Cape Town is the main city on South Africa's Western Cape; a part of the world that was once infamous amongst explorers and now represents one of Africa's most prosperous regions.
South Africa's Western Cape is home to the Cape of Good Hope, which was a famous landmark for explorers and traders attempting to find stop off points and supply links on their visits to India. The Dutch East India Company started to establish major settlements here in the 17th century.
Now, Cape Town is the number one tourist destination in South Africa, and this has led to increased investment and some decent prosperity in recent years, although huge inequalities still exist. Cape Town was a venue for many of the 2010 World Cup games, and since then the real estate markets have blossomed. There is a huge diversity of life and culture in Cape Town, the first language of the majority is Afrikaans; the rest speak either Xhosa or English.
In terms of Cape Town's natural environment, few cities in the world have such awe inspiring character. Table Mountain is the main attraction, and provides a dramatic backdrop to the city. The natural geology of the area creates a famous bowl effect, with Table Mountain looming high over the city and Devil's Peak and Lion's Head stretching out like arms around it.
You can ascend Table Mountain either by foot or by cable car, and for serious hikers Lion's Head is a worthy challenge.
Table Mountain is part of the wider Table Mountain National Park which incorporates the aforementioned Cape of Good Hope. The Cape of Good Hope is a must see for anyone visiting the area; firstly because it is the southern pinnacle of the entire African continent, and also because it was such an important point in the history of world exploration and trade, summed up by a rocky outpost and a humble lighthouse.
The Cape of Good Hope is one of the marking points where the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean meet, and although it is not the specific crossing point (Cape Agulhas has the rights to that claim), it has somewhat adopted that mantle. (Note - Cape Town's Two Ocean's Aquarium is one of the most impressive in the world). Cape Point represents the end of the peninsula.
Clifton Beach and Camp's Bay Beach provide a more relaxed side to life in Cape Town and are very popular with tourists, but Boulder's Beach is perhaps the star of the show due to its Penguin Colony.
Last updated: 14 March 2014