Colorful Cape Town is one of the most multi-racial
cities in the world. The city sits on South Africas Cape Peninsula, where the waters of the Atlantic
and Indian Oceans converge, and spectacular mountains tumble towards the sea. For centuries, the Cape of Good Hope
was synonymous with danger, as European ships bravely rounded the perilous
waters on route to the riches of Asia. To resupply those passing ships,
the Dutch created a tiny outpost in 1652, a settlement that would blossom into one of
the most beautiful cities, in one of the most breathtaking settings
For decades, Cape Town has been buffeted too, by the cross-winds of social upheaval. But just like those early ships, Cape Town had endured some of historys
most turbulent waters, and set course to an optimistic future. This is a city that despite its challenges, shines as an example of hope,
not only to South Africa, but to the world. Cape Towns central area is situated in the City Bowl.
This amphitheater-shaped area begins
at the edge of Table Bay and is backed by the iconic two-mile long
plateau of Table Mountain. Near the bowls center, youll find The Castle of Good Hope. This Dutch East India fort was the center
point from which the city grew. Nearby, visit Companys Garden, whose rich soils were cultivated to provide
fresh produce for those early merchant ships.
All around the gardens, some of the citys most important institutions
sprang up, such as the Parliament Building,
and the National Library. On the parks southern end, in the South African Museum and Planetarium, experience the wonders of Africa, from the power of pre-colonial rock art
to the giants of The Capes natural world. While just a few steps away, centuries of creativity are on full display
at the National Gallery. Fusing both contemporary and old-world architecture, the nearby South African Jewish Museum stands
as a tribute to a community that has done much to shape the country.
Just a few blocks away, dont miss
the District Six Museum. This museum and cultural center gives voice
to the 60,000 non-white residents who were forcibly removed from the city and
saw their vibrant multi-racial neighborhood flattened during the darkest days of the Apartheid Era. Thankfully, one neighborhood that was spared from apartheids wrecking ball, is Bo-Kaap. Despite decades of racial segregation, traditional Cape Malay culture proudly continues
amid the row houses and cobbled streets of this incredibly colorful hillside suburb.
Post-apartheid South Africa is often called
The Rainbow Nation, and like a pot of gold at the end of
that rainbow, diversity, transformation and creativity shines out from
the citys downtown streets, from its businesses,
from its very walls. If youre passionate about coffee, stop by for an espresso, or maybe two, at Truth, a steampunk coffee shop that welcomes devotees
from all over the world. Once youve had your caffeine fix, wander along Long Street,
where elegant Victorian architecture, fashion, and food collide, creating one of The Mother Citys
buzziest streets. When the coffee wears off, sit on a balcony with an ice-cold beer and
watch the world slip by below.
The spirit of rejuvenation continues at the
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. At South Africas oldest working harbor, spend the day exploring attractions, such as Two Oceans Aquarium, which celebrates
life beneath the waves of both the Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. The waterfront is also the gateway to one of the worlds most infamous prisons, Robben Island. Journey across the waters of Table Bay to
experience the damp prison walls and windswept yards, and to listen to stories told
by former inmates.
For three centuries this was a place of exile, largely unknown by the outside world, until 1964 when the anti-apartheid revolutionary,
Nelson Mandela was imprisoned here for 18 years. A visit here is a reminder of just how far
South Africa has travelled on the long road to freedom. Mandela would one day rise, to become more than South Africas first
black presidenthe became the father of the nation, and inspired countless millions around the world. Mandela once said that it was the presence of Table Mountain, across those four miles of water, that inspired him throughout his long years
on Robben Island.
Wherever you are on the Cape, Table Mountain is there, a beloved landmark that helps locals and
visitors alike to find their way. The closer you get to the mists of Table Mountain, the more its spirit can be felt. At Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, gaze up at the mountains eastern face, then explore South Africas many biomes
and the Boomslang walkway which snakes its way through the arboretum canopy. From the gardens, take one of the walking trails
up the mountain, or climb aboard the Cableway for
the spectacular ride to the viewing area.
From here, take in the views of Signal Hill, Devils
Peak, and Lions Head, all the way out to Robben Island and beyond. Cape Town is one of the worlds great beach cities, with countless beaches, bays
and seaside communities, each with its own unique vibe. From Green Point, the site of Cape Towns
futuristic stadium, head down the western coast of the Cape Peninsula
to one incredible beach after another. Starting at the city center, the wide promenade of Milton Beach is a great
place to stretch your legs.
A little further south in Clifton, some of the countrys most expensive homes spill down
from the peninsula to the four beaches below, each one separated by falls of granite boulders
which offer great shelter on windy days. While a house at Clifton will set you back
millions, the views of the sparkling Atlantic,
Lions Head, and The Twelve Apostles are just as theyve always been, free. At neighboring Camps Bay Beach
the St Tropez theme continues. Just a 5-minute drive from the center of
Cape Town, enjoy fine white sands, a tranquil tidal pool and your pick of over
20 restaurants and cafs.
