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Welcome to Cape Town

Cape Town

Overlooked by the distinctive Table Mountain and fringed by pearly white beaches lies beautiful Cape Town.  With a national park at its heart and no shortage of entertainment, culture, fine dining, and top class hotels it is truly one of the world’s most attractive destinations.  Cape Town’s diverse architectural styles add to its allure; from Cape Dutch to Georgian, as seen in the colourful Bo-Kapp district, to minarets and modern skyscrapers. Sightseeing highlights include the cable car trip to Table Mountain, rising 1086m above sea level. On the precipitous Chapman’s Peak Drive, enjoy spectacular views over the pounding Atlantic Ocean.  The V&A Waterfront is a hive of activity, with its wealth of shops, restaurants, wine boutiques and its unique aquarium.  It is also the starting point for the excellent Robben Island excursion. Many forms of sport are available; from paragliding off Lion's Head to windsurfing off Blouberg Beach. After dark, enjoy nighclubs, jazz venues, theatres and restaurants. Take a day tour around the Cape Peninsula to Cape Point, or explore the Garden Route, Hermanus and the Winelands or experience an African safari at Kariega Game Reserve.

The lure of a holiday in Cape Town lies in its spectacular setting and the beauty of its natural environment, as well as the rich cultural diversity of its people.

It has had a long and turbulent history, and the effects of Apartheid still linger in the minds and hearts of the people. Transformation, however, has led to a feeling of hope in this new 'Rainbow Nation', which can be experienced in the cosmopolitan city centre of Cape Town. Flower sellers, business executives, parking attendants, office workers and shoppers all rub shoulders in a setting of both historical and modern buildings, backed by the city's most famous landmark, Table Mountain. The colourful Malay Quarter, the remains of District Six, St George's Cathedral, Government Avenue and the old Castle are historically significant, while world-class African and international restaurants tempt travellers with their culinary delights. Although an African city, Cape Town has a marked European influence and visitors can experience the excitement of Africa from the comforts of First World surroundings.

It is a city with four distinct seasons, each working its particular magic on Cape Town and bringing with it a flood of associations - summer and white sandy beaches, autumn's crisp colours, the ferocity of stormy seas in winter, and spring's show of Cape fynbosflowers. This vast combination of culture, history and scenery leads to an unforgettable experience. This is a special place with much to contribute towards its growing reputation as a favoured travel destination.

Information & Facts


Cape Town, on the Cape Peninsula, has a Mediterranean climate with dry summers and wet winters. Seasons are well defined, with winter, between May and August, being influenced by a series of cold fronts that cross the Peninsula from the Atlantic Ocean. Winters are characterised by heavy rain, particularly on the mountain slopes, strong north-westerly winds, and low temperatures. In summer the weather in Cape Town is warm and dry, but the idyllic sunny weather is often punctuated with strong south easterly winds.

Eating Out

One of the many attractions of Cape Town is the quality and variety of restaurants in and around the city, which by international standards remain fantastic value. As well as a wide variety of international fare, there are numerous restaurants offering local Cape Malay dishes and traditional African cuisine, while seafood (especially sushi) is also extremely popular. Fine diners and families with young children will find they are equally well catered for.

Camps Bay and the Waterfront have a wide variety of restaurants, but many of the better ones are outside these tourist hotspots. The town of Franschhoek, 40 minutes outside Cape Town, is known as the gourmet capital of South Africa with plenty of first-rate restaurants, while many of the wine farms in Constantia and around Stellenbosch have fantastic restaurants for long lunching accompanied by a bottle of the superb local wine.

Visitors to Cape Town during the winter months should take advantage of "winter menus" offered by most restaurants - these are astoundingly good value deals, often packaged as a tasting menu of five courses or more.

Restaurants in Cape Town usually add a 10-15 percent service charge to tables of six or more; otherwise waiters expect a tip of 10-15 percent for good service. Recent legislation has banned smoking on all restaurant premises.

