Table Mountain is not only the most-recognized natural feature in South Africa, but also the number one tourist attraction in the Western Cape. You simply haven’t seen Cape Town unless you’re looked down on it from a vantage point 1 068 m above the sea. A wonderful day-trip to this majestic mountain starts with a six-minute trip up the cableway – quite an adventure in itself. On the summit, you can take short hikes, enjoying the sceneru from different points, and see unique animals and plants. Be sure to look out for the rare silver tree and the disa uniflora.
Table Mountain National Park has introduced a guided six-day / six-night hike that starts in the heart of the city and ends at Cape Point. The Hoerikwaggo (Khoi Khoi for sea mountain) Trail starts with a cultural route through the streets of the city, down mountain chains, challenging peaks, and beach treks. Hikers stay in restored historic buildings Tel: 021 701 8692 or e-mail
A day-visit may not be enough to explore all that the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront has to offer. Even if you’ve been there a score of times, there is always something new to tantalize and excite you. The Waterfront Craft Market continues the spirited tradition established by the Dutch East India Company over a century ago. From the silliest souvenirs to gorgeous gemstones, there’s a shop to strike anyone’s fancy.
May I suggest an afternoon set aside for the Two Oceans Aquarium? And while you are there and possess a scuba license, why not opt for the ultimate in adventure and dive with the sharks in the I&J Predator Exhibit. If that isn’t exactly your kettle of fish, you can always opt to feed the fish in the kelp forest. Either way, the extraordinary exhibits are well worth exploring at leisure.
An absolute must is a visit to the Robben Island Museum. During the apartheid years, Robben Island became internationally known for its brutal treatment of its political prisoners. The main purpose of the island prison was to isolate and crush the morale of those opposing apartheid. Many freedom fighters, including former President Nelson Mandela, spent over a quarter of a century imprisoned there. Visit Mandela’s cell and experience this inspiring piece of South Africa’s history, where, on many levels, prisoners turned this “hell-hole” into a symbol of freedom and a triumph of the spirit.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens is the largest of South Africa’s botanical gardens. It contains a unique collection of fynbos, proteas, cycads, and African succulents. Also be sure to visit the Conservatory where South African plants that cannot be grown in the outdoor gardens are exhibited, such as plants from mountain peaks, forests, and deserts. The gardens are beautifully landscaped with lawns, streams, ponds, and winding pathways. With spectacular views and beautiful flora, Kirstenbosch as a wonderland waiting to be explored.
Last but certainly not least, Boulders Beach Penguin colony is the perfect anti-dote to any emotional lows he holiday season may bring. Over three hundred perfectly attired comedians are waiting to lift your spirit if it needs lifting, or laugh with you is your heart is already singing. Here, “meeting the locals” gains a whole new meaning, as it is the one place in the entire world where you can swim and sunbathe with penguins.
Cape Town Tourism, tel: +27 21 434 1750
Cape Town has something for the entire family, Happy exploring!