Dominated by the Table Mountain and its silhouette, Cape Town is certainly the most exciting city in South Africa. Founded in 1652 by the Dutch, the former colony is now a sprawling city whose dynamism immediately strikes the visitor; it is highly cosmopolitan, although still in turmoil. It has pieces of Africa, Europe and America. From the buildings in the business district to the colourful cottages in the Malay quarter, Cape Town is surprising with its architectural diversity and cultural eclecticism.
Beyond its attractive urban outlook, the city also has very attractive surroundings, offering numerous hiking opportunities.
The cost of living here remains much less expensive than in Europe and offers hospitality of outstanding quality.
Start by taking the cable car up to the Table Mountain (3,562 feet), the best way to enjoy a spectacular panorama of the city and its surroundings. Its outskirts host the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, a sanctuary of flora with more than 9,000 different species. In the winter, concerts are held regularly. Not far away, the residential area of Constantia will give you a taste of the Wine Route. This is where the first settlers established the first vineyards and the former homes of farmers are now used as authentic settings for tasting. Lovers of wine will see an ideal starting point for an escape onto the Wine Route, while for the nature lovers this is a requisite step towards exploring the Gardens Route or the Cape of Good Hope.
Stroll around the V & A Waterfront, especially in the evening, to enjoy a delightful seaside atmosphere and discover the latest trendy restaurants in Cape Town. Leave the city by road along the coast to the very chic beach of Camps Bay whose luxurious villas clinging to the hillside will make you dream. Then go to Simson's Town and its surprising colony of penguins that can be approached closely. The nature reserve of the Cape of Good Hope is a stone's throw away. Once there, take the funicular that takes you to the lighthouse at Cape Point, once there the view of the sea and the peninsula is startling!
If you rent a car, ensure that it is well insured, as 2 out of 3 vehicles turn out not to be insured.
Ask the tourist office or your travel agent before you leave or on site if you go out individually. Certain areas should be avoided.
The city of Cape Town is famous for its fish dishes and seafood. The country is a popular wine producer, have a taste of the local products. Many restaurants will seduce your palate at decent prices. Tipping is not usually included in the bill.
For shopping, it is trendy to go to the Greenmarket, in the city centre. The flea market, lively and colorful, can unearth memories of all kinds, with superb African masks amongst other things.
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