For a comprehensive list of restaurants in Cape Town check out

Getting Around

Cape Town and its suburbs sprawl for miles, but with the ocean and the dramatic landmarks of Table Mountain and Lions Head the city is fairly easy to navigate. Most of the hotels are situated along the Atlantic Seaboard. Public transport is poor and often unsafe, so most visitors hire a car, particularly if planning excursions from the city. To rent a car, drivers need to be over 23 years old and have a credit card and a full driving license (the license must have a photo and be in English, otherwise an International Driving Permit is required). Driving can be a harrowing experience in Cape Town and lane changes confusing, with signage often easy to miss, and the same road can change names several times.

For trips within the city or to the Atlantic beaches minibus taxis are cheap and convenient and can be hailed by adventurous travellers anywhere along their route, but the vehicles are often in very bad condition and the driving can be appalling. Passengers should expect to pay around R5 for most journeys within the city, but are cautioned against getting into an empty minibus. Golden Arrow buses leave from the main bus terminal to destinations around the city; although timings can be erratic they can be a good option for those on a budget.

Tourists are advised to avoid the trains, with the exception of the Simon's Town line, which runs through the residential Southern Suburbs, past Muizenberg and along the stunning False Bay coast. Pick pocketing is rife, however, and there have been several attacks on passengers.

Rikkis, or small, open rickshaw type vehicles, are a novel way to explore the city centre and Simon's Town and are usually safe and reliable. Taxis are expensive but are a good option at night for those without a car.

Public transport should not be taken after dark and the outlying township areas should be avoided at all costs unless on an organised tour.

Kids Attractions

With a warm climate, mountains, world-class beaches, and the great outdoors on its doorstep, there is no shortage of things for children to see and do in Cape Town. The question is more 'what can children notdo in Cape Town?' as the opportunities are endless.

Active families will enjoy the numerous hikes on Table Mountain, as well as the cable car. The surrounding areas, such as Tokai, False Bay and even Silvermine and Cape Point provide some excellent walking trails too. Being such a bicycle-friendly city, there are plenty of bike trails both on and off the mountains to be enjoyed. Pack the frisbee and sunscreen and head to one of Cape Town's picture-perfect beaches to enjoy a spot of sunshine, but beware - the water is cold! Or for a more relaxing day in the shade, pack a picnic and lie under the shade of a tree in the world-renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens where there is plenty of space for kids to run around. For those with less energy, pop the kids on one of Cape Town's open-top sightseeing buses - a great way to see the top attractions in Cape Town.

On days when outdoor activities are not an option, head off to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront where craft markets, boat rides and restaurants will keep the little ones entertained. The Two Oceans Aquarium is also located here and provides a fascinating and educational experience for children of all ages.

When the sun sets on the 'Mother City' there are plenty of great restaurants where kids are welcome, such as the family-friendly Spur, which offers indoor playgrounds, colouring books and balloons for the little ones.


South Africa has 11 official languages, including Afrikaans, English, Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho. English is widely spoken.


South Africa's currency is the Rand (ZAR), which is divided into 100 cents. Money can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and the larger hotels. ATMs are widely available (there is a daily limit for cash withdrawals) and major international credit cards are widely accepted, except in petrol stations where cash is required. Visitors should be vigilant when drawing cash from ATMs, as con artists are known to operate there. Travellers cheques and some foreign currencies are accepted at larger hotels and shops, but commission is charged, otherwise all commercial banks will exchange them.


By far South Africa's most cosmopolitan city, Cape Town's nightlife is definitely something to write home about. This multicultural city has something for just about everyone from fashionable bars and watering holes to classy dance clubs and hotel bars, and visitors and tourists alike will find themselves brushing shoulders with the who's who in Cape Town's social scene.

Kick things off by sipping on a cocktail and watching the sunset at one of Camps Bay's trendy sidewalk cafes in the summer, offering fancy cocktails and gorgeous ocean views. Somerset Road in Green Point is where the main gay and lesbian clubs and bars are situated, although it is not uncommon for straight people to frequent these places.

If that doesn't float your boat, head to Observatory for a more bourgeois bohemian experience with students from the University of Cape Town. Everything happens at a slightly slower pace here and pool halls, reggae bars, avant-garde eateries and live music are the order of the day. For a younger and more mainstream clubbing experience, head to main road in Claremont where teens prefer to drink and dance the night away at clubs like Tiger Tiger.

