The southern South African city of Cape Town is gritty, grungy and creative. It also has an upmarket, luxury side, as well as its fair share of beauty spots. From Table Mountain to golden beaches, you can feast your eyes on beautiful views as you explore one of South Africa’s most significant national parks. The city is also the place to sample some of South Africa’s best wines, and has been named 2014’s World Design Capital. If you’re looking to experience the joys of the Mother City, there are flights to Cape Town that depart from a number of UK and US cities. Here’s what you could enjoy when you get there:
First off, Cape Town has serious appeal for anyone who appreciates the beauty of nature. Table Mountain National Park is considered by many to be the wild soul of the city, and includes the beaches and rugged coastline of Cape Point. Hiking and biking are great ways to explore the area, and you can stay over in rustic huts or camp out under the stars. It’s the combination of soaring mountains, glittering ocean and pale beaches that makes the Table Mountain area so awe inspiring. A tablecloth of clouds drifts over the park’s centerpiece, which provides a magnificent backdrop to the city. The Table Mountain Trail and Cape of Good Hope Trail are rites of passage for any hiking enthusiasts who visit the city.
Visiting the vineyards
Some of the oldest vineyards in South Africa are located on Table Mountain’s slopes, in an area known as Constantia. Several estates date back to the 1600s, and you can find out all about the history on guided tours. Of course, there’s also plenty of opportunity for wine tasting. You can relax in the area’s restaurants, or enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the estates.
A city of color
Cape Town has been named World Design Capital of 2014, and you’ll have loads of fun finding out why. Woodstock is a good place to begin. This decidedly trendy district has become Cape Town’s most important arts center, the tumbledown Victorian buildings and warehouses giving it such a unique character. Now the stomping ground for the city’s most important artists, you can buy yourself an original and stroll round stylish contemporary galleries. In the city center you’ll find buildings with brightly painted facades and an innovative approach to design in many of the central restaurants and bars. Cape Town is proud of its multicultural population, and the mix of influences shows in everything from design to cuisine.
Stepping back in time
Cape Town has a wealth of history behind it to delight fans of the facts and figures of days gone by, with Robben Island topping the list for them. Nelson Mandela was incarcerated in the island’s prison for many years, and it now serves as a moving tribute to his life, struggles and achievements. You can tour the preserved prison and find out more about the region’s troubled history.
There are many sides to Cape Town, all converging under the flat-topped table mountain. Are you headed there on a travel adventure? Which of its charms are you most looking forward to experiencing?
Robin Groves is a geographer based out in South Africa. He especially enjoys following the Springboks.