Cape Town – the Mother City
Jetting into Cape Town, you cannot miss the sight of Table Mountain looming large over the city bowl, unless it is raining, which is usually the case in winter. Generally the rain is persistent but light and with a good rain jacket you can enjoy your stay even in winter. Avoid umbrellas as the wind takes delight in turning them inside out. When the weather is not bad, it is great. The best months for visiting Cape Town are December to April when it is hot and wind free. Cape Town city and suburbs are as safe as anywhere in the world but there are areas off limits and so always use a reliable taxi service or GPS to find your way. Driving towards town from the airport, you will pass Gugulethu township. Here you can enjoy the most wonderful, unpretentious meal at Mzoli’s, with lots of beer, wine and meat and great company. Saturday lunchtime is the best time to go. They close at 7pm. There are numerous tourist attractions in Cape Town, but don’t miss the V&A Waterfront where a section of the working harbour beneath Table Mountain has been converted into a magnificent “mini-town” of hotels, restaurants, shops, cinemas and even apartments. It is a great place to shop, especially for curios, but don’t stay in the main building. As you walk around, especially towards the Clock Tower, you will find many interesting curio shops. You must include a visit to the magnificent aquarium and the Red Shed even though they are on the outskirts of the Waterfront. Nothing can beat drinking a glass of red wine from the Cape vineyards as you laze at a table overlooking the harbour.
During the day you can soak up the sun as you gaze across the harbour while at night the lights sparkle across the harbour and light up the mountain. The Musselcracker has a wonderful balcony and great wine and coffee. If you like fish and chips, there is a wonderful restaurant on the water’s edge where you would do well to choose the delicious calamari or Yellow Tail and chips. Take a seat on one of the benches outside where the fat old seals laze in the sun and the cheeky seagulls try to steal your meal. For a more formal meal, try Hildebrand’s or one of the hotels, the Cape Grace or The Table Bay. Book a trip to Robben Island (island of the seals) when you book your holiday as tickets for the ferry are hard to come by on the day. The ferry leaves from the Clock Tower and the half hour crossing will bring you to the island where Nelson Mandela and his fellow anti-apartheid fighters were held in jail. An excellent tour takes you into his cell and around the tiny island. If you are looking for pubs and clubs, Greenpoint which is just down the road from the Waterfront has great night life. Long Street in the city centre comes alive at night and people wander down the road from one venue to another. For the best beaches in Cape Town, go to the “Atlantic Seaboard”. Camps Bay has great cafes and a wonderful sandy beach while Clifton 4th Beach is the favourite for those with bodies to show off.
Have a drink and a meal at Club Med on the beach for a great atmosphere and the most magnificent ocean views. For an even better view, ride the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. You must book in advance through Computicket but choose a sunny day with little wind. You can walk for some way along the mountain top but don’t try to walk down unless you are equipped and experienced as it is much tougher than it seems. At the bottom of Table Mountain, but on the southern suburbs side, is Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Not only are the flowers and walks great but there are often art or plant exhibitions and it is one of the most peaceful places in the world for enjoying a cup of coffee. A visit to “The Company Gardens” is a good way to visit a number of places on foot. Situated in town off Adderley Street, this was the original vegetable garden of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. Surrounding the gardens are St George’s Anglican Cathedral, the Planetarium, the Natural History Museum, and you will find a good lunch the Holocaust Museum or the National Art Gallery on either side of the Parliamentary Buildings.
Make sure to hire a car from Cape Town Airport for this African adventure, you have a lot of ground to cover. This is the home of the Table Mountain that Nelson Mandela spoke, the famous mountain of hope.
You can ride a cable car up and see all of Cape Town below. It is quite a view, for many it’s a view of freedom. I can’t help but shed a tear for the struggles of the South African Nation. Cape point is a major landmark, known for its rough, rocky seas; ships spoke frequently of its technical sail route. Sailors in the 1800’s had a difficult time sailing through these unsafe seas for the lighthouse built in 1857 was so high that any fog cover would make for blind seas. In 1911 when Lusitania, a Portuguese liner, was not so lucky, the lighthouse was moved to lower ground. It is said to be the highest powered lighthouse in South African seas. Jump on the environmentally safe funicular and visit the former light house site. The view from this point is ridiculously beautiful. It’s also known for having extremely pure air. Take a deep breath and enjoy the view. After seeing sites, hop into these famous seas for a wide variety of water sports. Cape Town has kayaking through its sparkling bays, surfing and kite surfing. Explore the underwater adventures through diving, or stay above the water and bring the ocean to you on one of our famous fishing charters. There is also biking on our sandy beaches, or let the horse do all the work, as you ride off into the sunset. South Africa welcomes you. The mysterious waters of Cape Town are calling to you.