Long Street in the centre of town is the heart of Cape Town nightlife however, particularly the mountain end. There is just about every kind of bar or club on offer, from live music and deejay bars to pubs, dance clubs and the more trendy and laid-back 'lounge' variety. It's can be a difficult and confusing task choosing a venue to while away the hours, and you are likely to find people from a myriad of nations wandering the streets on weekend nights. Be wary of the numerous pickpockets in the crowd, however, and keep close watch on cell phones and wallets. This strip is happening all the time and there are plenty of quieter and less packed spots hidden away off the side streets. Near to Long Street, The Fez is a long-running popular club where you might run into international celebrities like Paris Hilton, Prince Harry, or Leonardo DiCaprio. There is almost always a great line-up of original South African bands playing at lots of venues around Cape Town, the most popular for rock and alternative music being Zula Sound Bar, Mercury Live and The Assembly, while Manenberg's Jazz Café at the Clock Tower is a great spot to tap your toe to a bit of jazz.

For culture vultures, there are great local and often international shows to be seen at one of the many theatres such as the Theatre on the Bay, the Baxter Theatre or ARTscape while On Broadway hosts a wonderful mix of comedies and farces. The Cape Town City Ballet, the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Cape Town Opera are all world-class performing groups. Maynardville Open-Air Theatre hosts Shakespeare in the Park performances in Wynberg every summer.

Unfortunately, there is little to no public transport after 7pm in Cape Town, besides private taxis which often need to be booked in advance and can be very expensive, so it is best to organise your own car - but make sure there is a designated driver as the accident rate on weekends is frighteningly high and police road blocks are common. Due to recent legislation, bars and clubs in Cape Town stop serving alcohol at 2am.


Shopping in Cape Town is largely centralised within a few shopping malls, the largest and most popular being in the V&A Waterfront, Cavendish Square and Century City. Many international brands can be found here, but shopping in Cape Town is not quite in the same league as international cities such as London, New York or Singapore.

Supermarkets are of a high standard, with Pick & Pay good for bulk shopping, while Woolworths is probably the best for fresh produce. For food lovers the Saturday morning market at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock is excellent for fresh, organic foods and unique, locally-made products. The Sunday craft market in Hout Bay is the place for handmade local arts and crafts, and for South African art it is worth taking a drive down to Kalk Bay and Simonstown where there are lots of small galleries.

The flea market at Greenmarket Square, off Longmarket Street, is worth a visit for African curios and gifts, where bargaining is often possible, particularly if buying a few items. Nearby Long Street also has a number of curio shops, mixed with local boutiques, and book and music stores. Popular Cape Town souvenirs include African masks, colourfully-printed fabric and clothing, and carvings made of wood and soapstone.

Most stops are open between 9am and 6pm, with reduced hours on the weekends. Stores in shopping malls may be open later, until 8 or 9pm. Overseas travellers can claim back VAT (14%) at the refund kiosk in Cape Town International Airport on presentation of all receipts; allow extra time before checking in.


From museums and historic sites to scenic drives and beaches, Cape Town has plenty to offer visitors in the way of attractions and excursions. The open-top, hop-on hop-off Explorer bus operates two routes with 13 stops each at sights within the central city, as well as further afield in the suburbs, which is an easy way to see many of the city's top attractions in one day. The city centre is easy to navigate on foot, with Table Mountain and the gentle slope of the city toward the sea providing a point of reference and making it difficult to get lost. At the very least, visitors usually include a trip up Table Mountain in the cable car on their itinerary, and many make time for an outing to Robben Island, Cape Point, the Winelands and of course any one of the city's many magnificent beaches.

Summertime visitors rarely come to Cape Town without at least one day spent enjoying its Blue Flag-rated beaches, whether lounging with the bronze bodies in Camps Bay and Clifton, or snorkelling with penguins in Simonstown. There are many active pursuits available in Cape Town as well, from kayaking with whales in the Atlantic Ocean, to hiking up Table Mountain or in the Tokai forest, to paragliding from Signal Hill to Camp's Bay.

