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Cape Town Travel Tips, South Africa

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Cape Town, South AfricaCape Town, South Africa
photo sourcehttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Central_Cape_Town.jpg
authorshipAndrew Massyn
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Cape Town is the third largest city in South Africa. It is the most popular South African destination for tourism, and has well known landmarks such as the Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is often regarded as one of the world's most beautiful cities because of its geography.

Cape Town was founded around 1652 when Jan van Riebeeck arrived there, and established the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town was originally developed as a victualling station for Dutch ships sailing to Eastern Africa, India, and the Far East. It was an important stop as the Suez Canal would not be built for another 200 years. Cape Town quickly outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, and was the largest city in South Africa until Johannesburg and Durban surpassed it in size.

Robben Island Prison, Cape TownRobben Island Prison, Cape Town
photo sourcehttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:SafrikaIMG_8414.JPG
authorshipRüdiger Wölk
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Today, Cape Town has a population of 2.95 million (2001). With an area of 2,499 square kilometres (965 sq mi), Cape Town is larger than other South African cities. As a result, it enjoys a comparatively lower population density.

Table Mountain forms a dramatic backdrop for Cape Town. It is a plateau that is 1,000 m (3,300 ft) high and surrounded by near-vertical cliffs, Devil's Peak and Lion's Head. Occasionally, a thin strip of cloud forms over Table Mountain, and the locals call it the "tablecloth".


Cape Town Waterfront

photo sourcehttps://wikitravel.org/en/Image:Cape_Town-Waterfront.JPG
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Cape Town is located at the north end of a peninsula called Cape Peninsula. The peninsula consists of a dramatic mountainous spine jutting southwards into the Atlantic Ocean, ending at Cape Point. There are over 70 peaks above 1,000 feet (304.8 m) (the American definition of a mountain) within Cape Town's official city limits.

The plain that joins the peninsula to the mainland is called Cape Flats. Many of Cape Town's suburbs are located here. Cape Flats is a "rising marine plain". It consists mostly of sandy soil, probably an ancient sea bed. There is indication that Table Mountain itself was once an island.

Travel to Cape Town

Cape Town International Airport is the main gateway to the city, and the second largest airport in South Africa. Its new terminal opened in 2009. A taxi from the airport to downtown Cape Town, 21 km away, should be bargained down to R180.

Travel within in Cape Town

The most reliable form of public transport in Cape Town are the metered taxis. The flag fall rate is R8-R10 per kilometer.

Cape Town also has a good network of public buses run by Golden Arrow Buses.

Perhaps the safest way to get around in Cape Town is to rent a car. Be reminded though that payment for petrol in South Africa has to be done by cash.

Places of Interest in Cape Town

The City Bowl
Sights within the Central Business District of Cape Town.

  1. Iziko Michaelis Collection
    National Monument on Greenmarket Square.
  2. Iziko Slave Lodge
    Site of building that housed slaves who worked in the Company's Garden.
  3. Grand Parade
    Site of Van Riebeeck's first fort in 1652.
  4. City Hall
    Italian Renaissance building from 1905.
  5. Iziko Castle of Good Hope
    Oldest structure in South Africa.
  6. Lutheran Church
    Church that began as a "storeroom" founded by businessman Martin Melck.
  7. Martin Melck House
    Home of Lutheran businessman next door to his church.
  8. Iziko Koopmans-De Wet House
    Neoclassical house from 1701.
  9. Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum
    Oldest house still in its original form, dates back to the 1760's.
  10. Table Mountain
    Most famous landmark of Cape Town, formed of sedimentary sandstone.
  11. Jan Van Riebeeck's Vegetable Gardens
    Vegetable patch dating back to 1652, today a leafy park.

Hout Bay, Cape TownHout Bay, Cape Town
photo sourcehttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hout_Bay_Jan_07.jpg
authorshipAndrew Massyn
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V&A Waterfront
Waterfront initiated by Prince Alfred, son of Queen Victoria.
  1. Two Oceans Aquarium
    Marine life complex with a great diversity of sealife.
  2. Alfred Basin (West Quay)
    A harbour section for docks and marketplace.
  3. Iziko South African Maritime Museum
    Museum housing South Africa's largest collection of model ships.
  4. Red Shed Craft Workshop
    Place where glass blowing, pottery and ceremics are crafted.
  5. King's Warehouse
    Place where the day's catch is stacked.
  6. BMW Pavilion
    Modern showroom with the ritziest cars in town.
Robben Island
Small island off V&A Waterfront.
  1. The Lighthouse
    Lighthouse dating to 1863.
  2. Governor's House
    Historical Victorian building from 1895.
  3. Church of the Good Shepherd
    Stone church built by lepers in 1895.
  4. Lime Quarry
    Site where political prisoners had to do hard labour.
  5. Robben Island Prison
    Detention centre established since 1658.
Sights Further Afield
  1. Green Point
    Suburb of Cape Town.
  2. Sea Point
    Suburb of Cape Town.
  3. Cape Riviera
    Stretch of coast with million-dollar homes.
  4. Bantry Bay
    Bay in Cape Riviera with luxury apartments.
  5. Clifton
    Trendy neighbourhood with four small beaches.
  6. Maiden's Cove
    Cove with tidal pool and public facilites.
  7. Glen Beach
    Site popular with surfers and sunbathers.
  8. Camps Bay
    A broad stretch of beach with stately palm trees.
  9. Llandudno
    One of the most beautiful beaches in Cape Town.
  10. Sandy Bay
    Cape Town's naturist beach.
  11. Hout Bay
    An important fishing centre for Cape Town.
  12. Mariner's Wharf
    A wharf built by the Dormans family in the 1900's.
  13. Hout Bay Museum
    Museum charting the history of Hout Bay and its people.
  14. World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary
    Larest bird sanctuary in Africa and second largest in the world.
  15. Noordhoek
    Small coastal settlement with pristine white sand.
  16. Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
    Reserve at the tip of the windy peninsula.
  17. Simon's Town
    Picturesque town in False Bay used as base for the South African navy.
  18. Simon's Town Museum
    Museum in the oldest building in Simon's Town.
  19. Fish Hoek
    A stretch of beach settlement with cafés and yacht club.
  20. Muizenberg
    The premier holiday retreat of South Africa.
  21. Iziko Groot Constantia
    Farm established by the Commander of the Cape Simon van der Stel in 1685.
  22. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
    Botanical garden dedicated to the preservation and propagation of rare indigenous plant species of South Africa.
  23. Newlands
    Suburb at the foot of the Table Mountain's southern slopes.
  24. Rugby Museum
    Museum exhibiting rugby memorabilia collected from South Africa's legendary players.
  25. Josephine Mill
    Mill built in 1840 by Jacob Letterstedt.
  26. Mostert's Mill
    Old-fashioned windmill from 1796.
  27. Groote Schuur Hospital
    Hospital where the world's first heart transplant was performed in 1967.
  28. Rhodes Memorial
    Official Cape Town residence of the state's president.
  29. South African Astronomical Observatory
    National astronomy headquarters of South Africa.
  30. Ratanga Junction
    The first full-scale theme park in South Africa.

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