Cape Town is home to some of South Africa's most popular and renowned attractions. When visiting the Mother City, here are a few must see attractions that you will be talking about until your next exciting visit.
One of Cape Town's must see attractions, Table Mountain is definitely the city's most famous landmark. Millions of tourists descend on this cosmopolitan city annually just to catch a glimpse of this natural masterpiece. This majestic mountain stands at 1086 metres above sea level. Table Mountain has long been a favourite for hikers, and there are more than 100 scenic ways to climb this mountain.
The most popular way to experience the breathtaking beauty of this mountain is without a doubt the Cable Car, where you can enjoy views from all directions. Table Mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, which is home to a unique diversity of flora, fauna and avi-fauna.
Wooden walkways and designated paths have been developed to allow you to explore this sanctuary without disturbing or damaging the breathtaking plant life. Your trip up Table Mountain may include a lunch stop, as there is a restaurant selling exceptional food and refreshments, followed by gift shopping at the small curio shop.
For those interested in the fascinating history of South Africa, a nostalgic trip to Robben Island should be on your list of 'must do' activities. Robben Island was and still is a prominent figure in the struggle of Apartheid and the democracy of South Africa. Robben Island has been a place of exile for nearly 400 years, a place where trouble makers, outcasts and criminals were sent.
Since the abolishment of Apartheid, Robben Island has been an acting museum and one of Cape Town's, if not South Africa's, top tourist attractions. Robben Island is also a pivotal figure in the history of South Africa and one of the country's eight World Heritage Sites.
Access to Robben Island is via a ferry which departs from the dock in the V&A Waterfront on a daily basis. What used to be the prison is now a museum reflecting the rich history of the island and South Africa. Former prisoners of the island will be your guide through this fascinating piece of South African history, guaranteeing an accurate depiction of life on the island. This tour is approximately 3 and a half hours, including the half hour ferry trip each way. Refreshments can be purchased on the island, and there is a small curio shop for souvenirs.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront:
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, most commonly referred to as V&A Waterfront or simply the Waterfront, is the historic heart of Cape Town's working harbour, and one of South Africa's and Cape Town's most popular, most visited and must see attractions. It boasts the highest rate of foreign visitors of any other attraction in the country. No trip to Cape Town would be complete without visiting this Capetonian treasure.
Set against the backdrop of the majestic Table Mountain and situated within easy ferry access to Robben Island, the V&A Waterfront is a hub for shopping, dining and entertainment, and offers a wonderful combination of hotels, business locations and luxury apartments. It also houses the world famous Two Oceans Aquarium, as well as the popular jazz club, Mannenberg's Jazz Cafe.
The bustling Waterfront mall is a great place to enjoy some retail therapy, and houses world class boutiques, restaurants, retail outlets and numerous coffee shops, including the popular Mugg and Bean. There is also a number of touristy curio shops for you to stock up on souvenirs.
Cape Town beaches:
Cape Town is most probably best known for its many wonderful beaches catering to all needs. There are social beaches where the rich and beautiful flock to, lovely family beaches with life guards and tidal pools, great beaches for surfing and other water activities, as well as calm, secluded, white sand beaches for relaxation, walking and getting away from it all.
The most popular beaches are those on the Atlantic Seaboard, including Clifton and its four beaches, as well as Camps Bay and the bustling promenade of Sea Point and Three Anchor Bay. This promenade is where you will find joggers, dog walkers and roller bladers, all making full use of Cape Town's great weather and beautiful setting.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens:
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens is a place of beauty and natural diversity of the Cape flora, and is home to only indigenous South African flora. This estate covers 528 hectares of land and is home to a diverse flora fynbos and natural forest. Guests can enjoy witnessing some of South Africa's most beautiful and interesting flora, as well as an abundant birdlife.
There are also a few restaurants in the garden where you can enjoy a tranquil al fresco meal while listening to the birds chirp. Musical concerts are also held during the summer months, and are a pleasure to enjoy sunset concerts on the lawns. There is also craft markets at the Stone Cottages opposite Kirstenbosch held on the last Sunday of every month. Hikers will also be catered for as there are a number of trails which lead through the natural forest and fynbos surrounding the developed garden.
The spectacular and world renowned Cape Winelands is definitely an experience not to be missed and one of Cape Town's must see attractions. Experience some of the finest wines in the world while touring this breathtaking region. The Cape Winelands is the largest wine producing region in South Africa and is divided into 6 main wine regions, each unique and special in their own right. Constantia, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Robertson and Wellington are the most popular.
The Cape Winelands is home to over 200 cellars, and guests will get a chance to explore these cellars, as well as taste some of these world class wines. This is an area of rolling vineyards, classic Cape Dutch homesteads, museums and art galleries, as well as world renowned restaurants, so guests will never be bored while visiting this amazing region. The wine region of Stellenbosch is probably the best known region of the Cape Winelands and produces some of the country's most acclaimed wines, including Spier, Welmoed, Delair and Saxenburg.
The Franschhoek Valley, even though it is popular for its wines, is most well known as the gourmet capital of the Western Cape. The restaurants in this area are world renowned and the cuisine is exceptional, of course complimented by the finest of wines. The chefs are world recognized, and, even though quite pricey, it is well worth it.
It may not be the southernmost tip of Africa, or the place where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet, but that does not make Cape Point any less spectacular. Often described as the 'Fairest Cape of all', a name originally given by Sir Francis Drake, the first sailor to circumnavigate the world, this area is notorious for its rugged sea cliffs, fierce winds, treacherous waters, shipwrecks and baboons. However, it is also famous for its beautiful beaches, the old Lighthouse and the host of activities that guests can enjoy while spending the day there.
The Lighthouse was built in 1860 but was often hidden by clouds, resulting in a newer one being built in 1914. Perched further down the cliffs, it is the most powerful lighthouse in South Africa. Cape Point offers a myriad of things for visitors to do, including paths for strolls and longer walks. The Shipwreck trail is a great coastal walk starting at Olifantsbos on the western side of the reserve.
There is also a great two day hike for avid explorers called the Cape of Good Hope Trail where you can experience the fauna and flora of the famous Cape Floral Kingdom. The Hoerikwaggo Trail is quite a popular trail which starts in the Cape Town city and travels across Table Mountain. The eastern region of Bordjiesdrif and Buffels Bay offers safe tidal pools for swimming, as well as lovely picnic and braai spots.
Cycling is also a great way to explore the area, with some companies even providing bikes for hire. Cape Point is also great for birding enthusiasts, and you may be able to spot Peregrine Falcons and African Black Oystercatchers to name a few. There is also a wonderful restaurant where guests can relish delicious meals while enjoying stunning views. This is a good escape from the wind and nosy baboons of Cape Point.