The sheer abundance of the blessings that have been heaped upon this area at the southernmost tip of the African Continent astonishes many people. Majestic mountains, the Fynbos Floral Kingdom, pristine beaches, animal and bird species galore, seawaters where swimming, angling, surfing, yachting and scuba-diving can be done in safety, whales and dolphins and the oldest history in the country – it hardly seems fair for one region to have it all. Cape Town, the administrative capital of South Africa, is perched at the foot of the majestic Table Mountain. The history of Cape Town started in the mid-seventeenth century when the Dutch East India Company sent Jan van Riebeeck to the Cape to establish a halfway station on its trade routes to the Far East. This makes it the oldest city in South Africa. Cape Town, with its cosmopolitan atmosphere, is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful cities. The waters of Table Bay are spread before the city and are dotted with sailing yachts, commercial boats and pleasure vessels. Robben Island lies about 10 km north-west of the harbour. Cape Town is surrounded by nature reserves and has the most beautiful scenic coastal drives. In this city, one is never far from the beaches and the sea. Cape Town, the Southern Peninsula, Blaauwberg, Helderberg, city of Tygerberg and Oostenberg form the Cape Metropole, an extended city. These areas in turn consist of different suburbs and villages. In addition to its exuberant natural beauty, the city also has many sophisticated shopping malls, street markets, theatres and restaurants, as well as a vast array of places of historical, architectural and aesthetic interest.
This mainly Muslim area is one of the oldest suburbs in Cape Town. The sounds of the informal traders who make their living selling wares on the street give Athlone a distinctive and colourful character. Adventure And Sport Athlone Stadium: The stadium hosts weekly soccer matches during the soccer season. Culture / Community Tourism People who are interested in meeting people of different cultural backgrounds often visit the clubs, restaurants and cinemas in Athlone
This residential and industrial suburb was established in 1975 and hosts the lively Wesfleur flea market on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings. It also includes Camphill Village, situated just off the N7 in Klein Dassenberg Road. This village offers craft markets, picnic spots and guided tours. Adventure And Sport Sand-boarding: This activity is gaining popularity and is often practised along the Atlantis coast.
Blaauwberg, Dutch for “Blue Mountain”, is a truly lovely area and stretches from Mamre in the north to Milnerton in the south. It offers magnificent views of Table Mountain from across Table Bay, of Robben Island to the west and of golden wheat fields to the east. Apart from the views, sun-worshippers and surfers also flock to its pristine white beaches to attain a natural golden hue and enjoy the refreshing surf. However, the area is not only scenic, it has also been at the centre of some important historical events. The famous Battle of Blaauwberg was fought after the second British Occupation of the Cape in 1806. Many ships also fought and lost their last battle against the forces of nature along the Blaauwberg coast. The wreck of the Reyfersdal lies off Silwerboomstrand and the SS Hermes was wrecked off Milnerton Beach in 1901 and lies just north of the lighthouse. The wreck of the Nieuw Haarlem lies near the Milnerton Lighthouse and that of the Winton near Milnerton. But the area is not only a ships’ graveyard, the living are also very much a part of its ecology. There are several third generation “trek fishermen” who still operate […]
This seaside village owes its name (Blue Mountain Beach) to the 230-m hill behind it. Today, it is an upmarket residential area that also boasts some elegant restaurants, popular among visitors. Bloubergstrand offers the best views of Cape Town and Table Mountain across Table Bay, as well as of Robben Island, which lies about 8 km west of the village. Adventure And Sport Surfing, wind-surfing and paddle-skiing: Big Bay and Little Bay Beaches are well known for their surfing, wind-surfing and paddle-skiing competitions and safe swimming is also possible. To reach the beach, take the coastal road north from Milnerton to Blouberg. The beach was the scene of the 1806 battle between the British and the Dutch, which resulted in the second British occupation of the Cape. See also “Blaauwberg” above. History And Architecture Ons Huisie (“Our Little House”) Restaurant: Eat lunch in the simple elegance of a restored fisherman’s cottage whose historical architecture is characteristic of this area.
This charming coastal suburb lies along the Atlantic Ocean and is framed by the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range. It was named after a retired sailor, Friedrich von Kamptz, who settled in the area in 1778. The palm-lined beachfront with its many restaurants and coffee shops has a permanent holiday atmosphere. Further along the coastal road the grand profiles of the Twelve Apostles (Table Mountain’s western buttresses) can be seen jutting out like the prows of ancient ships. Adventure And Sport Beaches: Camps Bay and Clifton’s world-renowned beaches are favoured by high society sun-lovers. Camps Bay Beach with its long white stretch of sand, palm trees, tidal pool and braai (barbecue) area is popular for family activities. The surf is strong and there is no lifeguard but a rescue helicopter flies regular patrols. Since the beach is not protected from the wind, it is not suitable for paddle-skiers or surfers. To reach the beach, follow Victoria Road from Sea Point past Clifton. Hiking: Experience the natural beauty of the area by following the Pipe Track, a walk that starts at Kloofnek. Oudekraal: This point is a popular picnic spot along the coastal road from Camps Bay to Llandudno. Its small beaches […]
Cape Town Central
Cape Town extends over a very large area and its many suburbs each have a unique character. Some are so big that they could be regarded as individual cities. The northern suburbs include Goodwood, dating from 1905, Parow with its carillon of 12 bronze bells that play their melodies twice daily and Bellville, which offers more than its share of restaurants and shopping malls. The southern suburbs are Rosebank, with the Irma Stern Museum of South African Art, Observatory where the SA Astronomical Observatory is located, Newlands, Wynberg with its heritage of eighteenth-century architecture and Constantia, home of the Wine Museum and the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. Adventure And Sport Abseiling, paragliding: The cool breeze lifts paragliders gently from Lion’s Head over the city centre and abseilers often use Table Mountain as their starting point. Beaches: The entire Cape Metropole coast extends a warm hand of welcome to sun and surf lovers from all over the world. Among the best-known beaches are the secluded Clifton beaches where the beautiful people gather. Muizenberg’s long, sandy beach and its warm waters with its resort-like atmosphere are popular with families. Gordon’s Bay also offers water with comfortably warm temperatures. Other safe swimming-beaches include those […]
Clifton (including Bantry Bay)
The four sheltered beaches of the exclusive suburb of Clifton are the playing grounds of many world citizens. Clifton has an international reputation and in summer the beaches are crowded by sun-worshippers from all over the world. Adventure And Sport Bantry Bay: The beach called Saunder’s Rocks has a tidal pool for safe swimming. Beaches: Since Clifton is protected from the south-easterly wind, its beaches have become some of the most popular venues in the area. Massive granite boulders separate Clifton’s four beaches, which lie just off Victoria Road. Clifton offers safe conditions for bathing and body-surfing, but the strong undertow needs to be taken into consideration. The permanent presence of lifesavers add to the safe swimming conditions of the beaches.
