As the second most populous city in South Africa, Cape Town attracts thousands of tourists each year. In fact, as an article on ExpatCapeTown.com explains, in 2011, Cape Town was named in the Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards as the Best Destination in the World. The award is based on reviews of more than 20 million users reviewing destinations and hotels around the world.
But as if that weren’t enough, the city was also listed as No. 2 of the Top 10 Beach Cities in the World in the Lonely Planet Awards 2011 and in National Geographic 2011. Here are five things you can do on your next visit to Cape Town:
#1: Head to the Beach
The fact that Cape Town was voted among the 10 best beach cities says it all. The city is famous for its harbour and the accompanying sandy beaches are an ideal place to go. From secluded bays to long, open stretches of beach, there’s a wide variety to choose from.
Moreover, because of the way the coastline is shaped, almost all of them are set amongst a backdrop of beautiful mountains, sheltering the beaches from excessive winds.
Cape Town is located in the Cape floral kingdom. Situated at the southwestern tip of Africa, the Cape Point (also known as Cape of Good Hope) is notorious for its tumultuous waters. In this area, we also find the Table Mountain National Park, where many unique animals and plants can be found. It is an ideal area for those who enjoy walking. For others, there is a funicular that you can take to the top.
#3: Spend Time at the Waterfront
A day at the beach is one thing. But seeing the V&A waterfront is another. It stands for “Victoria & Albert” waterfront, and has numerous activities that you can choose. Shop, dine, drink, listen to music … the list is almost endless. You can also take a boat trip. As you breathe in the fresh ocean air, you will know that you are on vacation.
#4: Visit the Two Oceans Aquarium
If you are already at the harbour, this aquarium is only a few steps away. The displays contain anything from small Knysna seahorses to large ragged-tooth sharks. Before you visit, inquire about feeding times, which vary for different parts of the exhibit. Penguins, for example, are scheduled for 11.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. daily.
#5: Go to Robben Island
If the beaches in town aren’t secluded enough for you, head to Robben Island. Located 12 kilometers from the main town, Robben Island was a place of exile and imprisonment for over 400 years. In those times, rulers would send outcasts and troublemakers here.
Today, you can take a Robben Island Museum Tour, which in some cases is led by ex-political prisoners. You can also visit the Maximum Security Prison if you like. Robben Island is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and should not be missed.