For those with a bit more time, there are many museums that offer a glimpse into the apartheid era such as the District Six Museum, and an increasingly popular tour is to one of the predominantly black townships which usually includes a look at community projects, a visit to a craft market and a drink at a local shebeen.


Local time is GMT +2.

Cape Town has some great beaches, but the most easily accessible are on the Atlantic Ocean where the water is unbelievably cold; the locals rarely venture in beyond knee-high depths. The most popular is Camps Bay beach; a long, wide stretch of golden sand packed with locals and tourists alike and backed by a strip of fashionable bars and restaurants. Just towards town is Clifton, whose four beaches, imaginatively called First, Second, Third and Fourth, are situated beneath exclusive houses and apartments set into the cliff that protect sunbathers from the harsh southwesterly wind. First Beach is the largest and most popular with families (the steps are shorter), Second Beach is preferred by the 'camp' and 'hip' crowd, and Third and Fourth are usually frequented by well-toned locals and, when the waves are up, surfers. The small suburb of Llandudno, 15 minutes south of Camps Bay, is home to another excellent beach and is popular with locals from the Southern Suburbs or those keen to avoid the crowds. There are no bars or restaurants here, the nearest being at Hout Bay, another 10 minutes south. Hout Bay's long beach is popular with families and walkers but is not as stunning as its neighbours. The most popular beach for surfers is Muizenberg.

Bo-Kaap, or the old Malay Quarter, was declared an exclusive residential area for the Muslim Cape Malays under the Group Areas Act of 1950 during the Apartheid years, forcing people of other religions and ethnicity to leave, and today is still closely associated with the Muslim community. The houses have been restored and colourfully painted, and the steep cobbled streets, mosques, minarets and blend of Cape Dutch and Edwardian architecture make it one of the most interesting historical and cultural areas of the city. The Bo-Kaap Museum on Wale Street documents the history of the Cape Malays.

Butterfly World is one of Cape Town's more unique attractions. The tropical greenhouse features hundreds of exotic butterflies flying freely. Visitors are urged not to touch them, but the humid environment makes the perfect butterfly watching setting. Butterfly World also features a Spider Room where exotic spiders and scorpions can be viewed in their glass terrarias. There is a small gift shop tearoom for those wanting to take a break from all the invertebrate antics.

Most visitors to Cape Town are keen to make a day trip 40 miles (65km) from the city to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, not only to take in its floral diversity in what at first sight appears to be a bleak landscape, but to stand at the top of the towering promontory at the most southerly point of the Cape Peninsula (not of Africa, visitors must go further afield to Cape Agulhus for this). From the viewpoint and lighthouse at Cape Point, reached via a funicular, it is awesome to watch the thundering waves crashing at the base of the cliffs 686ft (209m) below. The reserve itself is worth exploring, particularly on foot, for those interested in birds and botany. The restaurant at Cape Point has a terrace offering spectacular views. Resident baboons here enjoy the spoils from tourists' snacks - particularly their ice-cream; they can be quite aggressive. Because feeding of the baboons carries a stiff penalty, it is worth ensuring there are no free lunches for these hirsute scavengers!

South Africa's oldest building, the Castle was completed in 1679 (replacing an earlier mud and timber fort built by the first Dutch Governor, Jan van Riebeeck). Situated adjacent to a parking lot and bus station in Buitenkant Street, its walls mark the original boundary of the seashore where the waves washed up against the fortifications. Its outside aspect is somewhat foreboding, but inside are some interesting features and collections that have been restored, offering a good insight into the early days of the Cape when it was the centre of social and economic life. The castle is a pentagonal fortification with a moat and five bastions, each named for one of the titles of the Prince of Orange. The entrance is a good example of 17th century Dutch Classicism, and a bell, cast in 1679 by Claude Fremy in Amsterdam, still hangs from the original wood beams in the tower above the entrance. The castle contains a Military Museum depicting the conflicts that arose during the Cape's early settlement, and also houses the William Fehr Collection of decorative arts, including paintings, furniture and porcelain. Of interest are the dungeons, which bear the graffiti carved by prisoners incarcerated here centuries ago.