This township, whose Xhosa name means “Our pride,” was built to house black people who moved to the city after World War II. The area reverberates with the rhythms of African jazz and the calls of street sellers. All the street names are made up of the letters NY (Native Yard) and a number. For more information, visit Guguletu’s website at http://www.sivuyile.co.za Adventure And Sport Sports Stadium: Boxing devotees have the opportunity to watch boxing at Guguletu’s Indoor Sports Stadium. Culture / Community Tourism Township tours: Conducted by professional tour guides, these tours are the best way to experience life in this colourful area. Events include listening to typical township jazz sounds at the Uluntu Community Centre.
Framed by the magnificent Hottentots-Holland and Helderberg Mountains, this popular holiday destination comprises several rural towns and seaside villages. The white, sandy beaches, protected False Bay waters, diverse flora and fauna, magnificent mountains and nearby winelands make it hard to decide what to do and what to leave, so it would be best to plan for quite a lengthy stay. The fact that it is within easy reach of Cape Town city centre (only 45 km away) also adds to its popularity. The Helderberg (Clear Mountain) region is made up of the towns of Gordon’s Bay, Lwandle, Macassar, Sir Lowry’s Pass, Somerset West and Strand.
Kraaifontein (including Brackenfell)
The name Kraaifontein means “Crow Fountain”, referring to the many crows which nest in the trees in the area. Development in this area started during the late 1600s and the Kraaifontein of today is famous for its delicious fruit and especially for its vineyards. Brackenfell, a lively suburb, means “Fern Hill”, referring to the Scots word for hill, “fell”. Fauna And Flora Bonzai Estate: Wide ranges of Bonzai trees can be found at the Bonzai Estate in Kraaifontein. Tygerberg Zoo: The animal kingdom houses a collection of exotic animals, including tigers and monkeys, as well as European brown bears, which live in the largest bear enclosure in Africa. The zoo’s feathered population is also quite impressive and includes swans and free-flying birds such as the only breeding white storks in Southern Africa. The zoo also has a farmyard, tea-room and picnic spots. The zoo is easy to find – take the N1 Highway towards Paarl, turn left at Exit 39, turn left towards Klipheuwel and take the first left turn.
This charming small town, whose name means “River of Pools”, started as a cattle post for the Dutch East India Company in the seventeenth century. The historic milestone that marked the distance on the road from Cape Town can still be seen on Van Riebeeck Road. Cuisine Zevenwacht Wine Estate and Restaurant: The estate lies just outside Kuils River in Langverwacht Road and its graceful Cape Dutch homestead overlooks the Cape Metropolitan Area. The wine estate also has a modern cheese factory where high-quality cheeses are produced from Jersey and Friesland milk
Langa, meaning “Sun” in Xhosa, is Cape Town’s oldest black township established to house local black people who were evicted from their homes from 1923 to 1927. It was named after Langalibalele, a chief of the Amahlubi tribe in KwaZulu-Natal, who was banished to the Cape in 1874 for rebelling against the British authorities in what was then the Crown Colony of Natal. Culture / Community Tourism Township Tours: The rich culture and history of this area is best explored in the company of a professional tour guide. Attractions include several taverns and Langa High School, the oldest black high school in South Africa. History And Architecture Old Station and Cemetery: The Old Station and Cemetery is situated off Brinton Street and is the last resting place of many famous South Africans.
