CAPE TOWN

Cape Town is known as the "Mother City". In many ways this is where the history of Southern Africa was forged. It is here that one comes across a majestic old mountain with rocks approximately 600 million years old (6 times older than the Himalayas). Table Mountain was named in 1503 by an explorer named António de Saldanha, he called it "Taboa da Caba" (Table of the Cape). The Khoi people called her "Hoerikwaggo" (The Sea Mountain). In Cape Town one can also find fossil remains dating back 5 million years and it is here that the first Europeans landed searching for a sea route from Europe to Asia. Today Cape Town is a thriving modern city.

Khoi people some of the first inhabitants of the Cape, it is believed that Khoi migrated towards the Cape Peninsula around 2000 years ago with their large herds of Nguni cattle. The San people were also in the Cape around the same time, but with no written history it is impossible to say who was here first.

Bartholomeu Dias, a Portuguese explorer, was the first known European to have sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488. Vasco da Gama was the next recorded visitor to the Cape in 1497. It was not until around 1652 when Jan van Riebeeck arrived that Europeans first inhabited the Cape.

Jan van Riebeeck established the first permanent European settlement in the Cape on the 6 April 1652; this was to supply the passing Dutch East India Company ships with fresh water, vegetables and meat. Simon van der Stel arrived in 1679 to replace Van Riebeeck as governor of the Cape.

Asian immigration from current day Indonesia to the Cape started back in 1654; these Asians help form the current populations of Cape coloureds and Cape Malay as well as bringing in Islam to the Cape. They were brought to the Cape as slaves by the Dutch East India Company.

In 1688 the first non-Dutch immigrants arrived in the Cape, and they were the French Huguenots who were fleeing anti-Protestant persecution in Catholic France. They fled to the Netherlands and were then sent to the Cape. They brought with them experience in wine making and formed the town of Franschhoek.

The English military successfully invaded the Dutch held Cape Colony in 1795 with the "Battle of Muizenberg". In 1802 a peace agreement saw the Cape being returned to Dutch rule, however in 1806 at the Battle of Blaauwberg the British took the Cape back. The British took permanent control of Cape Town in 1814 and held it until 1960.

In 1839 the Cape Town Municipality was formed. Cape Town at this time had a total population of 20,016 people. Currently the population stands just over 4 million inhabitants with a municipal area covering over 2 455 square kilometres.

Britain established the Union of South Africa in 1910 which saw the Cape Colony being merged with the Colony of Natal and the two defeated Boer Republics. This would later in history become the current South Africa with Cape Town as the legislative capital.

In 1948 South Africa introduced the world to Apartheid, a political platform that divided South Africans into 4 racial groups as well as the Group Areas Act, a law that grouped areas of residence by race. All multi-racial suburbs of Cape Town were either purged of unlawful residents or demolished by the Government.

Robben Island translated into Dutch is "Seal Island". First inhabited way back in the Stone-age and since the 1600's Robben Island was used as a prison by the Dutch, English and Apartheid Government. Robben Island is where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were held; the island is now a museum.

Nelson Mandela made his first public speech in decades from the balcony of the Cape Town City Hall in 1990. On the 27th April 1994, South Africa had her first ever free and fair elections in which over 20 million South Africans cast their votes, many for the first time in their lives.

Cape Town today is the top international tourist destination in the whole of Africa with visitors taking in all of her majestic beauty 365 days a year. 

 

 

 

Boulders Beach

Cape Point

Castle of Good Hope

Kirstenbosch

Bo-Kaap

1. Table Mountain

Situated within a national park, reaching the pinnacle of the Table Mountain is a thrilling experience that offers phenomenal, birds-eye views overlooking the city of Cape Town, Robben Island to the north, and the Atlantic seaboard to the west and south. Peaking at 1,086 meters (3,563 ft), the top can easily be reached via an ingenuous cableway, and each Rotair car features revolving floors allowing passengers to enjoy 360-degree views during the trek to the top.

2. Robben Island

Located just off the coast of Cape Town, Robben Island is a place to go to learn about history. Over a span of three centuries, Robben Island was used as a military base, a hospital for those with socially unacceptable diseases such as lepers and as a prison for political prisoners. Its most famous prisoner was undoubtedly Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned here for 18 years; he went on to become president of South Africa following his release. Today Robben Island is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cape Town and can be reached by ferry from the V&A Waterfront.

3. Boulders Beach Penguin Colony

There aren’t too many places in the world where one can walk on the beach, sunbathe or swim with penguins as companions, but Boulders Beach is one of them. Two penguins settled on this beach, an hour’s drive from Cape Town, in 1982. Now more than 2,000 penguins call this beach home. These are African penguins, sometimes called “jackass” penguins because their chirps sound more like a donkey’s bray than a bird tweet. The path to the penguin area allows visitors to get within a few feet of the penguins. While the penguins are used to humans, visitors should look, but not touch them, as they may bite if they get scared.

4. Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

This Waterfront is considered one of South Africa’s most popular attractions, with its stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, Table Bay and Table Mountain. Named for the British Queen Victoria and her youngest son Alfred, who tipped the first stones for the breakwater back in the 1860s, the historic waterfront today boasts a variety of shops and restaurants. The waterfront is also home to art galleries, an aquarium, an amphitheater with live entertainment that is usually free, and a ship museum, among other attractions.

5. Bo-Kaap

Also known as the Malay Quarter, it is a colorful neighborhood not far from central Cape Town. Its brightly painted, uniquely-styled houses, some dating back to the 18th century, and cobblestone streets create marvelous photo opportunities for visitors. This is a multicultural area, home to Muslim mosques and shrines, and the Bo-Kaap Museum that showcases the life of early Muslims in the area. The best way to explore Bo-Kaap is on foot.

6. Clifton and Camps Bay Beaches

Cape Town offers some of the best city beaches in the world. Clifton Beach is certainly the trendiest of them all and is situated on the west Atlantic side only ten minutes from the city centre. Clifton is actually a series of four beaches separated by a stretch of granite boulders. All the beaches have almost pure white sand and offer beautiful views and sunsets. Unfortunately though the water looks blue and appealing, is in fact always very chilly averaging around 14 °C.

Just south of Clifton, trendy Camp's Bay sports another stunning beach, backed by the magnificent Twelve Apostles (the Table Mountain range) and the distinctive peak of Lion's Head. People watching is an art along this pretty palm lined stretch as well as at the chic cafes and boutiques fringing Victoria Street.

7. Cape Point

Spectacular scenery is a good reason to visit Cape Point, located at the very end of the Cape Peninsula. Less than 65 km (40 miles) from Cape Town, Cape Point is extremely picturesque with high boulders and stunning ocean views. Part of the Table Mountain National Park, Cape Point is home to about 250 species of birds as well as baboons and zebra. Visitors have a choice of walking a steep path or taking a funicular to the light house atop the boulders.

8. Kirstenbosch National Botanic Gardens

These gardens, established in 1913, is one of the world’s great botanical gardens, and was the first to concentrate on a country’s native plants. Kirstenbosch features not only plants from the Cape area but also from throughout southern Africa. The garden is set against a backdrop of Table Mountain, a fact that offers visitors some pretty stunning views. Hikers may enjoy a walk on the trail that starts in the garden and leads to the top of Table Mountain. 

The Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway is a curved steel and timber bridge that winds and dips its way through and over the trees at Kirstenbosch. Inspired by a snake called ‘The Boomslang‘ (meaning tree snake), it is a raised walkway. The Walkway takes the visitor from the forest floor through the trees and bursts out above the canopy, giving spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, garden and the Cape Flats.

9. Castle of Good Hope

The Castle of Good Hope, shaped like a pentagon, is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa. The Dutch East India Company started construction on it in 1666 to replenish supplies for ships. It's gate design includes the coats of arms of several Dutch cities. It is a Cape military installation today, as well as home to the Castle Military Museum and the Iziko Museums of Cape Town. The Military Museum tells the history of the Cape, while the Iziko Museum displays historical paintings and antique furniture, known as the William Fehr collection.

10. Chapman's Peak Drive

About 25 kilometers from the city centre, Chapman's Peak Drive, affectionately called "Chappies" by the locals, is one of the most jaw-dropping driving routes in the world. Cut into the sheer face of Chapman's Peak, which plunges to the sea, this spectacular toll road snakes its way for about nine kilometers between Noordhoek and Hout Bay passing panoramic Chapman's Peak point along the way. With 114 curves carved into the rock face, some perched more than 500 meters above the sea, this is not a route for those prone to motion sickness.

Around sunset, cars cram along the panoramic viewpoints as sightseers stake a spot to watch the sun sink while sipping a cool drink in the time-honored South African tradition known as "sundowners." Look for southern right whales and dolphins in the sparkling Atlantic Ocean below, and drive slowly and carefully.

11. Great White Shark Cage Dives

In the chilly waters off Cape Town's coast, thrill seekers can come face-to-face with one of the ocean's most feared predators: great white sharks. Protected by the thick bars of an iron cage, divers score a hefty dose of adrenaline as these magnificent creatures swim within inches of the bars.

Tour operators in Cape Town offer shark cage dives in areas such as Simon's Town, Dyer Island, Mossel Bay, Seal Island, and Gansbaai, the "Great White Shark Capital of the World." The best time to see these magnificent creatures is between April and October. No diving certification is needed since divers are enclosed in the custom-built cages, and part of the funds go towards shark research and conservation.

Those who prefer to appreciate these awe-inspiring creatures from a distance can watch all the excitement from the boat. Seal, dolphin, penguin, and whale-watching tours are also available for more timid animal lovers.

12. Kalk Bay

A gem on the False Bay coastline, Kalk Bay is known for its raw beauty, interesting shops, vast selection of restaurants and stunning views. You could easily spend a full day in this little neighbourhood and still not be able to experience it all!

