Travel

Travel Spotlight… Cape Town, South Africa

A must visit for travellers of all types.

4 months Discovery Channel

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Cape Town is one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations, and with good reason. Beautiful mountaintops, breathtaking beaches, and historical architecture has been protected and celebrated by smart infrastructural decisions, and bolstered by a booming local and tourist trade — all of which makes it the perfect getaway for any sized group, on any budget.

For a quick way to see the stunning scope of Cape Town first up, why not hop the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, a five-minute cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain. It’s the most stunning and visually spectacular way to see the majesty of the city, but it’s a tease – you’ll soon want to get amongst it and experience the best of what the city has to offer up close.

QUICK TRAVEL TO-DOS

See: Catch a quick cable car up Table Mountain and take in the view.
Eat: Head to Miller’s Thumb or Pigalle Restaurant and enjoy fish plucked from an ocean mere metres away.
Drink: Do a little wine tasting at one of the Constantia wineries.
History: Take a tour of Robben Island, the once isolated island prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years.
Relax: Laze around on one of the four pristine beaches in Clifton – or one of a few dozen others within spitting distance.
Adventure: Cage dive with great white sharks, anytime of the year.
Shopping: Visit over 450 stores at Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
Art & Culture: The world-famous Goodman Gallery showcases the best contemporary art, much with an African focus.

SHOPPING AND ARCHITECTURE

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is nestled on the Atlantic shore, and is both South Africa’s oldest operating harbour, and the country’s largest tourist attraction, regularly receiving over 25 million visitors within a calendar year. Aside from the aesthetic, the area’s appeal is obvious – with over 450 retail outlets ranging from the international designer outlets to small one-person operations crafting trinkets on site, you could lose an entire weekend just browsing, and taking in the elaborate architecture.

Speaking of architecture, fans of the Cape Dutch style will marvel at the high destiny of these buildings in the Western Cape, especially in the ornate and affluent suburb of Constantia. In fact, it’s the biggest cluster of Cape Dutch architecture in the world, if you wanna get educational while holiday making.

BEACHES

If it’s natural architecture you’re hankering for, visitors on a limited timeframe cannot go past Clifton Beach – one of the world’s most pristine beaches, despite the tourism trade having caught up with the place over the past few decades. Still, the fact the city is uniquely-positioned on a cape means that beach-goers are spoiled by numerous varying beaches within close proximity of each other, meaning you can hit a number of them during a day-trip. In fact, one of the city’s most notable features is the shockingly different swimming climate, depending on which side of the cape you happen to dip: the Atlantic is a chilly 13 degrees on average, while False Bay is a much more pleasing swim, averaging 17 degrees throughout the year.

Whale watching (and dolphin) tours are popular in the region; between August and November is the best time to spot a variety of species, however the ever-present killer whale can be spotted at any point throughout the year, should you want to dice with danger. And for the particularly adrenalin-hungry, this region is THE place to cage-dive. Home to over 60,000 Cape fur seals yearly, the waters around False Bay’s Seal Island attracts huge numbers of great white sharks, hunting for their next meal. It’s one of the only places in the world where you can witness the breath-taking sight of this apex predator breaching. The seals can be seen all year round, but cage diving peak season is May through September.

If a coastal drive is more your pace, the stretch between Bakoven and Oudekraal is known for a series of mountains known as the Twelve Apostles — these are quite different to Victoria’s own landmarks, but equally as appealing.

GET PAMPERED OR CAMPERED

If you are looking to stay in luxury, Cape Town has you more than covered, with the Steenberg Golf Club offering private villas surrounded by both the lush golf course, and the beautiful Constantia wineries –  home to some of the finest drops in the known universe. If you’d rather laze by the beach, a strip of luxury hotels on South Beach looks out onto lovely Camp Bay beach.

Or maybe Mandela Rhodes Place is more your pace, with family friendly packages and breathtaking views of the city. Packages often involve all-inclusive travel cards, too, which makes getting around the city a breeze.

Alternatively, if you don’t mind staying a little bit out of the city, just an hour from Cape Town is what would have to be one of the world’s weirdest caravan parks ever, Old Mac Daddy, with odd futuristic (in a ‘70s type of way) tin can vans, tractor rides, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, clay pigeon shooting, and much more, to add some rustic charm to your stay.

As with all holidays, it is what you make of it – whether you decide to stay metres from a pristine beach, or in a tin can an hour from the coast, make sure you get out there and enjoy the world around you.

Words by Nathan Jolly | Images sourced from ShutterStock