This true African township lies on the N2 just outside Somerset West on the road to the Garden Route and Hermanus. Lwandle was established in 1958 to house migrant workers who earned their living in the area. Several recognised tour operators can take you through the community and its sites. Art And Crafts Art and Crafts Centre: The centre is in the former beer hall. It encourages local people to exhibit their handiwork and take part in music and theatre productions. The original arts and crafts works are for sale, a fitting memento of your visit. History And Architecture Hostel 33: This was one of the original dwellings in the township and has not been upgraded, so that visitors can see how early migrant workers lived. Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum: The exhibits in the museum in the former community hall show the conditions under which migrant workers lived over the years. Township Walk: The walk will show visitors the transformation of Lwandle, from hostels for migrant workers to a community trying to establish a more prosperous permanent life for themselves. The route includes the Museum, Hostel 33, the Hector Peterson Library, the Town Square and several shops and homes
The Muslim faith is alive and well in the Western Cape and regular pilgrimages are undertaken to Macassar where one of the kramats (shrines) of this faith is located. History And Architecture Sheik Yusuf Kramat: Sheik Yusuf is considered to be one of the founders of the Muslim faith in South Africa and his last resting place is found on the farm Zandvliet. The Dutch exiled him from his home in Batavia in 1694. He died on the farm in 1699 and his kramat is visited by thousands of Muslims every year
Newlands (including Claremont and Kenilworth)
The fashionable Newlands suburb lies on the upper reaches of the Liesbeeck River. The seventeenth-century Dutch Governor Adriaan van der Stel built his country home in this area and Lady Anne Barnard had her cottage called “Paradise” here. The suburb of Claremont suburb was originally the Weltevreden Estate. Adventure And Sport Hiking in Newlands Forest: Amongst the tall trees there are many hiking paths that lead to the Newlands Reservoir. Beyond the reservoir is the pine forest and the Newlands Stream, which can also be explored on foot. Kenilworth Racecourse: This competitive establishment is located in Rosmead Avenue, Kenilworth and is home to the SA Turf Club. The highlight of summer racing, the annual J&B Metropolitan Handicap, is held here. Sport: Newlands is the home of the well-known Newlands Cricket Grounds and Newlands Rugby Stadium. Fauna And Flora Arderne Gardens: Located in Main Road, Claremont, the gardens are a spectacular example of Victorian gardens and have the finest collection of trees in Southern Africa. Ralph Henry Arderne established the gardens, originally part of the Arderne Estate, in 1845. The municipality acquired them in 1927 on the death of Arderne’s son. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens: These wonderful gardens are situated in Rhodes […]
This residential area is named after the SA Astronomical Observatory and lies east of the city centre between the Liesbeeck and Black Rivers. The area is inhabited mainly by students and its many cafés, pubs and live music venues make it a popular entertainment venue. Adventure And Sport Hiking: Guided walks can be undertaken along the Liesbeeck River, which meanders through the southern suburbs of Cape Town, areas rich in bird life. The lower section, particularly the Raapenberg Bird Sanctuary, is very popular among bird-watchers. Entertainment And Shopping Factory Shops: Observatory with its many factory shops caters for all those who cannot resist a bargain. History And Architecture Groote Schuur Transplant Museum: Positioned off De Waal Drive, the museum was the scene of the first heart transplant in the world, performed by Dr Christiaan Barnard in 1967. The museum is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 09:00 to 12:30. Valkenberg Manor House: The building was built in 1770 and lies just off Liesbeeck Parkway. It is one of the oldest Cape Dutch houses in the Cape and has been faithfully restored. Today it is the reception area of the Courtyard at Cape Town Hotel. Other Attractions SA Astronomical Observatory: […]
Oostenberg (“East of the Mountain”) is surrounded by vine-covered hills and is bordered by the winelands to the east and Cape Town to the west. The historic wine estates in this area date back to the eighteenth century and have faithfully preserved the architectural heritage of that time. On the gentle slopes of the Bottelary Hills between Stellenbosch, Kuils River, Brackenfell and Kraaifontein lie some of the best wine estates the Western Cape has to offer. The first vines in the Bottelary region were planted in the early 1700s and today, some of South Africa’s finest red and white wines are produced here. Fort Simon Estate is the unique setting of a medieval-style castle, complete with a moat, where the winemaker creates liquid wonders characteristic of the area. The historic Mooiplaas homestead dates back to 1833 and nestles deep in the Bottelary Hills. A unique feature of Mooiplaas (“Beautiful Farm”) is the fact that this estate uses the steep slopes to create its exceptional wines. The Roos family grows and bottles its own wine on the estate. In addition to being beautiful, wine estates such as Hazendal and Mooiplaas offer some of the most outstanding vintages of the South African […]
Pella is a historical little village, which came into existence during the 1830s when a Moravian Mission Station was built on a farm that was once known as Kop van Groenrivier (Head of Green River). The postal agency at Pella is called Katzenberg and the first mention of the name in official records dates back as far as 1876. The village still has a postal agency, housed in a small building close to the Moravian pastor’s house
This secluded upmarket suburb developed on what was originally the farm Uitvlugt. The Zulu King Cetshwayo was detained on this farm after the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War. Adventure And Sport Elsieskraal River Walkway: The walkway offers a relaxing 3-km route along both sides of the river. History And Architecture Wolraad Woltemade Statue: The statue in front of the Old Mutual Assurance Group Building in Jan Smuts Drive commemorates the bravery of the legendary Wolraad Woltemade who, in 1773, gave his own life to save the survivors of a ship that had been wrecked in the waters near Cape Town.
The Rondebosch suburb with its lovely gardens and trees was originally called Ronde Bosjen (Round Bushes) and Rosebank owes its name to a nineteenth-century estate established in 1657. Adventure And Sport Golf: The tree-lined suburban Rondebosch Golf Course offers many hours of relaxation. History And Architecture Irma Stern Museum: The museum in Cecil Road, Rosebank, on the University of Cape Town (UCT) campus, exhibits Stern’s work, as well as rare Congolese art, fifteenth-century European furniture and Ming dynasty ceramics. Mostert’s Mill: One of the only two original Dutch windmills in the Cape, Mostert’s Mill, stands in Mowbray, in Rhodes Drive. The mill dates back to 1796 and was originally owned by the Van Reenen family of the farm Welgelegen. Rhodes Memorial: The Rhodes Memorial, built in memory of Cecil John Rhodes, is set on the slopes of Table Mountain and on clear days offers superb views across the Cape Flats, Table Bay, False Bay and the Drakenstein Mountains. It lies just off Rhodes Drive. Rondebosch Common: This was a military camp during the 1806 British occupation and during the rule of the Batavian Republic. Later, it became a grazing ground. In 1961, it was proclaimed a national monument. University of […]
Sea Point (including Three Anchor Bay)
No trip to Cape Town would be complete without a visit to Sea Point, where the road meanders along the seashore and where many restaurants and clubs are situated. This popular suburb is characterised by many high-rise buildings and a 3-km-long shopping area in Main Street. The beach and promenade also provide popular entertainment. Adventure And Sport Graaff’s Pool: An antiquated attraction is Graaff’s Pool, 50 m from the promenade and for the use of men only. Promenade: Sea Point promenade offers luxurious lawns, gardens and a playground for the children and is the ideal place for walking, jogging and socialising. Rocklands Beach, just off the promenade, is a popular spot for romantic or family picnics.
