is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa.
Built in an interesting star shape, the building served as a fortress and has remained exceptionally well-preserved, allowing visitors to experience a relic first hand.
The four beaches in Clifton are broken by giant granite boulders that are easily reached by steps found along Victoria Rd.
They provide the best spot for sunbathing as they are always sheltered from the wind. Vendors hawk drinks and ice creams along the beach and sun loungers and shades are available.
District Six Museum
The museum displays a floor map that former residents labeled as their demolished homes. It also showed where their former neighborhood once stood; as well as the reconstructions of home interiors.
There are exhibits of faded photographs and recordings. Most museum staff, who was practically displaced residents themselves, has heartbreaking stories to tell.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
These 52,800-sq-km botanical gardens are among the most beautiful in the world. The Tree Canopy Walkway has a curvaceous steel and timber bridge that go up through the trees and provides amazing views. T
here are more than 9000 of Southern Africa’s 22,000 plant species grown here. See the elevated fragrance garden to sample the scents of the plants, walk a Braille trail, navigate through a kopje (hill) planted with pelargoniums and browse in a garden full of useful plants.
Clad in rose- and gold-veined black marble, the building contains the most impressive of the City Bowl’s collection of art deco structures.
It features one of the longest continuous stone friezes in the world, designed by Ivan Mitford-Barberton and sculptured by master stonemasons the Lorenzi brothers.
Much of the building’s original detail and decoration have been preserved, including the impressive central banking space but unfortunately not open for general viewing.
South African Jewish Museum
This museum is so secured that you need a photo ID to enter the compound that is not only an imaginatively designed museum but formerly a synagogue. Built in 1905 in Neo-Egyptian style, it functions as a beautifully decorated Great Synagogue.
The museum partly occupies the beautifully restored Old Synagogue. Marvel at the splendid and permanent exhibit of Japanese Art’s Hidden Treasures that showcased an exquisite collection of carved pieces of ivory and wood.
South Africa Museum
As the oldest museum, it contains a wide and often intriguing series of exhibits of the country’s natural history. The best galleries showcased the art and culture of the area’s first peoples, the Khoekhoen and San. There’s an extraordinary delicacy to the paintings, particularly the ones of graceful elands.
St. George Cathedral
Commonly known as the People’s Cathedral, this was one of the few places of worship that was open to people of all races during apartheid.
The interior is a cool retreat but search out for the Siyahamba Labyrinth in the cloisters that is a paved circular walking path to aid mediation and spiritual relief.
Designed by Sir Herbert Baker at the turn of the 19th century, mass then was often offered by the indomitable Archbishop Desmond Tutu; he also made the cathedral a focal point for the opposition during the tyrannical Afrikaner regime. View and appreciate the exhibits around the Memory & Witness Centre in the crypt
Food in Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town has a great selection of international cuisines to offer, as well as traditional South African restaurants.
If you enjoy seafood, drive over to Hout Bay for delicious calamari on the seaside or grab some fresh fish at Minato Japanese sushi restaurant.
As the staple food, a typical family eats ‘pap’ –a fluffy porridge made from maize mixed with stew gravy.
Because South Africans love their food, Cape Town has a variety of restaurants.
A Rainbow cuisine is just right for a rainbow nation. You have only to stroll down Long Street to savor various foods that South Africans enjoy.
Whatever your food choice is, from Italian to Mexican to Chinese, there is probably no country that isn’t being represented gastronomically.
For great burgers, Neighbourhood and Royale Eatery on Long Street are popular picks, with Neighbourhood offering great Mojitos (2 for 1 during happy hour!) and a fun bar vibe.
For some retail therapy, V&A Waterfront and Century City/Canal Walk boast a vast selection of stores and are also great places to go for restaurants, bars, cinemas, and local attractions.
Once the sun sets, Cape Town’s vibrant nightlife comes alive at clubs like Assembly, The Fez, and Mercury Live, promising the latest music and friendly people.
They love their meat preferably beef; meat is always the main portion of any meal. Aside from grilled meat, they also have a penchant for dried meat, or Biltong.
Catch a glimpse of the country’s specialties from B – W:
- Biltong – This is made from salty dried meat usually beef or kudu, but also from ostrich and even rhino.
- Bobotie – This Malay-origin dish is similar to your meatloaf, with raisins and baked egg on top; it is served with yellow rice, banana slices, and chutney.
- Boerewors – This is the African version of a thick sausage that is traditionally braised.
- Bunny Chow – A hollowed half-loaf of bread stuffed with curry.
- Chakalaka – An Indian/Malay origin dish, this garnish or food accompaniment that is a mixture of carrots, cauliflower, garlic, ginger, green pepper and spiced with chilies and curry.
- Koeksisters – This is Afrikaans twisted pastries that are deep fried and heavily sweetened.
- Melktert – Tart or dessert made from milk.
- Potjiekos – Are the traditional Afrikaans stew, made with meat, veggies and cooked over coals in cast-iron pots.
- Rusks – Are the rectangular, hard and dry biscuits eaten with tea or coffee, like biscuits, they are dunk in warm beverages. You can make your own, or buy them in any store.
- Sosaties – Internationally called kebabs; they made from marinated meat grilled, on skewer.
- Umngqusho – Is the staple food of the Xhosa people that consisted of sugar beans and white maize mixture.
- Waterblommetjie – Is a meat stewed with the flower of the Cape Pondweed
After your trip to Cape Town South Africa, you’d have experienced almost everything possible from a nice guided city tour through an adrenaline kick in an old fighter jet.
Preserve those fond memories of your visit to the museums, food adventure in gastronomic restaurants savoring native delicacies, thrilling clubs, adventurous tours and a fun-filled walk into one of the visitor’s centers.
If there was only a fountain, you would have thrown coins to guarantee your return!
(photo credits: Nicolas Mamberti – Kyknoord – gego2605)