Chapman's Peak Drive is one of the most spectacular coastal roads in South Africa, linking the seaside community of Hout Bay to the Noordhoek Valley along the Atlantic Coast, with breathtaking views from along the narrow, winding road blasted into the cliffs. Constructed in 1915, the six-mile (9km) route took about seven years to complete and was built as a shorter, alternative route between Cape Town central and the South Peninsula. Many visitors use this scenic route to reach Cape Point Nature Reserve situated at the tip of the Peninsula.

Until the 1960s, District Six was a vibrant district of Cape Town, close to the city centre and the harbour. In 1966 the government declared District Six a 'whites only' area under the Group Areas Act and over 60,000 residents were forcibly moved to the outlying Cape Flats, a barren area several kilometres away, and their homes flattened by bulldozers. Communities and families were uprooted and torn apart, and this moving museum serves to safeguard the memories and the spirit that was District Six. The museum houses an impressive collection of historical materials, including photographs and relics such as street signs, much of which were donated by former residents. The museum also offers a guided tour of the area led by an ex resident, but these must be booked in advance.

Situated in the Central Business District, near the main station, is Greenmarket Square, the perfect spot to observe South Africa's 'rainbow nation' in all its hues. Once the scene of slave markets, this is the site of one of the city's most vibrant flea markets, where clothing, jewellery, knick-knacks and souvenirs are on sale every day, and tourists and business people rub shoulders in the many sidewalk cafes that surround this busy cobbled square. Be prepared to haggle at the market to get the best prices and be warned, touts are prevalent. On the west side of the square is the Old Town House, dating from the mid-18th century, which is a wonderful example of Cape Dutch architecture and houses the Michaelis collection of Dutch and Flemish landscape paintings.

Hermanus is situated about 120km from Cape Town and has the status of being the best land-based whale watching destination in the world. Southern right whales visit Walker Bay from June through to December and can be viewed from aboard a boat, an airplane or the shore. Hermanus is home to the world’s only Whale Crier who blows his kelp horn when whales are spotted along the central sea route. Hermanus may no longer be a village, but the character and atmosphere of this vibrant town offers a lifestyle few places can match. A number of craft markets sell a range of interesting wares, a marimba band frequently adds a vibrant atmosphere at the old harbour, with its restored fishing boats. Shark cage diving provides an adrenaline fix for adventure lovers and kayaking trips on the sea or lagoon can also be enjoyed.

Locals and international visitors alike make the pilgrimage south of Cape Town to Hermanus, just a few hours' drive down the coast. The town is known for its whale watching, as Southern Right Whales migrate through the area to nearby Walker Bay. There are also opportunities to view other wildlife, including dolphins, seals, penguins, and Great White Sharks. While its most popular attraction is offshore, the town itself offers much to do, from browsing shops and restaurants in the quaint downtown area to venturing further afield to wine farms and beaches and neighbouring towns like Stanford, Gansbaai, and Caledon. Active pursuits include horseback riding, quadbiking, hiking, sandboarding, mountain biking, kayaking and zip lines.

Five miles (eight km) south of the city centre lies the magnificent Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, covering a huge expanse of the rugged south-western slopes of the Table Mountain range. Kirstenbosch was bequeathed to the nation by mining magnate Cecil Rhodes in 1895, and today contains more than 22,000 plants, a research unit, botanical library and nursery. Numerous paths meander through the gardens, including a Braille route for the blind, which are full of lush shrubs and 'fynbos', the Cape's indigenous floral heritage. A tearoom, restaurant and coffee bar are on site. In summertime the delightful setting becomes the venue for Sunday evening open-air concerts, when picnickers relax on the lawns, sipping Cape wine, and enjoying the sunset entertainment.

A historical beach-side suburb on the False Bay coast, Muizenberg is popular with families for its long, gentle-sloping beach, warm water, beautiful views, and activities such as mini-golf and waterslides. The beach is famous for its row of colourful changing houses and is a photo favourite from the mountain road far above. Muizenberg beach has also long been the preference of beginner surfers and several popular surf schools have been established at Surfers Corner, the closest side to the mountain. False Bay is known for its Great White Shark population, but a shark watch service is in operation to give warning to bathers and surfers. A scenic walkway below the railway line links Muizenberg to the next seaside village of St James with its tidal pool. The delightful fishing village of Kalk Bay is a few minutes drive away with its protected harbour, and its main street lined with fascinating antique and art shops, as well as cafes and restaurants.