There are many lovely coastal villages along the coast. One of these, St James, has a small beach with rock pools and bright wooden bathing boxes. This charming residence overlooks False Bay and its beach has a large tidal pool, which is ideal for small children. Many of the beautiful houses in this village are national monuments.
Tygerberg is a modern, relatively new development. The region consists of several suburbs where many people have made homes for themselves, attracted by the charming houses and streets and the modern conveniences of shopping centres and businesses.
Woodstock lies east of the city centre between Victoria Road and Eastern Boulevard on the main route to the southern areas. The area was originally called Papendorp. In 1882, when it became a municipality, the customers of the local tavern, “The Woodstock”, (probably the majority of the area’s inhabitants) voted to call the new municipality after their favourite watering hole. It later acquired the nickname “Little Madeira” when many Portuguese immigrants settled here. Entertainment And Shopping Factory Shops: Shopping is fun among the wide variety of factory shops. The factory shopping district in this suburb is well known among bargain hunters everywhere and most of the clothing retail chains in South Africa are represented here
Wynberg means “Wine Mountain”. It had its origins in 1658 when Jan van Riebeeck was granted a farm in the upper Liesbeeck River valley and planted vines on the south-eastern slope of the hill. This part was given the name Wynberg, the remainder retaining the original name of Boschheuwel. When the British occupied the Cape they established a military base and hospital here and the town developed around these establishments. History And Architecture Cape Education Museum: Located in Aliwal Road, the museum exhibits old Victorian and Edwardian education aids and school furniture, focusing on how education developed. Little Chelsea: This charming area in Durban Road features restored streets, old cottages, shops and art galleries. Philippi German Museum: Located in Springfield Road, this museum was once a German school, and recreates the lives of German Settlers during the 1870s. Appointments need to be made to visit the museum. Entertainment And Shopping Maynardville Park and open-air Theatre: Shows are hosted here only during the summer months and include performances of Shakespeare’s works. The annual Community Chest Festival is also held here
This small village grew around a Moravian Mission Station that was established in 1808 at the invitation of the then Governor of the Cape, Lord Caledon. Originally known as Groenekloof (“Green Valley”), the town was named Mamre in 1854. The name means “an altar to the Lord”. Mamre lies 6 km north of Atlantis on Road R307. Cuisine Mamreweg/Darling Wine Cellar: Despite its religious past, wine has for long been part of the area’s history and economy and the cellar has the best of the region’s popular wines in stock. Fauna And Flora Nature Garden: The beautiful Nature Garden is open seven days a week and the indigenous fynbos vegetation can be explored via several footpaths. The famous West Coast wild flowers also grow here in season. The Garden lies off Road R307, close to the village. History And Architecture Long House: The building was once used as barracks for the soldiers serving the Dutch East India Company. Mamre Mission Station: The station has been restored and many buildings in the surrounding area have also been carefully renovated and have retained much of its original atmosphere. Old Mamre Moravian Church: The fifth oldest church in South Africa was built in […]
Melkbosstrand (Milkwood Beach) lies to the north of Bloubergstrand and was named after the many milkwood trees that grow north of the town. Adventure And Sport Beaches: The sandy beaches are ideally suited for swimming, skin-diving and fishing. The area also offers breathtaking views and has several picnic areas. Fishing for rock lobsters: Rock lobsters can be caught on the northern side of the village during the season, although the lobsters on the south side are protected. Permits can be obtained from the Magistrate’s Office or from offices of the Receiver of Revenue. Hiking: The Gryskop and Dikkop Hiking Trails lie in the Koeberg Nature Reserve. The Gryskop Trail has two sections, a 2,5-km route through lovely fynbos and a 1,9-km walk down to the beach. Dikkop has a 13-km trail that includes a walk on the beach, as well as an 8-km trail. Wind-surfing: Van Riebeeck Beach is popular among wind-surfers, and the Kleine Zoute River Mouth also offers excellent wind-surfing conditions. Fauna And Flora Koeberg Nature Reserve: The reserve lies just north of the Koeberg Power Station and was established to protect the diverse fauna and flora of the region. The Visitors’ Centre next to the reserve offers […]
This town was named after Sir Alfred Milner, Governor of the Cape in 1902 when the town was established. Situated on the banks of a lovely lagoon, Milnerton lies at the beginning of the West Coast with its beautiful wild flowers. It also offers breathtaking views of Table Mountain and its flanks, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head. Adventure And Sport Beaches: Bright splashes of colour dot the surf as surfers and wind-surfers ride the waves and Milnerton Beach is one of the best places to swim in this region. The beach also offers a magnificent view of Table Mountain. The Lagoon Mouth is a popular site for paddle-skiers. Golf: The links-style Milnerton Golf Course is a must for the avid golfer. Canoeing, power-boating and water-skiing: Milnerton Aquatic Club provides canoeing, power-boating and water-skiing facilities. Entertainment And Shopping Milnerton Water Park: Visit the park for healthy family fun. Squeals of laughter resound when children and adults enjoy the water slides, volleyball, Putt-Putt, barbecue and picnic facilities. Ratanga Junction Theme Park: The adventure park provides adventurous rides and fun for everyone. Spend the day here and come back for more! The 20-ha theme park is accessible from the N1, Bosmansdam Road and […]
p>Many an artist has found a comfortable advantageous spot somewhere in Table View and immortalised his or her view of Table Mountain. This residential area also offers a lively nightlife, from restaurants and pubs to live music venues. Adventure And Sport Beach: The beach, with Table Mountain as its backdrop, is perfect for walks, relaxing in the sun or swimming. Canoeing, water-skiing: These activities can be practised in the Rietvlei Nature Reserve. Fauna And Flora Rietvlei Nature Reserve: The reserve has various bird trails through the wetland area, as well as camping facilities and water-sport opportunities such as canoeing and water-skiing. Some 150 species of birds have made their home in the reserve and the large flocks of flamingos and pelicans are an impressive sight.
