As the nights draw in, there’s only one thing for it. A spot of holiday planning! The South African city of Cape Town is the 2nd most populous in the country after the largest city, Johannesburg. Founded originally by the Dutch East India Trading Company, the city has grown from the victualling station it started as to a vibrant and beautiful city.
The views here are spectacular with a great blue ocean stretching out to the horizon and the mountains Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak behind. The city itself has settled into the natural semicircle of land between the two with a stunning array of architecture to be admired.
There are so many things to do in Cape Town, it would be impossible to list them all but here are a few highlights that have come up in my research.
Image Credit: Wikimedia
With the shadow of Table mountain looming over it’s shoulder, Cape Town City Hall is an exquisite building that somehow seems out of place here in South Africa. This is probably because it is built of limestone, imported from the spa town of Bath, England. In fact, most of the building materials used to build and decorate the building were imported from Europe.
Though this building is a tourist destination in its own right, what makes it so significant as a historical building is the balcony above the front doors. Here, Nelson Mandela gave his first public speech in 1990 after spending 27 years in prison.
Much of Mandela’s time in prison was spent here, on Robben Island:
Intriguingly, Mandela is one of three inmates of Robben Island who have gone on to become president of South Africa. This small green island is no longer the secure prison it was once, and has been a World heritage site since 1999. Visitors from Cape town can take a ferry across to the island and go on tours around the former prison.
Image Credit: Public Domain Pictures
Wherever you are in Cape Town, or indeed the surrounding area, Table Mountain seems to be the backdrop to ever social media picture. It is part of the reason that Cape Town itself is so popular with tourists – that and the perfect weather and beautiful beaches.
Image Credit: Flickr
This may be Africa, but Boulder’s Beach is home to penguins too! The African Penguins used to be called Jackass penguins because of the noise they make and can be found all along the Southern coast and right up to southern Namibia. These birds may be associated with cold and snow, but the African Penguin is well adapted for beach weather. They have pink patches just above their eyes where their blood rises close to their skin to cool them down. They blush as much in the heat as we do!
Cape Town looks like one of the most incredible cities on Earth and of all the places you could travel to, the history, culture and landscape here are as intriguing and counter-intuitive as you can get. Who would have thought that a building in South Africa would be made from limestone quarried in Bath or that penguins could adapt to the sandy shores of Africa? You have to see it to believe it. Here’s to 2018!
What destinations are on your bucket list for 2018? For more inspiration, check out the highlights in my TRAVEL section.