In April 1652, three ships of the Dutch East India Company arrived at the Cape of Good Hope. This began the colonization of South Africa. A fort was erected here, around which the city of Kapstad (Cape Town – “city on the cape”) gradually grew, which became the capital of the Cape Colony. From the end of the XVIII century. Great Britain began the struggle for these places, and in 1814 this territory was officially assigned to it. Today, Cape Town is one of the most impressive cities in the world. In the ranking of “50 places you must visit in your lifetime”, the BBC placed Cape Town in an honorable fourth position, while Paris was only in 28th place. It is often called the most beautiful city in the world. It is the parliamentary capital of South Africa.
City around the mountain
Every second visitor to South Africa comes to Cape Town. The tourism business employs 75 thousand people. There are many natural, cultural and historical attractions in the city and its environs. Table Mountain (TABLE MOUNTAIN),she is Table Mountain. After the Cape of Good Hope, this is the main natural attraction here. It is one of the ten most visited tourist places in the world. Cape Town is located around Table Mountain. The mountain rises 1087 m above the city and in good weather is visible almost 200 km from the ocean. You can climb to the top by funicular, which operates daily from 6.00 to 23.00. During the ascent, the cabin rotates, which makes it possible to fully enjoy the magnificent views. Access to Table Mountain can be closed due to strong winds (even in clear sunny weather), rain or large clouds (as they say here, a blanket lies on the mountain). It is very windy upstairs, so you need to take something warmer with you. From the mountain you can enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the city, its environs and Table Bay.Lion’s Head – Lions Head (Lions Head), on the right – Devil ‘s Peak. The Waterfront shopping and entertainment district and the Table Bay Hotel located there are perfectly distinguishable. Robben Island is clearly visible, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in solitary confinement cell No. 6. There is a daily ferry from the city (Waterfront district). The tour is designed for 3.5 hours.
BOTANICAL GARDEN Kirstenbosch (Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens) is located on the eastern slope of the mountain. It was founded in 1913 and is one of the seven best botanical gardens in the world. In summer, classical music concerts are regularly held here. Hiking trails run from 45 minutes to three hours through the garden.
The garden is open daily from 8.00 to 19.00 in summer and from 8.00 to 18.00 in winter.
CENTER OF CAPE TOWN is easy to get around on foot. The street layout is quite simple. The main places that are of interest to tourists are located close to each other.
Greenmarket Square. Here is an open market where you can buy everything from African masks to fashionable clothes. Tourist buses usually stop here so that tourists can wander around the market and nearby streets, buy a variety of souvenirs. Numerous antique shops are located on Long Street, which starts from St. George’s Cathedral. Nearby – mosques Pink Palm Tree Mosque, Noorel Nameida Mosque and Turkish baths.
Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope was discovered in 1487, when three Portuguese caravels under the command of Bartolomeo Dias (1450-1500) after severe storms reached this part of the African mainland, which the sailors first called the Cape of Storms. The expedition was looking for a way to India, but, having rounded this cape, a small squadron turned back after a while. Later, Bartolomeo Dias wrote: “It seemed to me that I had left my son there forever.” Later, King Juan II renamed the Cape of Storms into the Cape of Good Hope. “After all, now we can hope that we still found a sea route to India,” the ruler said. Dias did not receive any reward for his discovery, although the king knew that he was one of the best sailors in Europe. Cape cliffs – the highest coastal cliffs in the world – are often called the southernmost point of the African mainland. In fact, this is its most southwestern point.
Geographically, the southernmost point is Cape Agulkas (Cape Aguilhas / Needle), located exactly on the twentieth meridian, where the directions to the magnetic and South Poles coincide. They write that it is at the Cape of Good Hope that the waters of the Indian and Atlantic oceans mix, and some observers distinguish that their water has different shades.On the ocean coast at the sign “Cape of Good Hope”, where tourists are brought, there is always a strong wind. Cape Town is 80 km from here. A lighthouse was built on the cape (1860). It can be reached on foot (238 m) or by funicular. At its lower station, at the restaurant “Two Oceans”, baboons are “raging”, snatching food and bottles of drinks from gaping tourists. Don’t smile at baboons, they take it as aggression. You need to go here in good weather to see the infinitely beautiful panorama that opens from here on a sunny day. Otherwise, you can be disappointed: a lighthouse, a cliff, fog. Although there will certainly be romantics who will like such a picture and who will present “frigates and Antarctica in ice.” On Darling Street rises the town hall with a clock tower like Big Ben.
The Fort of Good Hope is the oldest building in South Africa. Located 7-10 minutes walk from Greenmarket Square. Here is a small Military Museum, where the period of the Anglo-Boer War is well represented. On weekdays at 10.00 there is a solemn ceremony of handing over the keys, something like a changing of the guard.
The fort is open to the public from 9.00 to 16.00, closed on Christmas and New Year.
The Parliament and the residence of the President of South Africa (De Tuynhuys) are also of interest to tourists. Near the Parliament there is a beautiful park where squirrels run. There is a monument to Cecil Rhodes here. Not far from it, a local curiosity is a water hydrant that has grown into a tree.
You can visit the Parliament every day (except Saturday and Sunday) from 9.00 to 12.00 with a guided tour. Admission is free, but the tour must be booked two weeks in advance.
MUSEUMS. It is worth visiting the South African Museum (SA Museum), the South African National Gallery (SA National Gallery) and the South African Museum of Cultural History. The first, the oldest in the country, houses the famous collection of Bushmen rock art, including a stone tablet discovered in the early 20th century. At Linton’s farm (Linton Panel). This is the only museum in the country where there is a planetarium. In the Malay quarter of BoKaap, with neat pastel-colored houses, you can visit a museum that tells the story of Malay slaves brought from Sri Lanka. The oldest synagogue in South Africa houses the Jewish Museum.
SHOPPING AND ENTERTAINMENT. The waterfront is home to the world-famous V&A Waterfront shopping and entertainment complex. It received this name from two small harbors (Victoria and Alfred Waterfront), along the banks of which it was built in the early 90s. V & A Waterfront is adjacent to the luxurious Table Bay 5 * hotel, from where you can get to the shopping center simply by climbing up the escalator from the lobby. There are over 240 shops, souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes.
The complex is open from 9.00 to 21.00.
Vivid impressions are guaranteed when visiting located nearby, on Dock Road, the largest Aquarium of two oceans in the country (Two Oceans Aquarium) – the walk passes as if on the bottom of the ocean. The area is also home to the SA Maritime Museum, a very good CD store, and several souvenir markets.
Diamonds. Lovers of jewelry and just good souvenirs will find it useful and interesting to visit Jewel Africa (Sun Star Diamonds) – one of the largest exhibition and trade centers for diamonds and jewelry in the country. Here you can see how the decorations are made, and then make a purchase in the store at the center. The exquisite jewelry offered is made with an emphasis on the use of white gold and platinum. Traditional African souvenirs are also sold here, and at very attractive prices. There is a cozy cafe.
The Boulders penguin colony is located on the shores of False Bay on the way to the Cape of Good Hope, outside Simon’s Town. Wooden paths are laid along the beach, from which you can watch these charming creatures, of which there are almost a thousand. The only negative is the strong wind with fine sand. Therefore, going here, you must definitely grab sunglasses and a hat.