Gordon’s Bay is a picturesque cove in False Bay, framed by the Hottentots-Holland Mountains. It is named for Captain Robert Gordon, an officer of the Dutch East India Company, who explored the area in 1718. The village lies some 45 minutes’ drive from Cape Town and is 30 minutes’ drive from Cape Town International Airport. Adventure And Sport Abseiling, paragliding: Kamikaze Canyon allows pool jumps from 6 to 30 m high as well as abseiling down the 60-m Thunderfall Waterfall. Permits may be obtained from Helderberg Municipality, Helderberg Tourism Bureau, Gordon’s Bay Tourism or from the Civic Centre in Cape Town. Paragliders launch themselves from the top of Sir Lowry’s Pass. Bikini Beach: The narrow sheltered Bikini Beach is popular with sunbathers and swimmers. An evening stroll along the harbour wall offers colourful sights of the yachts and boats moored in the harbour. Gordon’s Bay Harbour: The harbour hosts numerous angling competitions, regattas and other yachting events. The harbour wall and the stretch of coastline along Gordon’s Bay are ideal places from which to fish. Pleasure charter trips also depart from the harbour and the seafood restaurant is well worth a visit. Hiking: The Cannon and Wagon-wheel Hiking Trail starts […]
Sir Lowry’s Pass
If the original inhabitants of this village were to visit it today, they would not find it much changed. A tar road and a few brick buildings have been added but the atmosphere remains the same. Forgotten by time and untouched by progress, the town exudes an old-world charm and the feeling of having stepped back into time. The village population consists mainly of the so-called “coloured” people of the Western Cape and the warm welcoming smiles on their faces ensure us of their pleasure at receiving visitors. The village had its origin in 1890 when the railway line was extended from Somerset West to the foot of the pass. History And Architecture Buildings: The town is full of old buildings, some pre-dating the 1890s, which adds to the old-world atmosphere. Unfortunately, none of these buildings have been renovated and many are today used as storerooms and outbuildings. Historic Trail: Sir Lowry’s Pass also has a historic trail. This trail takes one through the ‘Gantouw Pass’ where one can clearly see the ruts left in the road by wagons and canons used in earlier days for signalling. The wagon-wheel tracks have been proclaimed a national monument. Fauna And Flora Wild […]
This town, named after Lord Charles Somerset in 1819, lies at the foot of the Hottentots-Holland Mountains. In 1850, inhabitants added the “west” to the town to distinguish it from Somerset East in the Eastern Cape Province. The historic buildings tell the story of the town’s development with eloquence. Over Christmas, Somerset West’s Main Street is transformed into a fairy-tale spectacle when Christmas lights are strung across it. People come from far and wide to see them and to browse around the night-time street market. Adventure And Sport Golf: Take on the challenge of the championship Erinvale Golf Course and savour the accomplishment. This golf course was designed by Gary Player and hosted the 1996 World Cup Golf Tournament. Helderberg Nature Reserve: Altitudes in the reserve vary from 80 to over 1 000 m above sea level. Several graded walking trails have been mapped out, ranging from a gentle amble through the lower reaches to longer and higher ones posing more of a challenge. Art And Crafts Craft Markets: Somerset West hosts two popular open-air craft markets on Saturday mornings at Southey’s Vines in Main Road. The Country Craft Market, at which more than 150 local artists and crafters display […]
Strand (“Beach”) on the shores of False Bay is one of the oldest holiday-resort towns in the Western Cape and has a wonderfully long white beach, with the Hottentots-Holland Mountains as a backdrop. The town started small in 1714 and has grown into a thriving holiday destination. Adventure And Sport Beaches: Swimmers may either plunge into the Olympic-size indoor swimming pool or into the safe waters of False Bay. The beach stretches for 5 km along Melk Bay, where mini-golf, a water chute and two tidal pools provide extra entertainment. Surfers and swimmers enjoy the water at this beach and the coastline between the Strand and Rooi¬els provides good boating, angling and diving conditions. Golf: The Strand Golf Club and Greenways sport 18-hole golf courses, as well as cosy bars and lounges. Entertainment And Shopping Promenade: Strand’s sandy, white beaches are flanked by a promenade and are lined with restaurants, cafйs and shops. Fauna And Flora Bird-watching: The bird walk follows the course of the Lourens River and offers views of several species of birds.
The blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, beaches and mountains combine to make the South Peninsula one of the most beautiful places on earth. Beach resorts and picturesque fishing villages provide popular family entertainment. One side of the Peninsula faces the open, cold Atlantic Ocean but the eastern, False Bay side is warmed by the Agulhas Current. The Table Mountain Range stretches down to Cape Point. The Cape Flats are part of the area. Many of the townships and communities were established during the Apartheid era and were thus not well planned. This area also includes parts of the Cape Peninsula Nature Reserve. Adventure And Sport Beaches: The South Peninsula has a variety of safe swimming spots. Hiking: The Table Mountain Chain has many hiking trails to choose from. Culture / Community Tourism Diverse towns and suburbs: The many towns and suburbs of the region make up a diverse and multicultural area. Visitors are advised to make use of guided tours to see the diversity of the population and to experience the culture. Fauna And Flora Cape Peninsula Nature Reserve: This spectacular reserve consists of 7 750 ha of indigenous fauna and flora. Various species of mammals including zebra, springbok, […]
Constantia: This is the oldest of the wine-producing areas in the Cape and the Constantia Wine Route offers a glimpse into history, dating back to the first winemakers. The valley still produces internationally renowned award-winning wines. Groot Constantia Estate is the oldest wine estate in the country. Cuisine Constantia Wine Route: The route includes the estates of Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, Buiteverwachting, Constantia Uitsig and Steenberg. The route is well sign-posted but most of the estates are closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. Superb accommodation facilities and restaurants add to the attraction. Entertainment And Shopping Alphen Constantia Market: This event is held in Constantia Road on the first and last Saturdays of every month. The manor house at Alphen is a national monument, containing fine antique furniture and paintings. The hotel also serves wonderful meals. History And Architecture Groot Constantia Manor: The oldest homestead in the Cape, situated on the Groot Constantia wine estate, is an excellent example of Cape Dutch architecture. It was built in 1685 by the then Dutch Governor, Simon van der Stel, as his private estate. A century later it became famous for its wines. The Cloete family owned the farm from 1778 to 1885 and […]
“Vishoek”, now better known by its informal English name lies in a valley that runs east to west across the Cape Peninsula. This picturesque seaside village has beautiful white beaches, offering safe bathing and a launching place for catamarans and sailboards. Adventure And Sport Water-sport: Not only does the beach offer safe swimming conditions, but divers, surfers and sailors can also enjoy the water. There is a hobie-cat launching spot at one side of the beach and regattas are held here regularly. Golf: The golf club welcomes visiting golfers. Hiking: Many mountain walks start at Fish Hoek, including Jagger’s Walk, a path that follows the coastline. Archaeology And Palaeontology Burial sites and Fossils: Peers Cave houses nine ancient burial sites and is the place where Victor Peers discovered the famous Fish Hoek Man in 1927. To reach the cave, follow the signs from 20th Avenue that leads into 21st Avenue. The path to the cave is only a short climb up the dunes. History And Architecture Clovelly Fire Museum: The museum is situated at 48 Clovelly Road and features a large display of fire-fighting equipment. Fish Hoek Valley Museum: The museum is located at 59 Central Circle and exhibits photographs […]
Hout Bay is primarily a fishing village and freshly caught fish are sold daily from the quayside and in the fine seafood restaurants. In earlier times, thick forests grew along the mountain slopes, giving it its name (Wood Bay). For a small donation which goes to charity, visitors can buy a “passport” proclaiming themselves citizens of the Republic of Hout Bay, an indication of the pride with which the inhabitants have long since viewed their occupancy of Hout Bay. Adventure And Sport Angling: The ocean waters of the village are an angler’s dream. Yellowfin, tuna, swordfish and marlin frequent these waters. Visitors might even get a chance to see how the local fishermen catch their fish. Their age-old fishing method is called ‘trekking’, whereby heavy nets are hauled to the shore. Walking: Surrounded by the peaks of Sentinel and Chapman’s Peak, this beautiful area is also ideal for taking relaxing walks. Water-sport: The 1-km beach is popular among hobie-cat enthusiasts, wind-surfers, paddle skiers and surfers. Art And Crafts Art and craft shops: Exploration of the village is a rewarding experience, not only because of the natural surroundings but also because of its atmosphere and its many arts and crafts shops, […]
This small fishing village is the ideal hideaway for tired city souls. Its name, “Lime Bay”, dates back to the seventeenth century when kilns were built here to burn seashells to manufacture whitewash. Formerly a whaling station, the architecture, cuisine, art and crafts of the Kalk Bay of today deserve close inspection. Adventure And Sport Swimming: For a leisurely few hours in the sun and surf, visit one of the two tidal pools that allow safe swimming. Art And Crafts Kalk Bay Art Gallery: The gallery in Main Road offers a diverse collection of original art of local and international origin including African arts and crafts, watercolours and oils – the different works are just too numerous to name. Entertainment And Shopping Boat Trips: Regular boat trips are conducted from the harbour and the fishing boats that return from the day’s work bring with them the anticipation of a good catch. The deep-sea fishing boats also take visitors with them on their trips. As the boats nose their way towards the harbour around noon every day, excited crowds gather to see which has had the best catch of the day. Trips to Seal Island are undertaken regularly. Contact the harbour […]
The quaint name of this village refers to a natural inlet shaped like a “little bowl”. Today, a low wall closes off the inlet. Adventure And Sport Boating, surfing, crayfishing: The beaches around Kommetjie, although not ideal for swimming, provide many opportunities for entertainment. Boats can be launched from the northern section and surfers frequent the southern side of Sunset Beach. There are gravel walkways along the coastline and there are several picnic spots. The entrance to Long Beach lies along Surf Way, the turn-off to this being just before the village. Long Beach includes Bokramstrand and Klein Slangkoppunt (Small Snakehead Point). Long Beach is popular among surfers, wind-surfers and paddle-skiers. As the surf is strong, only experienced surfers should attempt the waves. Crayfishers can often be seen near the lighthouse at Slangkoppunt. Cuisine Crayfish Factory: The factory in Kommetjie processes up to 100 tonnes of crayfish per year for export and can be visited by appointment. Culture / Community Tourism Two Oceans Craft and Culture Centre: The centre is near Masiphumelele Village on the main road to Kommetjie and sells traditional Xhosa crafts and art. It enables us to learn more about South African culture and how the people […]
This upmarket residential area lies at the foot of Little Lion’s Head, the mountain lending some of its magnificence to the suburb. This area is a popular venue for sunset picnics. Adventure And Sport Beaches: The beach is protected from the south-easterly wind by huge granite boulders. Sandy Bay, the first ever nudist beach in South Africa, is near this area, characterised by green mountain slopes and steep dunes. Swimming: It should be noted that Llandudno Beaches have powerful surf and care should be taken when swimming and a resident lifesaver should be present. History And Architecture Shipwreck: The site where the tanker Romelia met its sad end in 1977 is just off Sunset Rocks.
