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Cape Town was originally established as a supply station for Dutch East Indies’ ships that were headed east. Its holds a picturesque location on the South African coast, offering stunning bay and ocean views with Table Mountain as a scenic backdrop. It is considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa, because of its outstanding scenery, mild climate and great tourist facilities.

A coming-together of cultures, cuisines and landscapes, there's nowhere quite like Cape Town, a singularly beautiful city crowned by the magnificent Table Mountain National Park.

Human creativity is also self-evident here – it's one of the things that made the city a World Design Capital in 2014. From the brightly painted facades of the Bo-Kaap and the bathing chalets of Muizenberg to the Afro-chic decor of its restaurants and bars and the striking street art and innovation incubators of the East City and Woodstock, this is one great-looking metropolis.

Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and traditional African beliefs coexist peacefully in this proudly multicultural city. Given South Africa’s troubled history, such harmony has been hard-won and remains fragile: nearly everyone has a fascinating, sometimes heartbreaking story to tell. It’s a city of determined pioneers – from the Afrikaner descendants of the original Dutch colonists and the majority coloured community to the descendants of European Jewish immigrants and more recent Xhosa (isiXhosa) migrants from the Eastern Cape. They all bring unique flavours to Cape Town’s rich melting pot.

  1. Muizenberg Beach- Muizenberg Beach is a coastal suburb of Cape Town. The sandy beach isn’t very long, but the water is warmer to swim in than other Cape Beaches. Its biggest attraction, however, may be the waves that make it popular with surfers; it is where surfing began in South Africa. Muizenberg Beach is a good place to learn this water sport, with lessons readily available. The area fell into disrepair in the late 20th century, but is now pulling itself back up to its former splendor. Non-beach attractions include the house that Cecil Rhodes built and where he died in 1902.
  2. Castle of Good Hope - The Castle of Good Hope, shaped like a pentagon, is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa. The Dutch East India Company started construction on it in 1666 to replenish supplies for ships; its gate design includes the coats of arms of several Dutch cities. It is a Cape military installation today, as well as home to the Castle Military Museum and the Iziko Museums of Cape Town. The Military Museum tells the history of the Cape, while the Iziko Museum displays historical paintings and antique furniture, known as the William Fehr collection.
  3. Kirstenbosch - The Kirstenbosch National Botanic Gardens, established in 1913, is one of the world’s great botanical gardens, and was the first to concentrate on a country’s native plants. Kirstenbosch features not only plants from the Cape area but also from throughout southern Africa. The garden is set against a backdrop of Table Mountain, a fact that offers visitors some pretty stunning views. Hikers may enjoy a walk on the trail that starts in the garden and leads to the top of Table Mountain. Kirstenbosch is the most famous of nine national botanical gardens in South Africa.
  4. Cape Point - Spectacular scenery is a good reason to visit Cape Point, located at the very end of the Cape Peninsula. Less than 65 km (40 miles) from Cape Town, Cape Point is extremely picturesque with high boulders and stunning ocean views. Part of the Table Mountain National Park, Cape Point is home to about 250 species of birds as well as baboons and zebra. Its tremendous variety of plant life helps make Cape Point a photographer’s paradise. Visitors have a choice of walking a steep path or taking a funicular to the lighthouse atop the boulders.
  5. Clifton Beach - Cape Town has some of the best city beaches in the world to offer. Clifton Beach is certainly the trendiest of them all and is situated on the west Atlantic side only ten minutes from the city center. Clifton is actually a series of four beaches separated by a stretch of granite boulders. All the beaches have almost pure white sand and offer beautiful views and sunsets. Unfortunately though the water looks blue and appealing, is in fact always very chilly averaging around 12 to 16 °C, and only bearable on a hot summer day.
  6. Bo-Kaap -Bo-Kaap, also known as the Malay Quarter, is a colorful neighborhood not far from central Cape Town. Its brightly painted, uniquely-styled houses, some dating back to the 18th century, and cobblestone streets create marvelous photo opps for visitors. Bo-Kaap is a multicultural area, home to Muslim mosques and shrines, and the Bo-Kaap Museum that showcases the life of early Muslims in the area. The museum also features 19th century furnishings found in Cape Town homes of that era. Previous visitors say the best way to explore Bo-Kaap is on foot.
  7. Victoria and Alfred Waterfront - The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is considered one of South Africa’s most popular attractions, with its stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, Table Bay and Table Mountain. Named for the British Queen Victoria and her youngest son Alfred, who tipped the first stones for the breakwater back in the 1860s, the historic waterfront today boasts a variety of shops, restaurants and nightlife. The waterfront also is home to art galleries, an aquarium, an amphitheater with live entertainment that is usually free, and a ship museum, among other attractions.
  8. Boulders Beach Penguin Colony- there aren’t too many places in the world where one can walk on the beach, sunbathe or swim with penguins as companions, but Boulders Beach is one of them. Two penguins settled on this beach, an hour’s drive from Cape Town, in 1982. Now more than 2,000 penguins call this beach home. These are African penguins, sometimes called “jackass” penguins because their chirps sound more like a donkey’s bray than a bird tweet. The path to the penguin area is wheel-chair accessible and allows visitors to get within a few feet of the penguins. While the penguins are used to humans, visitors should look, but not touch them, as they may bite if they get scared.
