Cape Town is the Mother City of South Africa, a place where old and new harmoniously converge – in history, architecture, cultural pursuits and the essence of its people.
Being the second largest city in South Africa and the capital of the Western Cape Province, it is also the legislative capital of South Africa (the Houses of Parliament are here).
The city has several well-known natural features that attract tourists, most notably Table Mountain. Many tourists also drive along Chapman’s Peak Drive, a narrow road that links Noordhoek with Hout Bay, for the views of the Atlantic Ocean and nearby mountains. Many tourists also visit Cape Town’s beaches, which are popular with local residents. Beaches located on the Atlantic Coast tend to have very cold water as the water is mostly glacial melt from Antarctica.
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is situated around the historic Victoria and Alfred basins. Its setting is incomparable, and continuous activity is provided by the working harbour. There are scenic views of Table Mountain, historic buildings, museums, live entertainment, boat trips, helicopter flights, cinemas and numerous stores and restaurants. The Two Oceans Aquarium and trips to Robben Island are major attractions. Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre, Alfred Mall, Pierhead, Waterfront Trading Company and Red Shed Craft Workshop are popular shopping destinations, catering for most shopping needs. Street musicians and other buskers add to the festive atmosphere of the Waterfront, while further entertainment is provided in the outdoor amphitheatre. Accommodation is available in numerous hotels ranging from four to five star.
The Cape Peninsula stretches over an area of 457 square km. Table Mountain, which is part of the Table Mountain National Park, is one of South Africa's premier tourist attractions. The exhilarating ascent up Table Mountain is a must for any visitor. Access on foot via hiking trails such as Platteklip Gorge, Kasteelspoort or Skeleton Gorge, requires a fair degree of fitness, while the more leisurely option is via the ultra-modern cableway. From the various look-out points on the top of the mountain, there are breathtaking views of the city below, the peninsula and Robben Island.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, off Rhodes Drive, Newlands, is situated on the south-eastern slopes of Table Mountain. The garden was established in 1914 to cultivate South Africa's indigenous plants. Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, located 60 km from the city center at Cape Point, was established in 1939 to preserve the Cape's indigenous flora and fauna. Occupying the entire southern portion of the Cape Peninsula, the reserve offers many beautiful views of the Cape of Good Hope and False Bay and contains over 220 species of animal and birdlife. Whales can be viewed along the coastline of the peninsula between July and October. At Boulders Beach in Simons Town, there is a colon of African penguins.