Muizenberg, a popular resort even in the 1600s, is still famous for its beach. A nostalgic reminder of its gracious past is the colourful bathing boxes on the beach and the stately Victorian and Edwardian buildings in town. It is also famous for reputedly being one of Rudyard Kipling’s favourite places. Zeekoeivlei and Sandvlei are ideal venues for water-sport and Rondevlei has an excellent bird sanctuary. Adventure And Sport Beaches: Muizenberg Beach is a very safe bathing beach and is very popular with families, as it has a children’s amusement park, a cluster of swimming pools and a pavilion. The beach, with its white sands and gentle breakers, is perfect for sunbathing, swimming and water-sports. Muizenberg Beach is admired for its rows of coloured bathing boxes and its beach is the start of a long Beach running 40 km to Gordon’s Bay. Imperial Yacht Club: The yachts lie on the western banks of Zandvlei, which is fed by many small streams. Board-sailors, yachtsmen and canoeists make use of the facilities. Walkway: Because of the beauty of the area a walk is always a good idea. The walk between Muizenberg and St James provides a number of architectural highlights and the […]
Follow the famous Chapman’s Peak Drive along the mountains and discover Noordhoek (North Corner), a true country village that has become the home of many gifted artists and craftsmen. Noordhoek was originally a farming area, but has become a popular residential area with a 7-km-long, sandy beach. Adventure And Sport Beach: The 7-km-long, largely deserted beach is lovely and is ideal for a long peaceful ramble or canter on horseback. The north end of the beach is popular with surfers and fishermen. Art And Crafts Noordhoek Art Route: The route visits local artists whose work range from bronze sculptures to stained glass and ceramics. Noordhoek Farm Village on Chapman’s Peak Drive has an information kiosk with friendly staff who will provide information on the Noordhoek area and the Art Route. Village Farm: The farm stall sells organically grown vegetables, and a wide range of unusual gifts and clothing can be found in the quaint shops. “The Enchanting Wood” and “The Stables” restaurant in the village opens its doors at eight in the evening. Entertainment And Shopping Monkey Valley Beach Nature Resort: The resort in Mountain Road, Chapman’s Peak is set in a milkwood forest and offers comfortable accommodation with spectacular […]
Simon’s Town was named after the Dutch Governor Simon van der Stel and was first used by the Dutch East India Company as its winter anchorage. It offered safety from the dangerous storms in Table Bay. Simon’s Town was also the British Royal Navy base from 1814 until 1957, when it was handed over to the South African Navy. The South African Navy continues to use the town as its coastal headquarters and it still retains a very strong naval character. Adventure And Sport Beaches: The beaches are the main attraction in summer, particularly Boulders Beach that, together with Foxy Beach, is home to one of only two mainland jackass penguin breeding colonies. To visit this area, park at Seaforth and walk along the bridle path. Amidst massive granite boulders are a succession of sandy inlets, which give access to several shallow pools. It is also a good diving spot. Boulders Beach offers safe swimming for children and is an ideal location for inexperienced snorkellers. Seaforth Beach also offers safe swimming and a wooden raft and water slide provides fun for the entire family. Fishing: To stay near False Bay is any fisherman’s dream. Choose between rock-, surf- and boat-angling. […]
This lovely place owes its name to the hills in Hungary where Tokai grapes were first grown. The Tokai Forest Reserve launched a reforestation project in 1883 and, as a result of this plan, large pine trees still cover large parts of the nearby Constantia Mountain, enveloping the area in their characteristic fragrance. Fauna And Flora The Tokai Forest Reserve on the mountain lies largely isolated from the sounds of the city and is the perfect getaway. It is a fertile area that offers a home to birds, porcupines, squirrels, klipdassies, black jackals and baboons. Picnic areas and fun runs, as well as horse-riding-, hiking- and mountain-biking routes, add to its attraction. The arboretum in the forest is home to a rich variety of indigenous and exotic tree species including Californian redwoods and oaks. It is a national monument and dates from 1885. The lovely view from Elephant’s Eye Cave is well worth the effort of a steep walk up Constantia Mountain, accompanied by lovely birdsong. An additional treat is the mushroom display and in-season mushroom picking at the information centre.
Strandfontein is a fast-growing location and has a beautiful view of False Bay. Adventure And Sport Beaches: The beaches of Strandfontein offer picnic sites and the tidal pool offers safe swimming. A great attraction is also the supertube. Follow Baden Powell Drive from Muizenberg to Strandfontein. Mnandi and Monwabisi are also popular beaches to visit. They are situated near one of the largest tidal pools in the Peninsula. To reach these beaches, follow Baden Powell Drive eastwards along the False Bay Coast. Fauna And Flora Whales: Whales travel up and down the Cape coastline and the best times for seeing them are from June to November every year.