  9. Robben Island - Located just off the coast of Cape Town, Robben Island is not a place to go if visitors are looking only for a good time. Over a span of three centuries, Robben Island was used as a military base, a hospital for those with socially unacceptable diseases such as lepers and as a prison for political prisoners. Its most famous prisoner was undoubtedly Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned here for 18 years; he went on to become president of South Africa following his release. Today Robben Island is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cape Town and can be reached by ferry from the V&A Waterfront.
  10. Table Mountain- Situated within a national park, reaching the pinnacle of the Table Mountain is an thrilling experience that offers phenomenal, birds-eye views overlooking the city of Cape Town, Robben Island to the north, and the Atlantic seaboard to the west and south. Peaking at 1,086 meters (3,563 ft), the top can easily be reached via an ingenuous cableway, and each Rotair car features revolving floors allowing passengers to enjoy 360-degree views during the trek to the top.
  1. Neighbourgoods Market, Woodstock - This seething weekend market at the Old Biscuit Mill in the heart of the Woodstock neighbourhood is a must for any street food lover. The problem is deciding what not to order from the 100-odd stalls. It’s difficult to resist the mushroom kebabs from Funki Fungi, farm-fresh raw veggies at SaladLover, or chef ShaynSchutte’s smoky beef brisket at the newest stand, Pulled & Roasted. • Mains R50-70 (£3-4), Old Biscuit Mill, 373 Albert
  2. Bacon On Bree, city centre - Bree Street is one of Cape Town’s hippest food and drink venues, with places such as Jason Bakery, Culture Club Cheese and Mother’s Ruin, a gin joint stocked with locally distilled brands such as Woodstock, Musgrave and Jorgensen. And the newest bar on the block is dedicated to the humble bacon butty, elevated to irresistible gourmet levels by chef Richard Bosman, who is what South Africans call a fleischmeister of charcuterie. • Bacon butty £2.60, 217 Bree Street, +27 21 422 2798.
  3. Biesmiellah, Bo-Kaap - The Bo-Kaapneighbourhood, with its brightly painted houses, is becomingone of the most fashionable parts of town, and the venerable Biesmiellah, which has been serving the community’s traditional Cape Malay cuisine for 40 years, has just had a total revamp. Diners sit in a spacious, colourful cafe with huge windows looking out across Table Mountain. In keeping with Cape Malay customs, the cuisine is halal and no alcohol is served. The surprise about the dishes is that signature curries are much milder than recipes from south-east Asia because, as the owner, Momeena Osman, explains: “When the Malay slaves arrived here, they cooked their home cuisine but with our own subtle spices, which are not so fiery.” Don’t miss the specialtydenningvleis, a tender sweet-and-sour lamb stew, and the unforgettable bobotie, spiced minced beef baked with egg-soaked bread and sultanas.• Mains from £5.20, 2 Wale Street, +27 21 423 0850.
  4. Woodstock Grill & Tap, Woodstock - Cape Town has long been a goldmine for craft ale, but in this recently opened Woodstock locale, meat and beer lovers can have the best of both worlds. Begin with a tour of the state-of-the-art brewery on the ground floor, and then walk up to the bright, modern dining room and long red-brick bar. On the menu are some exceptional IPA, malt and stout, accompanied by juicy giant steaks of dry-aged meat that comes straight from its own meat locker. • Beer pairing £5.20, 252 Albert Road, +27 21 447 0934.
  5. Marco’s African Place, Bo-Kaap - There are several lively African restaurants in town but Marco’s is the one that really succeeds in attracting groups of foreign visitors alongside locals, so you never feel you’re part of a touristy cultural show. Marco himself mixes with the guests but keeps a regular eye on the kitchen, where his band of chefs specialize in hearty local dishes, such as oxtail curry, umleqwa spicy freerange chicken and a signature smoked wild-game carpaccio of springbok, kudu, ostrich and impala. • Mains from £6.70, 15 Rose Lane, +27 21 423 5412.
  6. Publik Wine Bar, city centre - There is no better bar in Cape Town to discover the latest trends in South African wines than this dimly lit watering hole right in the city centre. Behind the bar, Christie and Jesse enthusiastically uncork the latest bottles by independent organic and biodynamic vignerons, and small tasting tumblers of five different wines cost just R100 (£6). • £8.80 for charcuterie and cheese platter for two, 81 Church Street.
  7. Asoka - This top-notch Asian-inspired bar and restaurant is a favorite among locals. Situated in a trendy little spot on Kloof Street, the color-coordinated décor is based on FengShui design principles using the elements fire, wood, copper and water to bring harmony to the surroundings. Enjoy famous cocktails unique to Asoka that utilize fresh fruits, herbs and juices, which they whip up right in front of you• 68 Kloof Street, Cape Town, South Africa, +27 214 220 909
  8. Beerhouse - Located along the bustling Long Street, Beerhouse is a real-life-fantasy bar for beer-lovers. This one-of-a-kind contemporary bar boasts a menu that consists of 25 taps and a legendary 99 bottles of local and international beer, 75 percent of which are brewed locally. • 223 Long St., Cape Town City Center, Cape Town, South Africa, +27 214 243 370
  9. Banana Jam Café - Banana Jam Café is a Caribbean-themed bar and restaurant, suitable for anyone searching for diversity in Cape Town. The colorfully decorated establishment is a favorite among locals, with 30 beers on tap, more than 80 bottles, a variety of cocktails and one of the best collection of rums. They also serve a wholesome variety of Caribbean dishes like Jamaican jerk chicken, crazy goat curry, Cuban pizza and many more that you can enjoy both indoors and outdoors. • 157 2nd Avenue Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa, +27 216 740 186
  10. Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar - Publicized as Africa’s first gin bar, Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar is increasingly becoming one of the trendiest places to hang out in the city. Choose from a variety of more than 140 different gins, with exotic garnishes and tonics to go along with them. • 219 Bree St., Cape Town, South Africa, +27 826 816 601

