Cape Town travel guide

 
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Cape Town is located in the south-west corner of the country near the Cape of Good Hope, and is the most southern city in Africa. Cape Town, the second largest city in South Africa, is the capital of the Western Cape Province, as well as being the legislative capital of South Africa.
The city is a stone’s throw from South Africa’s world-famous Cape Winelands around Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek.

Cape Town, one of the world’s most beautiful and easily manageable cities, has gorgeous beaches, dramatic vineyards, a stylish city centre and astonishing flat-topped mountain plonked smack bang in the middle.

The city is a world-class cosmopolitan city blessed with numerous sites of historical significance, and a lively night-life, top-class hotels and restaurants.

The Cape Town metropolitan area covers a large area, from Durbanville and Somerset West in the east to Cape Point in the south and Atlantis in the north

Getting There

 

Getting There:

By plane
The city is served by Cape Town International Airport which offers daily multiple flights to Johannesburg, Durban and all other major South African cities, as well as the Namibian cities of Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay and other destinations, including Gaborone, Maun and Nairobi. The airport is served by airlines such as South African Airways, Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM, Singapore Airlines, Malaysian, Emirates, Kulula.com, 1Time etc.
By train
Cape Town’s main train station is located in the city centre, on the corner of Adderley Street and Strand Street. Inter-city train services are operated by Shosholoza Meyl while MetroRail operates commuter train services in major cities. The inter-city train services come in different categories: Economy Class – seats only (no bunk beds); Tourist Class – offers seats and bunk beds for overnight trips (you are advised to bring a sleeping bed or buy bedding on the train); Premier Class – offers luxury and comfort, with all meals and bedding provided.

By car
The vast majority of roads in and around Cape Town are in a very good condition, making travelling by car an easy issue. However, please be aware of hijackers at night or at traffic lights. The danger is not as high as often emphasized by the media, but a good portion of precaution should be taken. Please ask your hotel staff or anyone familiar with the area about where it is safe and where it is not safe.

By bus
All major bus companies have Intercity connections from Cape Town, taking you to other cities in South Africa and to Windhoek in Namibia. There might be up to 6 buses a day to certain cities. Please ask at the nearby tourist information or in your hotel for connections and where your bus is going to leave, as finding your bus can become difficult.By boat
Most of the larger cruise lines, such as Princess Cruises offer Cape Town as one of their destinations.

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Attractions

 

Attractions:

Table Mountain

Overlooking Cape Town and visible from around the city, Table Mountain is as impressive from the top with views around the peninsula as it is from below. Table Mountain is officially one of the New7Wonders of Nature where visitors can explore natural wonder.


Castle of Good Hope
Built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a maritime replenishment station, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa. Today the Castle is the seat of the military and houses the Castle Military Museum and Iziko Museums of Cape Town.


District six museum
Established in December 1994, District six museum works is a community museum that illustrates the devastating effects apartheid had on people’s lives.


Century City
Located just a short drive from the city centre, Century City is a massive and architecturally astounding entertainment complex with clubs, pubs and restaurants and shops. Its Canal Walk shopping centre is the second largest mall in the southern hemisphere. The MTN Sciencentre provides a myriad of scientific distractions for children of all ages, with over 250 interactive displays.


Bo Kaap
Also known as the Malay quarters, it is a residential area on the slopes of Signal Hill long occupied by people of Muslim faith, boasts numerous dwellings and mosques dating back well over a century.


Company Gardens
Not just a collection of plants and trees, but a city centre relaxation area surrounded by striking buildings. The gardens were planted in 1652 to serve as a fruit and vegetable supply for the Dutch navy. It’s also home to several of the city’s key attractions such as South African National Gallery, South African Museum, Planetarium, Jewish Museum and Holocaust Centre as well as St George’s Cathedral, which became a potent symbol of anti-apartheid resistance as the site of political rallies.


Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
A magnificent sprawling gardens boast 5,000 indigenous plant species, justifying its rating as one of the top botanical gardens in the world. Kirstenbosch is a delightful place for a picnic, or an energetic hike through the natural fynbos (indigenous plants unique to the Western Cape). Sunset concerts are held every Sunday at 1730 between late November and April.


Robben Island
Located 12km from Cape Town in Table Bay, Robben Island houses the infamous prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in jail. Tours of the prison and the island are given by former political prisoners, who provide an insight of their experiences and struggle against apartheid. The museum in the prison also offers a wealth of information.


Two Oceans Aquarium
A world-class aquarium that displays marine life from the converging Atlantic and India Oceans. It houses 3,000 living sea animals, including sharks, turtles and a colony of penguins in light and airy display areas. A Children’s Centre offers fun activities for kids aged four to 10.

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Hotels

 

Hotels:

Ashgrove Villa
This 3-star Ashgrove Villa offers wonderful views over Cape Town. It’s within energetic walking distance to the city, though you may prefer a taxi for the return trip.


Cape Diamond
A good value 60-room hotel right in the city, with individually decorated rooms that are a cut above many others in it price range. The hotel has a roof top terrace bar plus a Jacuzzi for impressive city views. There’s a restaurant and a theatre café where buffet dinners are sometimes served against the backdrop of live music.


Cape Royale Luxury Hotel
The hotel offers guests a choice of three elegant restaurants, a spa and wellness centre, a pool on the roof and state-of-the-art meeting rooms. Also offers a complimentary shuttle will transport guests within a 5km (3.1 miles) radius.


City Lodge Pinelands
City Lodge Pinelands is an eight-minute drive from Cape Town International Airport, with rooms overlooking the Mowbray Golf Course. Facilities include a swimming pool, mini gym and boardrooms.


Courtyard Hotel Cape Town
Courtyard Hotel Cape Town is located 15 minutes from Cape Town International Airport by car. The hotel has a swimming pool, bar and restaurant and provides conferencing services.


David’s
Close to the city and praised for offering a warm welcome and being good value, David’s boasts a formal and an informal lounge, free internet access and a little garden and sun deck. Self-catering apartments are also available.


Inn on the Square
Situated on historic Greenmarket Square, an excellent location unbeatable for fans of city life. Previously known as the Park Inn, it offers friendly service, views of Table Mountain from its top floors, a pool and a sauna.


Protea Hotel Fire & Ice
This adventure and sports-orientated hotel offers elegant rooms with a state-of-the-art sound system and plasma screens. Guests in its bar and restaurant can watch swimmers in the illuminated pool through a glass-walled side. Free wireless internet access too.


Road Lodge Cape Town Airport Hotel
The Road Lodge Cape Town Airport Hotel is situated on the site of Cape Town International Airport and provides secure parking, wireless internet and a 24-hour reception.


Taj Cape Town
This is hot business hotel located right in the heart of the city centre, but equally big on leisure with sauna and steam rooms, a gym, spa and massage services and an indoor pool.

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