Welcome to the Mother City!
So much has been lavished, praised and gushed about the essence of Cape Town that we could hardly add to the monumental cannon of tributes, metaphors and eulogies. Instead, here are the top 3 attractions that we feel must be experienced in any visit to the Mother City. In our unbiased opinion, these are- ride to top of Table Mountain, V&A Waterfront and the Cape Point lighthouse.
There are few experiences more thrilling than being whisked directly up the intricate rock-face via the state-of-the-art Table Mountain Cableway. It’s a 5 minute ride that you won’t want to end, as the rotating cars present 360 degree panoramic views of the increasingly distant city.
Down below, framed by the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain, lies the ancient V&A Waterfront - embracing change with colonial warmth. Here, entertainment venues, shopping arcades and gourmet cafes seamlessly merge with fresh sea breeze to create a milieu of cosmopolitan activity.
At a short distance from this frenzy, sits the historic lighthouse of Cape Point, perched precariously above the Atlantic Ocean, with awe inspiring vistas from the southernmost tip of Africa.
At first sight Cape Town seems to be quite small and neatly arranged. The reason for this is because of the massive “Table Mountain” that surrounds the town centre and seems to hold it like a bowl. Accordingly the terrain between mountain and harbour is called the City Bowl. Here lies some of the oldest parts like Oranjezicht, Tamboerskloof, Gardens and the Bo Kaap (Malay Quarters). The closer they are to Table Mountain, the steeper plots become. In the City Bowl there are, besides shops and offices, a number of tourist attractions like, for instance, the Castle of Good Hope, City Hall, the park of Company’s Garden, the Parliament and many museums. All these attractions can be reached on foot.
Cape Town lies on the 34th latitude south, which makes it climatically comparable to Casablanca and Los Angeles. It is, nevertheless, considerably cooler in Cape Town, because of the Atlantic Ocean west of the city and the cold Benguela current which brings water temperatures down a fair bit. The water on the eastern side of the city is much warmer though, where the influence of the Indian Ocean is noticeable. Because the warm Agulhas current turns south at Cape Agulhas, the water is subtropically warm only north of Cape Agulhas.
The nicest beaches on the Atlantic side are in Camps Bay, Clifton, Llandudno, Hout Bay, Noordhoek and Kommetjie. Milnerton, Table View and Bloubergstrand also have wide and long sandy beaches. However, the wind often blows strongly there. The most attractive beaches on the Indian side are in Simon’s Town, Fish Hoek and Muizenberg. The beaches further east, in the Strandfontein area, should be avoided for safety reasons. Only in Strand (near Somerset-West) is it safe again. Beautiful beaches and warmer water can be found on the Overberg coast, especially in Hermanus, De Hoop and Arniston.
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