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Cape Town is the capital of Western Cape and the second largest African city with regards to population. It is also the legislative capital of South Africa and the most preferred tourist destination in the entire Africa, due to its marvelous natural settings and landmarks.
The first European settlement in South Africa was set in 1652, when the city was initially developed by the Dutch East India Company and it served as a supply station for ships that were on sea for months.
Today, the city is the second most important economic center of South Africa, it is a busy tourist city and it preserves the architectural style of the Dutch.
South Africa`s oldest city
Known as the Mother City and The Tavern of the Seas
Is about 3 times the size of New York City, but having approximately 3 million inhabitants
Home of the world`s largest timed cycle race, the Cape Argus Cycle Tour
Home of the `79 Nobel Physics Prize winner, Allan McLeod Cormack, who invented the CT Scanner
Is the city with almost half the population less than 24 years old.
Go to Table Mountain while being in Cape Town, but choose the cable car ride, as hiking will take you around half a day and it will be quite exhausting.
Go to Cape Point, which is the most southwestern point of Africa. You can visit there the Cape Point Nature Reserve which will delight you with a 249 meters high perspective from the cliffs and which houses mammals, ostriches and other 250 bird species.
Visit Robben Island, home of the former famous prison where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for over 20 years. It will be an interesting experience to view the place where lots of anti-apartheid activists were held in prison.
Experience the Cango Caves, an amazing natural wonder where you can see wonderful limestone formations that were formed in millions of years.
Go to Green Point Stadium, a brand new construction and an impressive place built to host eight matches in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Cape Town International Airport is the 3rd largest airport in Africa and the second largest airport in the ACSA network. It has a reputation as being the premier international airport in Africa, providing only quality travel services, having more than 260 arrivals and departures every day. In 2009, Cape Town International Airport had served more than 3 000.000 departing passengers and more than 40 000 air traffic movements. The public parking bay has a capacity of more than 4000 parking spots, having a shuttle service available that carries passengers throughout the car park.
It is easy to find you way around Cape Town! The public transportation options include taxis, buses, Rikkis, commuter trains and minibuses.
The most used transportation services (and the best option for those on a budget) are the minibuses, due to the fact that they are cheap and efficient.
In the city centre of Cape Town, travelers will also find Rikkis, small vans that operate like taxis. The Metro trains run to all the suburban areas, going as far as Stellenbosch and Paarl in the Winelands. The commuter trains travel very close to the ocean, offering passengers beautiful views.
The "topless" bus is often used by tourists to see Cape Town, providing a 2-hour trip and stops to all the major attractions in the city.
The best way and the most relaxing option to see Cape Town is to rent a car. This kind of service is cheap here and the roads seem to be in a good condition.
An efficient option and the safest way (but not the cheapest) to travel within the city at night, is to take a cab.
Visitors are advised to avoid traveling by train and take empty minibuses because several passengers were attacked by pocket thieves in the past years.
Tourism in Cape Town is all about the outdoor adventures, offering visitors the immense natural beauty that the city is known for, presenting interesting things to do and places to see. Visitors may choose to taste the history and culture of the city by seeing the many museum and historical places, shop, or enjoy outdoor activities and have fun parachuting, skydiving, sailing, hiking or bird watching.
There are some activities and places that are a must and cannot be missed while being in Cape Town. Check some of them out below!
Table Mountain is Cape Town`s most well-known landmark, stretching on 3 kilometers, considered to be a treat for climbers and hikers, offering more than 500 paths. Outdoor lovers should keep in mind that they should be well prepared if they decide to adventure on a hiking trip, because the mountains is known for the mood swings and the weather can change dramatically in short periods of time.
The Two Oceans Aquarium , which can be found on Port Road, is the largest aquarium in South Africa, being home for more than 300 marine species, and offering impressive, informative displays. It`s a great place to bring the children and show them a good time in an educational manor. They will certainly be amazed by the seals playing in the water or by the courageous, certified divers that dare to enter the shark tank. Outside the aquarium visitors will find souvenir shops, bookstores and the Bayfron Blue Restaurant, serving excellent, delicious food.
Visiting Robben Island is definitely among the things that you should not miss during your visit in Cape Town. Many of South Africa`s famous political figures were incarcerated here, including Nelson Mandela. The Island is well-known as being a penal institution and for the fact that it has a turbulent history, housing in the past an asylum and a prison. Today, visitors will see here a museum, 11 km from Cape Town`s harbor, opened to the public in January, `97, being declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site, on the first of December, `99.
A rich diversity of indigenous plants is housed in the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, on Rhodes Drive. This magnificent garden is spread on more than 500 acres, being situated in the amazing surroundings of the Table Mountain. Visitors will also find here a great gift shop, an information desk and a restaurant. Be sure to visit during summer in order to participate at the annual Sunset Concerts.
Fascinating collections of furniture and artefacts are offered at Irma Stern Museum, down on Cecil Road. Irma Stern was a pioneer South African artist, who spent 40 years of her life collecting and creating art, the museum being a memorial to her life. Irma Stern Museum is also home of many rare pieces that were collected during her travels through, Congo, Zanzibar and Europe, between 1940 and 1950.
Besides the great and vast array of interesting attractions and places to see in Cape Town, there are also numerous elegant shopping places, such as the magnificent Victoria Wharf mall, the V&A Waterfront, as well as flea markets, antique shops and art galleries.
Whether you`re an outdoor lover, a "shoppaholic", interested in art or history, you will certainly find what to do and see during your stay in Cape Town!