Cape Town's most famous theme park, Ratanga Junction is a must for all those up for a thrilling day out in the sun with plenty of rides and activities to keep even the most active of children occupied. The park features gift shops and a food hall for weary riders, or those just looking to rest their legs for a while. The most popular ride by far is the Cobra, a snake like rollercoaster ride that flips the occupants round 360 degrees.

As one of the world's great cultural world heritage destinations, Robben Island is memorable for both its tragedy and exultation, and its testimony to faith. Between the 17th and 20th century Robben Island was used as a place for banishment and imprisonment. This island was made famous because of the political prisoner Nelson Mandela who was held there for many years.  When Nelson Mandela was released he became the president of South Africa. Since 1997 it has been turned into a national museum and placed on the World Heritage List. There are daily tours to the island that last three and half hours.

The tours, which are guided by former prisoners, include a visit to the maximum-security prison on the island where an estimated 3,000 freedom fighters were incarcerated between 1962 and 1991.

An amazing place for kids to learn about the wonders of precious stones, minerals and gems, the Scratch Patch gives children a little piece of what they have learnt to take home with them. And children love nothing more than little gifts! They will be able to scratch around in a pit of off-cuts of precious stones, such as Tiger's Eye, Jasper, Amethyst, and Rose Quartz, to name a few and for small price, of course.

Take a trip to Seal Island, also known as Duiker Island, located just outside of Hout Bay. Boats leave regularly from Hout Bay docks and take passengers on a trip outside the harbour and into the ocean, where breathtaking views of can be enjoyed of Hout Bay and all the way across to Noordhoek, Chapman's Peak and Kommetjie. The boat stops just below the Hout Bay Sentinal where hundreds of Cape Fur Seals bask on the small island in the sun. The sight is a smelly, yet magical one and it is a treat these creatures in their natural habitat.

A recommended day excursion from the city includes a trip through the southern suburbs and along the scenically beautiful False Bay coastline via Muizenberg to Simonstown, South Africa's principal naval base. Simonstown lies about 25 miles (40km) from the city and is a quaint town built around a naval dockyard, with well-preserved Victorian buildings, museums, sidewalk cafes and local legends to learn about. One such legend is about a dog called 'Just Nuisance' who 'joined' the British navy, becoming their mascot, when Simonstown was a British base. A short distance from the town is Boulder's beach, famous for its protected colony of African Penguins (formerly Jackass Penguin) that can be viewed from the boardwalks.

The imposing South African Museum, dedicated to natural history and the human sciences, contains a huge variety of fascinating exhibits from entire chunks of caves bearing rock art, to traditional arts and crafts from several African tribes. The natural history galleries are full of mounted mammals, dioramas of prehistoric reptiles and a collection of whale skeletons, which can be viewed with the eerie sound of whale song echoing in the background. Alongside the museum is the Planetarium, which has a changing programme of thematic shows involving the southern constellations. Booking ahead is necessary for Planetarium shows.

Cape Town's Victorian Gothic style Anglican Cathedral, founded in 1901, is situated in Wale Street and is historically significant for it is where the enthronement of South Africa's first black archbishop, Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, took place. The Cathedral is unique in that it became a political powerhouse in the struggle against Apartheid, known as 'the people's cathedral', stating openly from the 1950s onwards that it was open to all people of all races at all times. This was a brave stand in the racially segregated society of the time. In subsequent years the cathedral became the venue for many protest gatherings and vigils and on occasions the building was surrounded by police, water cannons and barbed wire. Victims of forced removals were even accommodated in the cathedral at times. As far as architectural merit goes, the cathedral does feature some fine Gabriel Loire windows, including a magnificent Rose Window above the south transept.

