‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’ Samuel Johnson
I think if Samuel Johnson had visited South Africa, he would’ve substituted the word ‘London’ and replaced it with ‘Cape Town’. For a traveler to ‘experience’ the Mother City in only a few days, will take a herculean effort!
However, life is way too short to not give it a go! Let’s say that time is not on your side & we would need to distill the places of interest into the 10 top things to do, what would these be?
So without any further ado, here is my list:
1) Table Mountain
Recently named as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, it sets the scene for a must-have tourist photo from almost any angle. Apart from the Aerial Cable Car ride (which is a must), activities such as hiking, rock climbing, caving & mountain biking can be enjoyed.
Fun Fact: There are more species of plants on Table Mountain, than there are in the entire United Kingdom.
2) V&A Waterfront
Like to shop? Like to eat? Like an Aquarium? Then the waterfront is your happy place! With over 450 shops, numerous restaurants & a world class aquarium, this is the place to start your adventure in Cape Town.
Fun Fact: Prince Albert, the second son of Queen Victoria visited the Cape in 1860 & he made such an impression on the locals that they named the ship yards where the waterfront is located after him & his mother.
3) Boulders Beach
With a name like Jackass & their donkey-like braying sound, Boulders is where you go for a good time to visit the penguins. Their warning sign when you get too close, is that they move their head from side to side, as if saying, ‘I’m warning you, I’m warning you!’.
Fun Fact: Starting in 1982 from only a pair of breeding penguins, there are over 4000 of these birds today, who look like they’re walking around with their hands in their pockets.
4) Camps Bay Beach
Situated on the Atlantic Ocean side of Cape Town, where the water is seriously cold, this seaside suburb is where the rich and famous come out to play. If you want beach cafes, top class restaurants, hotels & beautiful people, then make a beeline for this spot today.
Fun Fact: The beach has been a blue flag beach since 2008, which means that it counts itself as one of the best beaches in the country.
5) Castle of Good Hope
Is the oldest existing colonial building in South Africa, was built in 1679 by the Dutch East India Company when a guy called Jan van Riebeeck founded the Cape in 1652. The 5 bastions or points of the Castle are named titles of Willem, Prince of Orange, namely: Leerdam, Oranje, Nassau, Katzenellenbogen & Buuren.
Fun Fact: It is a 5 pointed, pentagonal shaped castle, so that range & angle of attack of the cannons on each bastion overlaps during an attack.
6) Lion’s Head
If you do not want to hike up Table Mountain, then the least you could do is Lion’s Head. Why do you ask? Because almost anyone of average fitness can do it, it’ll take you less than 3 hours (up and down with some time at the top), the view is spectacular & you get a panoramic view of Cape Town. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try the full moon hike.
Fun Fact: When there are clouds above Lion’s Head, expect rain to fall within 24 hours.
Link: http://www. capetownmagazine.com/lions-head
7) Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Covering 528 hectares where only indigenous plants are grown, Kirstenbosch is as close to the Garden of Eden as you’re likely to get. Founded in 1913, the garden was commissioned to preserve our country’s unique flora. It also hosts outdoor concerts on Sundays which are a must!
Fun Fact: The first part of the gardens was planted as a hedge by the Jan van Riebeeck in 1660, to provide some form of protection to the perimeter of the Dutch Colony.
8) Groot Constantia Wine Farm
The oldest wine farm in South Africa, here is where a guy named Simon van der Stel who was the governor at the time, planted grapes & made wine that became so famous that Napoleon (and a few Kings & Emperors) drank it by the gallon!
Fun Fact: The name of the wine that drove Napoleon gaga is called Vin de Constance which is still made on the farm today.
9) Cape Point Nature Reserve
You’ve probably come from afar, so why come all is this & not see the tip of Africa? ‘The Point’ as it is called by sailors, many shipwrecks dot the area known for its stormy nature & wild weather. Crazy to think that on one side you see the Atlantic Ocean & on the other side you see the Indian Ocean.
Fun Fact: Baboons at Cape Point are known to open car doors & to make a nuisance of themselves. Keep a look out !
Every list needs to have something different, hence the reason to visit the Bo-Kaap. Formerly known as the Malay Quarter due to its large population of Muslim inhabitants, the area is known for its brightly coloured homes & cobble stoned street. A visit to the Bo-Kaap museum is recommended.
Fun Fact: Malay cuisine is a combination of asian, arab & european which is totally unique to the Cape.
Do you agree with this list? If so, please tell me what I missed ?!