Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is a bustling city that is situated in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and positioned between Table Mountain and Table Bay. Though a thoroughly modern city it offers many important historical sites of interest both in the city and just outside such as Robben Island as well as a vibrant social scene with many shops, restaurants and night clubs. Nearby you can visit the Cape of Good Hope and take in the wonderful scenery and wine from the Cape Winelands as well as enjoying nature at its best with animals such as whales, penguins, porcupines and several species of birds.
The growth of Cape Town began after Jan van Riebeeck was sent to establish a trading post by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in 1651. He built a small fort as his base and from there added a company garden, from which to grow vegetables in order to supply both his fort and passing ships. With the position of the fort being so well placed along the coast there was a need for more and more produce and so small farms started up to meet the demand of the ships.
With the threat of European invasion Riebeeck began building a stone fort, the Castle of Good Hope, which was completed around the time that Simon van der Stel arrived to become Governor. Der Stel was largely responsible for the growth and quality of the wine in the winelands area such as Stellenbosch and Paarl.
During the 1700's more buildings were built such as lodgings, taverns and shops and the Cape's nickname 'The Tavern of the Seas' came about.
Cape Town Beaches
There are many wonderful beaches situated around Cape Town and the surrounding coast line which are perfect for activities such as sun bathing, swimming, surfing, body boarding, wind surfing, walking and paddling and with beaches such as Clifton and Muizenberg amongst those gaining Blue flag awards you'll have an excellent chance of getting clear, clean water and fantastic beach conditions... more about Cape Town South Africa Beaches
Cape Town's summer months are from November through to January and during these months temperatures are between 14 to 29 degrees centigrade, making this an excellent time to visit, as with its Mediterranean climate and very little rain you will be able to make the most of the long sunny days.
Cape Town becomes extra busy during the African summer holiday, which runs from the beginning of December to the middle of January.
During the spring which is around September and October and the Autumn which is around April and May time you need to be aware of the 'Cape Doctor' which is a strong south easterly breeze. The good news is that during these times there is still a lot of wild life and attractions to see and it is not usually too over crowded.
Between May and August is Cape Town's winter which can be very wet, cold and windy with temperatures between 9 and 17 degrees centigrade.
Travel and Transport in Cape Town
Cape Town is fairly restricted with its public transport and taxi or hire car are the most popular means of getting around. Although great caution should be applied when it comes to taxi's, cars and being a pedestrian due to the aggressive driving culture.
Cape Town International Airport is located around 15 miles to the East of Cape Town and can be found just off the N2 highway. The airport is the second largest with OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg being the biggest. During the summer months there are many direct International flights from Europe available as well as to many other African Cities and areas.
The train station in Cape Town is located on the corner of Adderley and Strand street within the city centre. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) run many scheduled passenger trains. Shosholoza Meyl operate the inter city or long distance trains and you can choose either economy class, tourist class or premier class according to your budget. The Metro rail operates the commuter or suburban trains that go to many of the neighboring towns and to the major cities. The metro plus is the first class section and metro is third class.
- Cruise Liners
The larger cruise liners will dock within the main Cape Town Port while smaller vessels and pleasure boats can dock at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. There is also a separate yachting marina within the port.
Car hire is available from the arrivals desk at the airport where there are several well known companies represented such as Hertz, Avis, National Alamo, Budget, Europcar and Tempest. The roads in and around Cape Town are straightforward and fairly easy to drive around making hire car a good option if you plan to stay in Cape Town.
Touch Down Taxis are the authorised airport taxi company who are permitted to operate from the airport with many taxi's also available in town, fares can vary so it is worth getting a quote before you get in.
- Shuttle Bus
The shuttle busses are available from the airport and run at frequent intervals. You can also pre book the shuttle bus in advance to take you both from and back to the airport.
There are many shops that offer scooters for hire giving you another great way to explore the city and surrounding area.
Cape Town Travel Tourist Attractions Guide
Amongst the superb scenery and natural beauty that Cape Town has to offer there are also plenty of historic buildings and sites of interest.
- Castle of Good Hope
The Castle of Good Hope was built by the Dutch East India Company and is the oldest building of its kind in South Africa. The Castle which takes the shape of a pentagon, houses the Castle Museum, William Fehr Art Collection and a restaurant... more about the Castle Of Good Hope
- City Hall
The City Hall is an impressive building that was built out of sandstone in 1905, the building contains a stained glass window which commemorates King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra as well as a wonderful marble staircase, mosaic floor, an organ that was planned for the hall by Norman Beard and which contains 3165 pipes as well as an impressive clock tower... more about City Hall
- The Great Church (Groote Kerk)
It was in the 1700's that the Governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel had new foundations laid for a new thatched and gabled church, and later additions such as a carved pulpit and vaulted ceiling which contained plaster rosettes and from which chandeliers were hung... more about The Great Church
- Cultural History Museum
In the past the building has been a slave lodge, government office, courtroom and now a museum containing many different artifacts gathered over the centuries from people who settled in Cape Town... more about The Cultural History Museum
- The Company's Gardens
The Company's Gardens or Houses of Parliament were originally designed by Charles Freeman and were later amended by Henry Greaves. The Governor Sir Henry Barkly laid the first cornerstone in 1875 and the building was finished in 1884... more about The Company's Gardens
- St George's Cathedral
The Duke of Cornwall and York who later became George V laid the first cornerstone of St Georges Cathedral in 1901 and although the cathedral is still incomplete it does offer beautiful stained glass windows and is fondly called the peoples Cathedral due to its supportive role in the resistance against apartheid... more about St George's Cathedral
The building is now the official office of the State President but was originally built as a guest house in which to accommodate important guests and is not open to visitors... more about Tuynhuys
- The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
Cape Towns Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is based around the historic Victoria and Alfred Basins which formed Cape Town's original harbour. This is a working harbour that also contains many tourist attractions making it a very popular place to visit. The development of the Cape of Good Hope is largely down to the Dutch East India Company through which many ships laden with spices and treasures would arrive creating excitement throughout the village... more about The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
- Table Top Mountain
Forming part of the Table Mountain National Park, Table Top mountain is Cape Towns most prominent landmark and has an incredibly unique flat top from which it has gained its name. Table Top Mountain is also featured within the flag of Cape Town... more about Table Top Mountain
- Cape Point
At the very end of the magnificent Cape Peninsula is Cape Point which is also known as the Cape of Good Hope and the Cape of Storms. There is a lighthouse on the cliff top and beautiful walks of varying lengths within the National Park where you can enjoy the many different species of flora and fauna... more about Cape Point
Cape Town Festivals and Events 2013-2014
There are plenty of unique and fascinating festivals and events that range from gruelling marathons through some of Cape Town's most scenic areas to glamorous horse racing events, energetic music festivals, fashion shows and even a historic carnival... more about Cape Town Festivals and Events 2013-2014