• Posted:Friday, June 12, 2015
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10 reasons why you should visit Cape Town this summer

Posted in: City Focus
10 reasons why you should visit Cape Town this summer

A popular city destination for travellers, Cape Town is vibrant, hip and picturesque. With so much to see and do, here are ten reasons why you should take a trip to one of South Africa’s biggest cities.

You can take a hike

Table mountain is the most well-known landmark in Cape Town.  If you don’t feel like sticking on your hiking boots, you can always take the cable car. Or why not try climbing Lion’s Head?  Going early in the morning is a good idea.  It’ll wake you up and you get a great view of Table Mountain and the rest of the city.

It’s steeped in history

Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela served 18 of his 27 years in prison, is just a boat trip away from the V&A Waterfront.  It’ll give you an idea of what conditions were like for prisoners here. Back on the mainland, the area of Bo Kaap is a must. Home to many Cape Malay people who lived here during apartheid, you will see a line of colourful houses, a museum and maybe take some cooking lessons from the locals.

You can go to the ends of the world

Take some time to see outside the city as well and head to Cape Point.  It is the most south-westerly point of Africa where the Atlantic Ocean crashes against the rocks. Make sure you bring your camera for the most awesome views and the beautiful flora and fauna.  But remember, don’t feed the baboons!

It’s possible to see a whale

The town of Hermanus has lots of cafes bars and little shops but what the majority of people come for is whale-watching, whether from the land or out at sea. Between July and November, some whales come here to mate but you may also be lucky enough to see some dolphins and seals as well.

You can be at one with nature

Kirstenbosch botanical gardens are part of a nature reserve and also part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.  It houses flora separated into different sections for those with scents, a sculpture area and those that have an important use. If you are lucky, you may stumble upon a concert which the gardens host at different times during the year.

A glass of wine is never far away

You will probably notice many South African wines when you feel like a glass back home.  Well, now that you are here you can actually go to the vineyards where they were made. The most popular ones to visit are Stellenbosch and Franschhoek where you can book tours or have a meal and do some wine-tasting.  You can also buy a bottle or two before you head home.

You can get plenty of sea air

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront - referred to as the Waterfront – is quite upmarket but don’t let that put you off if you’re on a budget. It’s always bustling, and there’s lots to see and do.  There are plenty of bars and restaurants as well as the aquarium, diamond museum and markets where you can look at or buy local crafts and designs.

Finding somewhere to shop isn’t a problem

While the Waterfront has many shops, you don’t need to head there if you’re looking for gifts to bring home – or something for yourself. Long Street has many African stores with anything from clothing to bric-a-brac.  Not far from here, Greenmarket Square gives you a chance to haggle with locals on the price of many hand-made pieces of artwork and craft.

You can hang at the beach or go surfing

Beaches are plentiful in Cape Town and some say your mood will dictate which beach you go to. But all have beautiful white sand, that cold Atlantic Ocean and a relaxed atmosphere where many will stay until evening and watch the sun slowly set.

You can sample food from all over the world

Because of the cultural diversity in Cape Town, this also brings with it a wide variety of cuisine – Italian to Moroccan, Brazilian to Chinese. Of course being beside the sea, you can always guarantee a great choice of fresh fish but you also have the opportunity to eat some real South African braaied (bar-be-qued) meat.  

 

Siobhan Maguire is a budding journalist studying at the University of Salford in Manchester. A well-seasoned traveller, she blogs at A Girl Gets on a Bus, and you can follow her Twitter here.

Thanks to Warrenski, Zoe Shuttleworth, Clarissa de Wet, Meraj Chhaya, Jorge Pindorama and Flowcomm for the excellent pictures from Flickr. Thanks also to the Air Guitar World Championships for the photo. Please note they were under Creative Commons Licence at time of publishing.

 

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