Towering 1,085 m above Cape Town, Table Mountain is often covered with cloud known as “the table cloth”, giving the mountain its name. From the top you can take in the spectacular views of the city, the coastline, the ocean, Robben Island and Cape Peninsula. The journey to the top of Table Mountain is best enjoyed in the cable car which has a rotating floor to ensure you get a 360 degree view, while the journey down can include an opportunity to do the longest commercial abseil in the world. Table Mountain is also a place of richly diverse flora and fauna as the flat-topped sandstone plateau was formed 600 million years ago. There are a number of walking and hiking opportunities on Table Mountain, as well as rock-climbing routes. You can simply stroll along in the cool shade of indigenous forest or go hiking for a few days. Whichever you choose you won't be disappointed.

The mountaintop is equipped with a restaurant and small gift shop, as well as numerous pathways and vantage points. It is possible to climb the mountain via different routes, but inexperienced hikers should take care because Cape Town is prone to sudden weather changes. The walk up can take anything between one and four hours depending on the route and level of fitness. Route maps can be bought at the cable-car station. It is always best to check the website or call the weatherline to see if the cable car is in operation. Hikers should travel in groups, as there have been reports of robberies on the trails.

The N2 highway that connects Cape Town International Airport to the city is lined with townships, consisting of a mixture of shacks and solid buildings. During the days of apartheid, people of colour were not allowed to live in the white suburbs and were banished to areas away from the city. Township tours allow visitors to experience how the majority of Capetonians live in the townships that surround the city. Guides, often residents, take visitors around to meet the people, see community projects, have a drink in a 'shebeen' (township pub) and shop for local crafts. Each township has its own colourful character, and despite their difficult living conditions, residents are generally hospitable and delighted to receive visitors. Townships were once no-go areas for many people, but today a visit is becoming a popular experience for tourists to Cape Town. Visit Langa, the oldest of South Africa's black townships, established in 1923, or the newest and second largest in the country, Khayelitsha, which dates from the 1980s. Guguletu and Nyanga were set up in the 1950s. Visitors are advised not to visit the townships alone; there are many tour companies that offer tours, including transport to and from the township areas. Contact the Cape Town Tourism Visitor Information Centre or its satellite, the Sivuyile Tourism Centre in Guguletu for information about tours, accommodation and entertainment in the townships.

The Cape sits at the meeting place of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and over 3,000 sea animals from both oceans are showcased in the aquarium, highlighting the diversity of marine life found in the waters around Cape Town. The Two Oceans Aquarium is one of the city's top attractions and visitors of all ages will be fascinated by the variety of exhibits, such as the Predator Exhibit, featuring large sharks and rays, a kelp forest, and animals such as seals, penguins and turtles among thousands of different fish. It is also possible to dive with the ragged-tooth sharks, or in the kelp forest while feeding hundreds of fish, but advanced booking is required and divers must present dive qualifications.

The V&A Waterfront is a blend of Victorian architecture, maritime tradition, and African culture combining to create a one-of-a-kind shopping environment that is unrivalled anywhere in the world. There are 400 stores selling everything from fashion, homewares and curios, to jewellery, leather goods and audiovisual equipment. Add a diverse offering of local and international brands that guarantee something for everyone, irrespective of taste or budget and about 80 restaurants and bars catering for anything from fast food to fine-dining and its small wonder that the place is so popular with locals and tourist alike. Year-round arts and culture exhibitions, musical shows, sporting challenges and entertainment designed to meet the discerning requirements of every cultural persuasion, add to its allure, and as all stores operate daily until 9pm, there's no excuse to not visit.

The Two Oceans Aquarium is the largest of its kind in Africa and is an impressive display of life in the oceans surrounding the Cape Coast (

The ostrich farm is home to over 220 ostrich species as well as other birds, including dwarf ostriches, black-necked ostriches, peacocks, emus, and rheas. Tour guides are informative, and a 45-minute tour (which can be conducted in English, Afrikaans, German or French) includes an opportunity to sit on a live ostrich, stand on an ostrich egg, and visit the breeding enclosures where newly hatched chicks can often be seen. There is also an Egg Factory, Leather Factory, curio shop and a restaurant specialising in ostrich dishes.

Boasting over 400 different species of birds and a wide variety of other animals including squirrel monkeys and meerkats, the World of Birds features a children's play area and a tearoom for the parents to stop and take a break. Children will love exploring the grounds and discovering and learning about all the birds and animals here.

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