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Cape Town,SOUTH AFRICA

City of the Two Oceans and the Magnificent Mountains.

Cape Town is located at the south western tip of the African continent and it is South Africa’s legislative capital. Not just its rugged landscape and the iconic natural landmarks – Table Mountain, Signal Hill and the Twelve Apostles, Cape town’s beauty also lies in its timelessly beautiful beaches, vineyards and the unique flora and fauna dotting its coastlines.  Often called the “Mother City”,its complex colonial history has created an a truly magnificent diversity.  Famed for centuries as the Tavern of the Seas, Cape Town today is a cosmopolitan and vibrant city in a beautiful setting – part of it in the slopes of the Table Mountain and other parts lie in the flats below stretching southwards towards False Bay.

Head to Victoria & Alfred Waterfront located at the foot of Signal Hill and on the shores of the gorgeous Table Bay. This is Cape Town’s tourist magnet – a place where people gather to eat, drink, shop, party while admiring the breathtaking views of Table Mountain and blue waters of the Table Bay.  The city’s rich history and thriving culture is at full display here. The place is packed with attractions and activities, you can spend an entire day here and end with a stunning view of the sunset.

Start your Victoria & Alfred Waterfront experience with a walking tour. The waterfront is part of the harbour dating back to 17th century is dotted with many landmarks that shaped the history of Cape Town – Clock Tower, Port Captain’s Office, the Pump house, Robinson dry docks and also a Swing bridge. There is also a public square called the Nobel Square that has sculptures of South Africa’s four Nobel Peace prize winners. The Two Oceans Aquarium displays the incredible diversity of Atlantic and Indian Oceans including an African Penguin enclosure. A large warehouse next to the aquarium – Watershedhouses 100s of vendors selling in the best of South Africa’s art and crafts. Victoria Wharf is one of the most popular shopping destinations in the continent. The are countless restaurants, cafes, and pubs in the waterfront but for best food options head over to the Food Market. The market features vendors selling street food from around the world including Sushi, Thai, Malay,and Mexican cuisines. From Ferries Wheel to Cruises, Shopping or Dining this place has it all to spend an entire day. There are number of cruises that you can take – harbour cruise, the sunset cruise, or a boat ride to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in confinement.

The most amazing attraction in Cape Town is undoubtedly the flat-topped Table Mountain. It provides abreath-taking backdrop to the city and is visible from every part of it. Getting to the top of the mountain is a must-do activity. Take the gondola to the top to get sweeping views of the Cape Peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean far and wide. From the top you get panoramic views of the breathtaking beauty of entire city. Best times are early morning or late afternoon.  Be prepared to spend at least a couple of hours since there are much more than just the views down below from every angle. The plateau on the top is almost 3 Kms long with Devil’s Peak to the east and by Lion’s Head to the west. At times there are thick fog cover and it moves from one side to the other in just few minutes.

From coast to coast Cape Town’s pristine beaches with its soft white sand and majestic blue waters are of timeless beauty through out the year. The spectacular backdrop of the Cape Mountains makes the beaches the most scenic in the world. Closer to the city center and situated in one the most affluent neighbourhood Clifton Beach is the local’s favourite. Comprising of four beaches separated by giant boulders, each of the beaches has its own personality from laid back to trendy. Just down the road is the curving crescent of Camps’ Bay. With the Twelve Apostles in the backdrop this is perhaps the best of all. About 20 kms down south on the way to Hout Bay is the Llandudno. Its rocky coastline has a piece of soft cove that can be reached through a narrow winding road through a hillside neighbourhood. Further away from the city is Blouberg– the stretch consists of Dolphin Beach, Small and Big Beach. These are best known for being quiet and good for wind related sports like kite surfing.

Further down in the Western Cape on a slightly warmer sea is the Boulders Beach and Muizenberg. Boulders Beach is just beyond picturesque Simon’s Town and home to a colony of African Penguins that are endangered. The penguins walking past the boulders are a highly entertaining sight. Muizenberg with its warmer waters and Victorian bath houses is the place to go to learn surfing.

To see all these beaches drive down to the Chapman’s Peak from Camps Bay the 9 km coastal road on the Cape Peninsula is one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world. Stretching from Hout Bay to Noordhoek with 114 bends between the sea and the cliffs leading to Chapman’s Peak.  At about 500 feet elevation it offers some breathtaking views of the Ocean and the mountains. Further down is Cape Point the end of Cape Peninsula and part of Table Mountain National Park. Cape Point is about 50 kms south of Cape Town, the drive can take almost half a day as you stop by to see many of the attractions like the Penguins at the Boulders Beach, Seal Island at Hout Bay, Kirstenbosch Gardens and the UNESCO world heritage site – Cape of Good Hope The southwestern tip of the African Continent that used to be the stopping point for trading ships sailing between Europe and Asia before Suez Canal was built.Although many believe that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of the African Continent and dividing line between the Atlantic and India Oceans –the distinction goes to Cape Aghulas, which is much further down towards east

Cape Point is one of the end points of the Cape Peninsula and a must visit for its rugged landscape and the diverse wild life.A funicular named Flying Dutchman takes you to lighthouse at Cape Point.  You can even walk up there in about 100 stairs.  Once at the top you get to see the Tip of the Continent and vast expanse of the Ocean with nothing in between up to Antarctica.  On the way back stop at the Stellenbosch- a small town surrounded by the vineyards of Cape Wine lands with its oak-shaded streets lined with cafes, boutiques, and art galleries.

