Cape Town has one of the most famous profiles of any city in the world. With Table Mountain dominating the skyline behind the city, it is almost impossible to mistake a photo of Cape Town for any other place. The revolving cable car up Table Mountain offers breathtaking views back over the city and harbour, and from its flat summit there are great views not only of this but also the coast and the Cape of Good Hope.
Being the cultural centre of South Africa, there are plenty of museums to visit. The South African Museum is the oldest museum in the country and exhibits many of the country's main artefacts. These range from Bushman paintings to fossil and early human remains. The City also offers some excellent shopping and eating opportunities on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. The architecture betrays the colourful history of the area, with the large Dutch fortress and small thatched homesteads and British colonial architecture all mixed in with the modern buildings of a modern, prosperous city.
The Cape was the home of the Hottentots, a tribe who traded with the first white settlers and acted as go-betweens with the other tribes. As the settlers started taking more of their land however they turned against the Dutch and after 2 defeats in battle plus suffering a devastating smallpox epidemic, they disappeared from history as a force. The Cape had been initially discovered by Vasco De Gama, the Portuguese explorer, who had called the area the Cape of Storms (later revised to Cape of Good Hope). It is also interesting to note that having discovered this area it was another 10 years before he finally made it all the way to India, his original aim. It was not until the second half of the seventeenth century that the Dutch finally settled the area and had their initially friendly interaction with the Hottentots. As always, the British decided they wanted the area when they realised its potential and so started the long battle between the two nations that culminated in the Boer Wars of the late 1800?s. Throughout this period, despite occasional setbacks the city with its sheltered position and harbour thrived and grew in importance.
For the visitor there are as many attractions in the vicinity of Cape Town as there are in the city itself. The world-famous wine lands are a short drive away. The Cape of Good Hope and its National Reserve are an enjoyable day trip, maybe stopping off at Boulders Bay on the return to see the colony of Penguins. You can visit Hermanus which during the right season offers some of the best whale-watching in the Cape Provinces. There are Botanical gardens, golden beaches (with a cold sea!), small coastal towns and villages, beautiful scenery and for the fit the chance to get to the top of Table Mountain by foot. One of Cape Town's latest attractions is the The Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway, or Boomslang, at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, another must-visit destination in the Cape.
A self-drive tour along the world-famous Garden Route including Knysna, Hermanus, the Winelands and Cape Town
This leisurely holiday gives you the chance to see Cape Town, a private safari in the Kruger and visit the spectacular Victoria Falls
A small group escorted tour of South Africa including Cape Town, the Cape Winelands, the Garden Route, a Kruger safari, Swaziland and the Panoramic Route
A self drive tour along the stunning Garden Route including Cape Town, the Winelands and a malaria free safari