PRESIDING OVER IT is the magnificent Table Mountain. One of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, it boasts a distinctive 3km level plateau and is surrounded by a stunning wildlife reserve. Of course, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel is superbly placed at its foot. Pack a picnic and hike or ride a cable car to the peak for uninterrupted views over the city and out to sea.
Indeed, the Cape’s unusual geography provides The Mother City with a spectacular coastline. The mingling of the cool Atlantic with the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean has resulted in incredibly diverse beaches. Locals claim there are more than thirty surf spots within an hour’s drive of town.
There’s plenty to pick from in the regions surrounding Cape Town too. Whether you want to explore the winelands of Stellenbosch or whale watch at Hermanus, the magic of rural South Africa is just a short drive away.
Yet focusing solely on Cape Town’s natural treasures misses the point of what makes it so special. It is a lively and cosmopolitan city with culinary traditions that draw influence from Europe and Asia as well as Africa. Try Cape Malay curry, chakalaka (a spicy vegetable relish) and melktert (custard tart) to get to the heart of its traditional cuisine. Africa’s finest coffee can be found at the hip cafés on Bree Street while the eclectic Kloof Street offers stylish, independent eateries sure to make your mouth water.
The city caters for all tastes. Named the World Design Capital in 2014, there’s plenty for art enthusiasts to enjoy too. Head to day or night markets at the Old Biscuit Mill, where over 100 artisanal traders showcase their wares. Take walking tours of Bo-Kaap or De Waterkant, or enjoy one of the city’s many galleries. We particularly recommend Worldart and Whatiftheworld, both of which celebrate the progressive local art scene.
More local designs can be found in the sprawling townships, which also provide a necessary reminder of apartheid’s legacy. History enthusiasts should head to Museum Mile—District Six is particularly fascinating. Visit Cape Town City Hall, where Nelson Mandela addressed the world upon his release from prison. Robben Island itself is a must-see; ex-prisoners guide the harrowing tour, giving a unique insight into the nation’s history.
Cape Town truly is one-of-a-kind. Come and experience it your way.
District Six Museum: Named after the Sixth Municipal District of Cape Town, the museum looks at South Africa’s history of marginalisation and the broader impacts of apartheid.
Heart of Cape Town Museum: Situated in Cape Town’s Observatory—where the first human heart transplant occurred in 1967—visitors experience an interactive tour looking back on the surgery and its implications for society.
Iziko South African Museum and Planetarium: This museum’s comprehensive collection stretches from indigenous artefacts to exhibitions on modern history.
Cape Town Diamond Museum: A veritable treasure trove. Learn about the history of diamond mining and see some of the world’s most precious gems.
South African Jewish Museum: This museum houses Cape Town’s oldest synagogue and explores the history of South Africa’s strong Jewish community.
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