Six miles down the coast, things mellow out even more,
at Llandudno Beach. Pull on a wetsuit and enjoy the waves, or
just explore the massive granite boulders. Life is simple here, theres no street lights,
no restaurants, and not a single shop. When your belly starts to grumble, pop around the headland to the fishing village of Hout Bay.
Cool off with a craft beer,
see whats cooking at the markets, then hang out with locals down by the
tuna and crayfish boats. Once youve explored the peninsula's western coastline, the eastern side awaits. Welcome to False Bay,
where the waters are warmer, and the never-ending sweep of beaches and
scenic seaports continues. At the naval port of Simons Town, head down the historic mile of St.
George's Street. Soak up the nautical spirit, say hello to
a much-loved sea dog, and explore the alleyways and lacey Victorian
buildings along the way. Dont leave Simons Town until youve visited
Boulders Beach, one of the few places in the world where you
can get close to endangered African Penguins. False Bay was once dotted with humble farming and whaling villages, like Fish Hoek.
From here, follow the coastal walk around
to Kalk Bay, where writers, musicians and artists have replaced the whalers
and lime burners of yesteryear. Thankfully, the bays fishing boats still
put out to sea, ensuring the local restaurants are always
well-stocked with the freshest seafood. When it comes time to drag yourself away, head to neighboring St James, known for its colorful Victorian bathing boxes
and grand old houses which reflect the splendor of the early diamond
and gold-mining era. Right next door, the mood changes again, at Muizenberg, home to some of the most laid-back vibes in
With its warm, shallow water
its the perfect beach for families. And if youve ever wanted to surf, this is the place to learn! Muizies is after all, the birthplace of South African surfing. While the beach at Muizies can get packed
in summer, youll find plenty of cool escapes in the
streets of this arty village. From here, over 12 miles of fine sands stretch all the way around to historic Gordons Bay.
Just around the corner at Kogel Bay, the only sounds youll hear are the pebbles
and shells rolling in with the incoming tide. Cape Towns riches dont end with its beaches, its also blessed with some of the best
wine growing country in the world. The Capes first vines were planted in Companys Gardens in 1655 to help those passing sailors ward off scurvy. But the roots of the nations winemaking industry
really took hold just twenty minutes drive away, in the suburb of Constantia.
In the late 1600s, hundreds of vines
were planted here, along with rows of oaks to shield them from
the harsh Cape winds. From here those vines spread, far beyond Cape Town, into a region now known
as The Winelands. Choose from 18 different wine routes centered
around historic villages and towns, and discover vast vineyards in settings that
will take your breath away. Many of the estates are characterized by historic
Cape Dutch-style manors, as well as restaurants and tasting rooms where you can savor the very essence
of this fertile land.
After touring the acclaimed wineries of Paarl, such as Laborie, and Vrede en ****, explore the streets and architecture of this
300-year-old town. High above Paarl stands the Taal Monument,
which celebrates the Language of Afrikaans, a language that was forbidden during the bitter
aftermath of the Anglo-Boer War in 1902. The Stellenbosch Wine Route, South Africa's oldest, offers more than 150 tasting rooms across
200 vineyards. At the Waterford Estate take a 2-hour wine
safari through the Bordeaux-inspired estate, then taste some of the most exciting new reds
in the region.
Just a 30 minute drive from Stellenbosch, and only 50 from Cape Town, is perhaps the most beautiful wine route
of them all, the Franschhoek Wine Route. Fleeing religious persecution
in 17th century Europe, 200 French Huguenots, came to this valley, and created paradise. Today, Franschhoek is considered the food
and wine capital of South Africa. At Boschendal, one of the countrys very
first estates, the influence, style and passion of the French
It also lingers in the town itself, in the galleries, the museums,
and in the memorial, which depicts a female figure casting off
the cloak of oppression and gazing towards an optimistic future. Before you head back to Cape Town, head up Franschhoek Pass, one of the Capes most scenic drives. High in the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve,
soak up the views of the valley below, and wander hillsides filled with proteas, a flower first discovered on the Cape and
now cultivated all over the world. In local tradition, the Protea represents transformation, courage and hope.
Cape Town is a city which shares the same soil, so its not surprising that it embodies
those same qualities too. But Cape Town is more than just a single flower, its a garden. From its earliest days as a resupply station
for passing sailors, through the bitter harvests of the Apartheid era, this is a garden where hands of every color
have planted seeds of hope, and have held the fruits of freedom. So come, and savor the colors, hope and freedom,
of Cape Town..