The Dutch East India Company (the VOC, the world’s first publicly owned corporation), set up an supply station and trading post on Table Bay’s gorgeous shores in the 17th century, but earlier, the surrounding Cape Flats were the San (Bushmen) and Khoi-Khoi’s hunting grounds for hippopotami and all sorts of other larger game.
The region’s colonization, and the long-standing hospitality tradition of the Cape of Good Hope, made that sailors and weary explorers soon renamed it “The Tavern of the Seas”.
Today, the majestic sight of Table Mountain, and the hospitality of the region’s people, give visitors the same warm welcoming feeling that the strangers encountered all those many years way back. The looming rock formation is a stunning landmark that provides a fantastic decorum to the lively and beautiful “Mother City” of Cape Town.
The modern-day city of Cape Town boasts a magnificent waterfront district, stunning underground malls, and skyscrapers that give the city an impressive skyline, but Cape Town also cherishes its origins. You can explore the city’s many interesting museums and fascinating historical buildings that reflect the cultures that shaped the city and the surrounding provinces.
Cape Town offers a broad range of shopping opportunities. There are the interesting stallholders and fascinated shoppers at the Greenmarket Square and Grand Parade flea markets, and you can shop in style and hassle-free at the city’s countless beautiful and sophisticated shopping malls.
When the night comes, the city’s residents (Capetonians) will go out for a night on the town and visit the city’s many wonderful pubs, top restaurants, and raving clubs, or go one of the many cinemas and theatres where entertainment from every possible corner of the globe is offered. The city and Table Mountain come to light while live music is pervading the neon city night.
Within driving distance of Cape Town’s city center you can find several of our world’s natural scenic wonders. You’ll be stunned by the country’s panoramic vistas and magnificent seascapes and there are several drives where the sea and the impressive mountainous landscape form a unique decorum.
A seemingly endless beautiful coastline with stunning white and sandy beaches attracts many sunbathers, swimmers, and anglers that know how to appreciate the wide-open airy spaces.
In and Around Cape Town:
Robben Island is a national monument, and among South Africa’s most important and significant historical sites.
At first, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) used Robben Island as a victualing and supply station. Later it became a leper colony and an asylum. Robben Island subsequently came under Army and Navy rule and in 1960 it was brought under authority of South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services.
The island became notorious for imprisoning those who were considered to pose a threat to South Africa’s social order of “Apartheid”. For over two decades, Robben Island housed the country’s most famous former prisoner, President Mandela.
Robben Island is situated some 8 miles from Cape Town, and for some 400 years, it was South Africa’s most notorious place of exile, banishment, imprisonment, and isolation. It was Robben Island where the country’s rulers would sent those prisoners that were regarded as social outcasts, political troublemakers, and those unwanted in society. During the years of Apartheid, Robben Island became symbolic, and internationally known, for the institutional brutality that occurred there.
Robben Island is also known for its natural environment. It hosts more that 70 bird species which include water birds, seabirds, and many terrestrial birds. Some of these species were brought onto Robben Island by humans, for example the guinea fowl and chukar. The island’s environment is providing a safe and sheltered haven for this impressive variety of birds, and several of the seabirds are using Robben Island for resting and breeding.
The boat ride between the main land (Cape Town) and Robben Island offers many opportunities to watch a broad range of seabirds and several marine mammals such as Southern Right whales, Cape Fur seals, and Heaviside and Dusky dolphins.
When you get to Robben Island, you can spot more than 20 species of mammals, such as small herds of springbok, bontebok, steenbok, eland, and European fallow deer. If you’re lucky, you can also find ostriches, geckoes, lizards, snakes and tortoises. From the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, visitors have the chance to take frequent boat trips to the landmark that Robben Island has become.
Two Oceans Aquarium
The two Oceans Aquarium boasts over 4 000 water creatures that represent around 300 species. The aquarium offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience that provides a comprehensive insight into the wonders of the underwater world of South Africa’s shores.
The Two Oceans Aquarium really is a great place of discovery and wonder. At the aquarium, the ocean comes alive through a display of mystique and resplendent colors in all sorts of sizes and shapes. You can additionally visit the Aquarium Gift Shop and the Bayfront Restaurant.
Castle of Good Hope
The Castle of Good Hope was built in the period 1666-1679, and is the oldest South African building.
The Castle of Good Hope is a fortification in pentagonal shape that includes bastions and a moat on each of it’s corners. The castle is named after the Dutch Prince of Orange’ titles, and is in fact still a military base that houses numerous historical objects and artifacts that include the well-known “William Fehr Collection” of paintings, and a nice collection of carpets.
Table Mountain is Cape Town’s world-renown landmark, and it’s summit rises almost 1100 meters above sea level. If the weather permits, visitors may reach all the way to the top by an impressive cableway or via the Kloofnek Road Bus. The top of Table Mountain houses a restaurant and a souvenir shop, and the mountain is covered with countless species of wild flower, and known for the famous “Silvertree”.
Clifton Beach is actually the most glamorous beach area of Cape Town.
Clifton Beach has four adjoining coves and here you can wind down authentic stairways that are situated among luxurious bungalows, and that lead to picturesque white sandy beaches. Rather than for swimming is this area known for bikini’s, tangas, and sun-bathing, because the water is usually freezing cold. Clifton Beach is definitely the place to be, especially if you are in the mood for meeting attractive people.