By Ismail Sebugwaawo
With its historical attachments and the endless attractions, what Cape Town has to offer is simply amazing.
Strategically located on the coast, the city flaunts its natural beauty with pride. The port city on the southern tip of South Africa is on a peninsula beneath the imposing Table Mountain.
Slowly-rotating cable cars climb to the mountain’s flat top, from which there are sweeping views of the city, the busy harbor and boats heading for Robben Island, the notorious prison that once held Nelson Mandela, which is now a living museum.
Cape Town has sensational beaches, stunning scenery from high up in the mountains and beautiful landscapes stretching along the Atlantic Ocean, making it easy for the first time visitor to fall in love with this glorious city. Besides the beautiful scenery, the city offers exceptional food and luxurious accommodation options. It is also the site of some interesting museums and art galleries.
“Cape Town is an amazing city. With its beautiful natural sceneries, the good weather and hospitality, almost every visitor falls in love with this part of the world” Christine May, from one of the top tour firms, told this Khaleej Times reporter during a tour of Cape Town.
“Known as the ‘Mother City’ between the ocean and the mountain, with a rich cultural heritage spanning more than 300 years and a national park at its heart, Cape Town is such a unique place. It’s an ideal place for adventurers and those fancying holiday leisure.”
For those visiting the city for just sun and beaches, the best time would be January to April and from September to October when the weather is quite cooler.
Some of the famous beaches include Camp Bay, Big Bay, Blouberg, Clifton and Boulders Beach.
For shopping and refreshing, the waterfront area, in the heart of Cape Town, is just the perfect place to unwind with a sundowner at the end of a hectic day. This place offers restaurants, designer shopping, an aquarium, cinemas, street performances and great views of Table Mountain and the harbour.
The Cape of Good Hope
This is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa. The Cape of Good Hope is the place where a visitor can enjoy the country’s natural beauty. It is a beautiful spot with unpredictable weather and baboons that will try to raid your car. Visitors here are always told not to feed baboons. At this place, you can also spot adorable penguins playing in the ocean. For the best views of the Cape of Good Hope, visitors always climb to the lighthouse, at the top of the Rocky Mountains along the coastline, in a paved path with several long stone staircases. Located 70km away from Cape Town city, The Cape plays an important role in South African history as a stopping point for trading ships sailing between Europe and the European colonies in the east.
The flat-topped Table Mountain, rising more than 1,000m south of the city centre, is the best place from where of Cape Town can be seen. The vertical cliffs and the long flat summit of the iconic landmark can be seen from most areas of Cape Town, but taking the cable car ride up the mountain is a must for visitors. Built from massive beds of sandstone and slate, the mountain forms the northern end of the Cape Peninsula and lies within Table Mountain National Park. A blend of rugged mountains, moonlit beaches, ancient forests and much more surrounded by the city, the beautiful views from the top of the beaches and the ocean give a great ephemeral feel. Table Mountain National Park is recognised as one of the world’s most remarkable attractions — a scenic, historic, cultural and recreational asset.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
This is a beautiful setting on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain and just behind Table Mountain National Park. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens comprises of beautiful huge gardens and which are so greens a times giving an overwhelming scenery. The long tree-top walkway inside the gardens, gives the visitor an incredible birds eye view of the plants and the gardens all around. The botanical gardens are home to some popular summer concerts.
World of Birds
Located in Hout Bay and housing over 3,000 birds of 400 species from all parts of the world, this place is arguably the biggest bird park in Africa. Here the birds are beautifully displayed in a spacious and free environment. This allows visitors to interact closely with them. The bird park is an ideal destination for birding enthusiasts.
Meet the penguins at Boulders Beach
The beautiful Boulders Beach is home to local inhabitants — African penguins in their thousands, who know how to pull the crowds as tourists get closer to them, eager to take photographs. With its ancient granite boulders protecting it from the wind and large waves, it is also a popular family-friendly swimming spot: Kids can climb over the boulders, explore the rock pools, or swim in the cool, clear water. Located at False Bay just outside Simon’s Town, the beach is great place for a leisurely picnic.
Located in Table Bay, 6.9km west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, Robben Island is the unique symbol of “the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, suffering and injustice”. It has been used as prison and a place where people were isolated, banished and exiled to for nearly 400 years. The late Mandela, South African first black president and anti-apartheid revolutionary and freedom fighter, spent many years in the prison on this island.
Ismail is a father of three girls. Chasing stories in the capital with a humanitarian bent of mind keeps him in the profession