This suburb was originally called “Twelve Mile”, indicating its distance from Cape Town city centre, and renamed after Charles Bell, Surveyor-General of the Cape in 1861. Adventure And Sport Bellville Velodrome: This is the biggest indoor venue and international sport facility in the Cape Town area. The Velodrome often hosts functions such as music shows. Art And Crafts Arts Association: This well-known Bellville institution can be found at the Bellville Library in Karl van Aswegen Road and houses an art gallery, art centre and a coffee shop. Sanlam Art Gallery: The gallery is home to some of the best works of South African artists and lies in Sanlam’s Head Office in Voortrekker Road. Culture / Community Tourism Mayibuye Centre Museum: The museum in Modderdam Road is part of the University of the Western Cape and relates the history of South Africa’s Anti-Apartheid struggle. It houses a vast and historically important exhibition. Entertainment And Shopping Door-de-Kraal Lane Craft Market: This craft market is open on the first and last Saturdays of each month. Tyger Valley Shopping Centre: This centre buzzes with life and offers opportunities for shopping and fun in a luxurious atmosphere. One of its unique features is the indoor […]
Named after the then Governor of the Cape, Sir Benjamin D’Urban, and dating from the early 1800s, this small town was once known as Pampoenkraal (“Pumpkin Corral”). Cuisine Durbanville Wine Route: A number of wine estates grace the Tygerberg region. The Durbanville Wine Route includes the estates of Altydgedacht, Bloemendal Wines, Diemersdal Wines, Meerendal Estate, Durbanville Hills and Nitida Estate. Altydgedacht, where wines are produced from unusual grapes such as the Italian Barbera, lies in the hills above Durbanville. Meerendal produces top quality Pinotage and other red wines. Nitida, although small and new, is already producing red wines of great promise, and three-centuries-old Diemersdal produces excellent Cabernet. Bloemendal Wine Estate in Racecourse Road is known for its innovative and high quality wines and also has boardroom and conference facilities. Culture / Community Tourism Township Tours: Several tour operators offer township tours that include visits to shebeens (unlicensed and informal taverns) where you can join in the boisterous fun. Entertainment And Shopping Durbanville Art and Craft Market: The market contains a large variety of stalls with premier quality handcrafted works on sale. Fuana And Flora Durbanville Nature Reserve: The reserve lies in the heart of Durbanville and was established to protect […]
Goodwood was originally developed as a centre for horse-racing and was optimistically called after the famous racecourse in Britain. Entertainment And Shopping N1 Shopping Centre: No woman worth her salt would drive past this centre and not accept the invitation to shop at its many bargain stores. The centre lies on the N1 National Road. History And Architecture Goodwood Museum: The museum at 43 Church Street is in an old house dating from the 1920s, with antique furniture and ornaments to match.
The relaxation of the previous strict racial segregation laws in the late 1980s led to many squatter communities mushrooming seemingly overnight on vacant land around the Cape Peninsula. This is how Khayelitsha, now Cape Town’s largest township, came into existence. Services such as water and electricity are being installed in areas where previously there were none, but many of its inhabitants still live in shacks and have to use communal taps and toilets. These shacks are constructed of corrugated iron, plastic bags and any other available material. Many sidewalks are crowded with hawkers and many homes operate spaza (“hidden” shops) offering a wide range of goods. Shebeens (unlicensed and informal taverns) also operate from some homes. Obtain the services of a registered tour guide and discover the singular attraction of this place in the company of someone with local knowledge. Art And Crafts Khayelitsha Crafts Centre: Local women bring their craftwork to the centre, located at the Anglican Church, to sell. The prices of the articles, such as African dolls and leatherwork, are very reasonable. Often, the voices of the church choir can be heard in the background, creating a quietly devotional atmosphere. Philani Women’s Project: This project in Walter […]
In 1865,when the ship Kehrwieder met its fate during a storm in Table Bay, its captain, Johann Parow, decided to settle on the land and become a farmer. He gave his name to the settlement that subsequently came into existence here. Entertainment And Shopping Sanlam Centre: This popular shopping centre provides hours of shopping fun and other entertainment. History And Architecture Parow Museum: Admirers of antique furniture and paraphernalia will enjoy spending time at the Parow Museum at 13 Smith Street.
Grabouw / Elgin
Grabouw, founded in 1856, lies in the fertile Elgin Valley, the main apple-growing region of South Africa. The other main products grown in the region are fresh flowers and grapes, which also make for beautiful scenery. Adventure And Sport Hottentots-Holland Hiking Trail: The Hottentots-Holland Hiking Trail starts in a forest and ends in Franschhoek. Steenbras Dam: The dam is the main water supply for the Cape Metropole and was built in 1921. Many hiking, walking and mountain-biking trails traverse the lovely area. Cuisine Wine Route: The wine route includes an interesting visit to Pale Moon Apple Wine Farm and Paul Cluver Wines. Windermere Estate: The estate was established in 1927 and makes cider from freshly pressed apples. Visitors can taste the cider in the old farm stable. Fauna And Flora Hottentots-Holland Nature Reserve: The reserve has some lovely scenery and the hiking trail was adapted for the visually impaired. Scenic views: Roads and passes carved through the mountains have made the area accessible to visitors and offer lovely views of the surrounding countryside. The nearby passes include Sir Lowry’s Pass, Viljoen’s Pass and Houwhoek Pass. History And Architecture Elgin Apple Museum: The museum is dedicated to the fruit that has […]