While in the city, do visit Bokaap one of the oldest residential areas on Cape Town. Perhaps the most photographed area of the City for its brightly painted houses and quaint cobbled streets. Then there is the Castle of Good Hope a 17th century fort built by the Dutch East India Company. For the cosmopolitan and the urban vibe visit Green Point a popular leisure district an extension of Sea Point that’s has a Promenade There are jogging trails, a lighthouse, and a biodiversity garden planted with indigenous flora. The park is also home to Cape Town Stadium, built for 2010 soccer world cup. Cafes, Bars, Italian restaurants, burger joints, steakhouses, and fish eateries line Main Road.

Best Place to Stay – City Bowl area which includes the V&A waterfront is perhaps the best but also the most expensive. This is where you are close to everything that Cape Town has to offer and normally all tours and excursions starts from here. Then you have Woodstock and De Waterkant that are trendy and affordable. Sea point-its promenade stretches for several kilometers lined with many restaurants serving global cuisines. Our personal favorite is Green Point which is an upmarket neighbour of Sea Point. It is steps away from the V&A waterfront and close to the stunning beaches in the Atlantic seaboard.

Transportation – Cape Town has a Metro rail Transit System and a commuter bus service as well. The MyCiti bus is a quick and easy way to get around the city and surrounds. There are plenty of City Sightseeing tour buses which are perhaps the best way to see City and its surroundings. Uber and Taxis are also there. A car is the best for sights away from the city.

Best Time to visit – Peak Summer from December to February is the best times to visit Cape Town. Late April to early June also provides some clear weather for hiking. For whale watching and to see migratory birds it is between July to September.

Currency – The Rand is the official currency of South Africa.  ZA is the symbol.  Foreign currencies can be exchanged at the banks and at the airport.

Recommended Itinerary – A 5-day itinerary is a must; if you love adventure and keen to explore further and do some whale watching keep a day extra for it.

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This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. Samantha

    Wow, the penguins on the beach are quite a site. That makes me want to visit on its own. Add in those beautiful landscape views, and I’m sold!

    1. Urge To XPLORE

      Certainly the most beautiful place we have been thus far. You must make it there some day.

  2. Carrie

    Cape Town is high on my list of places to visit! Beaches, hiking & culture – my favorite things!

    1. Urge To XPLORE

      Thanks Carrie. You will love Cape Town.

  3. Suz

    Excellent, thorough write up about Cape Town! Love all the detail. When I was in the area, I stayed in South Cape, near Boulder Beach, so I didn’t do all the Cape Town touristy things (though I did climb up to the top of Table Mountain – I mean, you’ve gotta go up Table Mountain, right?!).
    I’d flown to Capetown from safaris in eastern So. Africa, and rented a car, because one of my goals was to go to Cape Argulhas – I love visiting places with a designation like “southernmost tip of the continent” or the confluence of 2 oceans. I drove down all along the coast, which was spectacular! The day was waning fast after enjoying Argulhas, so I decided to head north and through the farm country back to Simon’s Town, and that landscape was completely different; I’m glad of that decision…sometimes serendipity yields the coolest experiences.
    Thanks for this wonderful article about Cape Town!

    1. Urge To XPLORE

      Thanks Suz.

  4. Holly

    Gotta admit, penguins caught my eye but oh my goodness the views are amazing. I would love to visit Africa one day but to be honest it is not on the agreed Bucket between The Big Guy & I but, lol, you never know.. Nice post!

    1. Urge To XPLORE

      Thanks Suz. Glad you liked the write-up. Cape Argulhas is supposed to be the meeting point of the two oceans. Stay at Camp’s bay just minutes from downtown and drive down to Chapeman’s Peak – the most scenic drive we have ever been. From there keep driving southwards past Hout Bay – it’s one heck of an adventure.

  5. Cathy

    So beautiful! Love the Penguins and the Lighthouse! I have to go there someday! Thanks for the great info.!

    1. Urge To XPLORE

      Thanks Cathy. It’s the only place where you get to see African Penguins in natural setting.

  6. Would love to visit Cape Town. My wife has been to Africa with mission trips but would love to take the family just for a vacation. Thank you for sharing such good info.

    1. Urge To XPLORE

      Thanks Greg. You will love it.

  7. Ajay Sharma

    Cape Town is a dream city and I want to visit there someday!

    1. Urge To XPLORE

      Thanks Ajay.

  8. Alycia Holland

    Definitely on my bucket list! Great post!

    1. Urge To XPLORE

      I am sure you will love it Alycia.

  9. O its magnificent city! Cape Town has been on the list of my travel destinations of life. Maybe someday I will visit and taste the local food of this mesmerizing town of SA.

    1. Urge To XPLORE

      It is indeed mesmerizing.

  10. Jim

    I have been there!! Such an amazing town! You have taken very nice pictures too! Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Urge To XPLORE

      Thanks Jim

  11. Erin

    Great article! Definitely would love to go here someday.

  12. Daniella

    Great article about the Mother City – reminds me why I go back year after year.

  13. Nikki Lamprecht

    What a beautiful city!! I grew up in the Western Cape but moved to JHB 7 years ago. Miss it so much xx Thanks for sharing

    1. Urge To XPLORE

      Yes indeed Nikki. I lived in JHB for sometime and only visited Western Cape once.

  14. Krista

    The harbour looks amazing! I can imagine strolling around there would be so enjoyable!

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