Chapman's Peak Drive

Lion's Head Peak

Clifton and Camps Bay Beaches

Kalk Bay

Chapman's Peak Drive

Atlantic Ocean

Muizenberg Beach

Chapman's Peak Drive

Cape Town Harbour

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

Muizenberg

Restaurants:

1. Black Sheep Restaurant

Their menu is always in progress and updated daily around noon. 104 Kloof street, Cape Town

blacksheeprestaurant.co.za

2. Lekker

Meaning good, tasty, delicious, nice or anything to express approval or satisfaction. Who can resist an eatery with a name like this? Situated on the main Kalk Bay strip, the restaurant claims to be the place to go if you’re looking for lekker coffee, lekker pastries and cakes, lekker food, lekker staff and service, lekker local favourites like milktart, koeksisters, botter marie and tea, vetkoek with jam and so much more.

lekkerkalkbay.co.za

Constantia

Constantia

Constantia

Cape Winelands

The Cape Winelands is a region of the Western Cape Province of South Africa close to Cape Town. It is the largest wine producing region in South Africa and is divided into six main wine regions, each offering its own unique wine route. Constantia, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Robertson and Wellington are the most popular.

The geographic area is generally referred to locally as the Boland, meaning uplands in Afrikaans.

Constantia Valley:

This wine region is situated in mountainous surroundings close to Cape Town and is home to some of the oldest wine estates in the country.

Stellenbosch

This wine region is well known in the Cape. In 1971 the first official wine route was founded by Frans Malan of Simonsig, Spatz Sperling of Delheim, and Niel Joubert of Spier.

Franschhoek valley

This wine region is my personal favourite. It was settled over 300 years ago by the French Huguenots. It is set against the backdrop of the Franschhoek and Drakenstein mountains, the village has over 30 wine farms.

The Franschhoek Valley is known the world over for its superb cuisine, award-winning wine estates, and marvellous mountain-valley setting. With so much to do and see, the hop-on-hop-off tram tour provides the perfect means to do it all. Passengers can choose to ride the double-decker railway tram, or the open-air bus tram – both of which offer leisurely tours of the picturesque valley. There’s a choice of six routes: the Orange Line, Purple Line, Blue Line, Green Line, Red Line and Yellow Line. Each line connects eight wine estates while showcasing a separate part of the Franschhoek Valley.

While wandering around Franschhoek’s town centre, you’re bound to come across the impressive stretch of lawn leading to the beautiful Huguenot Monument. Venture near and you’ll discover some finer details of the 70-year-old monument, which commemorates the arrival of the Huguenots (French settlers) and the culture they brought to the Cape Colony.

It’s no secret that Franschhoek is referred to as the culinary capital of the Cape. After all, it was founded by Frenchmen! So you’ll find no shortage of fine food and wine destinations here, whether in the winelands or the village itself.

Franschhoek

Franschhoek

Franschhoek

Franschhoek

Le Franschhoek Hotel

Haute Cabriere, Franschhoek

Haute Cabriere, Franschhoek

Rupert Rothschild, Franschhoek

Rupert Rothschild, Franschhoek

Rupert Rothschild, Franschhoek

Rupert Rothschild, Franschhoek

Rupert Rothschild, Franschhoek

Glenwood Wine Estate, Franschhoek

Glenwood Wine Estate, Franschhoek

Wine Tram, Franschhoek

Haute Cabierre, Franschhoek

FRANSCHHOEK'S STANDOUT DINING OPTIONS:


THE VILLAGE

 

1. Le Coin Francais, for French-inspired dishes

2. Tuk Tuk Microbrewery, for craft beer.

3. Modern Mex La Petite Colombe, for superbly crafted dishes in elegant surrounds

4. Foliage, for thoughtful, tasty and conscious food made with foraged-for ingredients

 

WINE ESTATES

 

1. Chefs Warehouse at Maison

2. The Franschhoek addition to Top Chef Liam Tomlin’s wildly popular line of restaurants Pierneef à La Motte

3. For vibrant dishes prepared under the supervision of master chef Eric Bulpitt Bread & Wine Vineyard Restaurant on Môreson Farm

4. For country cuisine and fun bread-making courses, Babel at Babylonstoren.

Showcasing over a 100 years of automotive history, it is a must see for tourists and motor enthusiasts alike. The museum’s collection exceeds 220 vehicles ranging from an 1898 Beeston motor tricycle to a 2003 Ferrari Enzo supercar – and more than 80 exhibits will be on view at any one time, displayed in four de-humidified halls and presented in chronological order.

Book a museum tour to see this unique and exciting collection of vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and memorabilia in the magnificent setting of L’Ormarins, Franschhoek. You can also visit Anthonij Rupert Wines for a wine tasting. View their exciting packages and secure a day of fun at Franschhoek Motor Museum, Antonij Rupert and L’Ormarins Estates. 

www.fmm.co.za