Cape Town’s public transport isn’t exactly the embodiment of efficiency, and if you’re travelling on a tight schedule, you should organize your own car. Failing that, you can organize a taxi service or even brave the local minibus taxis.

Buses - Golden Arrow Busesare omnipresent within the city limits and the suburbs. The ‘Bus for Us’ isn’t a touristy mode of transport and won’t take you to remote sightseeing destinations, but it will get you from A to B in the city for a relatively humble amount. Tickets cost around R10 to R15 for a one-way journey.

The City Sightseeing Buscaters to foreigners, touring the expanses of the Southern Peninsula on the Blue Route and exploring the City Bowl sights on the Red Route. The first bus leaves from the Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront at around 9am (and every 20 minutes thereafter until 5pm). Day tickets (where you can hop on and off to your heart’s content) will set you back about R120.

Trains – Metrorail - isn’t exactly predictable, with local trains being bang on time one day and hopelessly delayed the next, so relying on this mode of transport if you want to be punctual isn’t a good idea.The Cape Town Railway Stationin Adderley Street is the centre of all train networks in the Western Cape.

Travel safe

The safest time to travel is between 7am-9am and 4pm-6pm. Minimise unnecessary risks by travelling first class and keeping all your valuables close at hand and out of sight.

Long-distance trains

Most long-distance trains have dining cars and catering trolleys, and it’s definitely worth opting for a first-class cabin. Ticket prices and timetables are available from ShosholozaMeyl.

If you really want to splash out, there’s also the option of travelling up-country with one of South Africa’s two luxury train services: The Blue Train or Rovos Rail.

Minibus taxis

In South Africa the term ‘taxi’ can refer either to a meter-running sedan vehicle or to a gung-ho, packed-to-the-rafters minibus. The latter is one of the country’s most popular modes of transport because they’re cheap (about R5 for an inner-city trip), super-speedy and generally reliable. If you’re up for a thrilling ride through the city, stick out your hand to the side and a taxi will materialize from the ether. Be sure to find out the end destination beforehand and have your fare ready for the taxi guard.

Taxis

Sedan taxis are also an ever-present fixture in the city, but are more expensive, charging around R12 a kilometre. The Cape Town Tourism Visitor Information Centre (021 426 4260/021 405 4500) will gladly point you in the right direction with a list of their recommended taxi companies. Unicab (021 486 1600) and Excite (021 418 4444) are generally reliable options.

Cycling &motorbiking

You can hire a bicycle from the adventure travel experts, Downhill Adventures (021 422 0388/www.downhilladventures.com), or you can rent a Harley from urban specialists Harley-Davidson Cape Town (021 446 2980/www.harley-davidson-capetown.com).

1.Muizenberg Beach - Address: Cape Town, South Africa

  1. Castle of Good Hope - Address: Darling St &BuitenkantSt, Foreshore, Cape Town, 8001.

Phone: +27 21 787 1260

  1. Kirstenbosch - Address: Rhodes Dr, Newlands, Cape Town, 7735, South Africa

Phone: +27 21 799 8783

4.Cape Point - Address: Cape Town, South Africa

5.Clifton Beach - Address: Cape Town, South Africa

  1. Bo-Kaap - Address: 71 Wale St, SchotscheKloof, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa

7.Victoria and Alfred Waterfront - Address: V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001.

Phone: +27 21 408 7600

8.Boulders Beach Penguin Colony - Address: Kleintuin Rd, Cape Town, 7995, South Africa

Phone: +27 21 786 2329

9.Robben Island - Address: Cape Town, South Africa

10.Table Mountain - Address: Cape Town, South Africa

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