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Cape Town is a modern city steeped in history and cultural events which are inextricably linked with that of South Africa, from the days when the Khoisan ran free, to the arrival of the Dutch who colonized the Cape and brought thousands of slaves to the shores of the Cape Peninsula. Cape Town, The Mother City of South Africa, has been at the forefront throughout the monumental events that transpired during the dark times of Apartheid, up to the present day democratic freedom enjoyed by all South Africans.
What to see in Cape Town
Built in 1679 by the Dutch-East India Company, this former Slave Lodge housed thousands of slaves is situated on Church square and is open to the public for viewing.
THE CASTLE OF GOOD HOPE
This is a good place to start exploring the City of Cape Town and its history by visiting the oldest building in South Africa, the Castle of Good Hope. The castle was built by the first Dutch settlers as a fortress to protect the shoreline from invaders.
Explore the cobbled streets of Government avenue which are lined with institutions with historical interest such as the State President’s Cape residence called “De Tuynhuis”, and the beautiful Company Gardens where you can feed the tame squirrels and thousands of pigeons.
Table Mountain has recently been declared one of the seven wonders of the world and the modern cable car system is a popular way to see the magnificent views of Cape Point and the panoramic views of the Cape Peninsula. A range of mountain peaks surrounding the Cape Peninsula is called the Twelve Apostles and forms a spectacular backdrop to a scenic coastal drive. Signal Hill is used as a site for flying weather flags to communicate weather conditions and is a fantastic vantage point for spectacular vistas and views.
The gardens are situated on the Eastern slope of Table Mountain and is internationally acclaimed to be one of the seven “most magnificent botanical gardens” in the world. It comprises 528 hectares of cultivated gardens and a nature reserve with collections of indigenous South African plants, including many endangered and rare species. The gardens are a popular spot for nature tours and Sunday picnics with a gift shop, restaurant, nursery, bookshop and a stone sculpture exhibition on permanent display.
TWO OCEANS AQUARIUM
Displaying ocean life from the smallest fantastical Knysna Seahorses to the largest sharks, this is one of just a handful of aquariums in the world with a living giant kelp forest display. Have a tactile adventurous experience at the Touch Pool and come face to face with giant spiders. At the I & J Predator Exhibition you can view large ragged tooth sharks through an eleven meter long window and qualified divers can make use of a unique opportunity to dive with the sharks.
THE SOUTH AFRICAN MUSEUM
The South African Museum is filled with interesting exhibits such as artifacts from the first people known to have inhabited the Cape, the Khoi and the San.
IZIKO SOUTH AFRICAN MUSEUM
This amazing museum is home to more than 1 ½ million specimens with scientific importance, ranging from fossils that are estimated to be more than 700 million years old to new species of fish and insects that have recently been discovered.
Housed in the South African Museum, this celestial round theater utilizes multiple projectors and the complex star machine, Minolta, to transport audiences through a wonderful trip of the universe. The night sky is recreated inside the domed auditorium so that the sky always appears clear, regardless of the actual weather outside, a truly extraordinary experience for young and old.
The Bo-Kaap Museum maps the tale of Cape Town’s slave trade, most of whom were brought from Malaya and is situated in the colorful and boldly painted Bo-Kaap quarter on the slopes of Signal Hill. The descendants of these slaves are known as the Cape Malay, and although they have been absorbed into the unique Coloured communities of South Africa, they have retained their staunch Muslim faith and their neighborhoods are dotted with mosques that call them to prayer from the minarets.
DISTRICT SIX MUSEUM
This fascinating museum is located on Buitenkant Street in the city center and traces the forced removal of the Coloured inhabitants of District Six to make way for property development during the Apartheid era.
One of Cape Town’s most popular tourist destinations and a highlight on travel agendas is a trip to Robben Island, where the most famous South African freedom fighters were incarcerated. This is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. The island was evacuated after the release of Mandela and declared a World Heritage Site in December of 1997. The island is situated approximately 11 km off the coast of Cape Town and organized tours are conducted on a regular basis, sometimes led by the very prisoners who had been held there for many years and who have fascinating tales to tell.
CAPE FLATS TOURS
Township tours are growing in popularity and on a tour to the Cape Flats you will get a behind the scenes view of a new urban culture being forged out of the past. You will experience first hand how these communities live and work on a day to day basis, with authentic arts and crafts exhibitions and their unique take on environmental and sustainable development projects.
GROOTE SCHUUR HOSPITAL
A fully guided tour with replicas of scenes and life size silicone models allows tourists to experience the drama of the first successful heart transplant performed by Professor Chris Barnard in 1967 in a fully restored operating theater. The fascinating stories of the donor, the recipient and the medical team who were involved in this world famous operation are told during the tour and it is an experience not to be missed.
Cape Town is a year round destination and its beaches are famous for surfing, sunbathing and Clifton Beach sports the most beautiful bikini girls in the world. There is something for everyone in the family to enjoy, and Cape Town has been host to many popular international shows. You would need several return trips to discover everything that Cape Town has to show.
[su_note]Stay in one of these stunningly beautiful 4 star hotels in Cape Town the next time you travel there.[/su_note]