City Guide: Cape Town
Cape Town may not be the capital of South Africa, but is definitely the most interesting city when it comes to tourism. There are many reasons for why it is so interesting, colorful and has many faces: Cape Town definitely has a rich history, having been forming the city ever since. A lot has changed the past 20 years since the end of Apartheid.
In the South African winter (August), our exciting tour began: Two weeks in South Africa! Of course, the city of Cape Town was a must-visit on our tour. Three nights, three different hotels, three days to explore and experience Cape Town’s flair to the utmost!
Stumbling upon Company’s Garden
Following a recommendation to pay the Company’s Garden a visit, we took the opportunity on our first day.
Surprisingly – at least for me – was the fact that there are many interesting and important buildings around. Cape Town’s Company’s Garden is a green oasis in between St. George’s Cathedral, the National Library and South Africa’s National Gallery Cape Town.
Special about Cape Town’s St. George Cathedral is the fact that it is still incomplete, yet the seat of the Archbishop of Cape Town.
The building of the National Library itself is stunning, but so is the collection of publications about South Africa! As long as the literature relates to South Africa, you can be sure it can be found in the National Library in Cape Town.
Even though exhibitions are changing on a regular basis making it interesting to repeat a visit, you can be sure that a healthy mix of South African culture and history can be found – British, French, Flemish and Dutch Art included.
CitySightSeeing Cape Town
An extraordinary trip needs special ways to explore. Usually, we like it very much just to take the camera and go out. Honestly, we were unsure about this was going to work in Cape Town.
Being a very young couple, being white and having a very obvious DSLR camera, we decided against exploring Cape Town’s corners by foot and chose City SightSeeing Cape Town, the only company offering this service in South Africa at all.
Waterfront Cape Town
This tour led us to Cape Town’s Waterfront first.
Shipping and thus the harbor is very important for the economy of Cape Town. Several touristic attractions like a helicopter flight are offered, but you also see how the waterfront became a business and its targeted group are the rich, being covered in a shining world. It’s nice to be there, but it’s not characteristic for South Africa.
Searching for the Clock Tower
The Clock Tower is one of the most famous landmarks in Cape Town.
More by accident than planned, we took a photo of it!
Business District and International Convention Center
The International Convention Center is a stop to hop off, but we stayed in the bus and just took some photos.
Nice to look at, but “none of our business” to explore.
Table Mountain Cableway, a real “experience”
Taking the hop on hop off bus was the best decision we could make. Public transport is not recommendable, Cape Town is a big city, so getting from A to B with some explanations is absolutely great!
Not that great was our mood when we hopped off to get up Table Mountain.
Table Mountain is so famous for being almost straight at its top and is thus an incomparable landmark of Cape Town. Thoughtful as we were, we already bought our tickets up online in advance.
The only problem was that the Cableway was closed for a couple of weeks before we arrived, so everyone wanted to get up. The queue was huge. Approximate waiting time for getting up: 2 hours plus.
Honestly, not with us. We wanted to use our time better than waiting the whole day for a ride. Second reason was the fog above Cape Town – we doubted heavily that we were able to enjoy the promised breathtaking views of the city …
12 Apostles and Camps Bay
Having gained some extra time through skipping Table Mountain (highly recommended to get up really early or to plan a whole day for that as we can safely say now), we spontaneously hopped off at Camps Bay.
Camps Bay is the so-called wind-free zone of Cape Town. Lovely beaches where you will surely be asked to buy some art and the 12 Apostles in your back will be responsible for incredible views and unforgettable moments!
From tram station to toilet house
Earlier, tram rails led right next to the sea. Nowadays, there is just a promenade left.
Very creative as I think, the former tram stations are now rebuilt to public toilet houses!
Stadium Green Point
As you may know, South Africa hosted the World Soccer Cup in 2010. For that special occasion, many new stadiums were built.
One of those is Cape Town Stadium, also known as Green Point. With a lot of jumping effort, we even managed to get a good photo!
There is a novel called Hunger Games where District 12 (and 13) are razed to the ground. District Six in Cape Town reminded me strongly of that.
Having heard a moving explanation about the past of District Six which was basically about races, we understood why the area will probably be dead forever. It will work as a memorial. District Six will never be forgotten.
Robben Island is the place where political criminals were detained, so was Nelson Mandela.
However, our visit to Robben Island is a whole different story about which you can read here!
Castle of Good Hope
Last but not least, Castle of Good Hope was of our interest. Unfortunately, we came too late to be allowed to still enter.
Dating back to the 17th century, Castle of Good Hope was declared as a historical monument about 80 years ago. It shows the importance of the Dutch being an Occupying Power.
I could write a whole novel about Cape Town, so if you plan on going, be sure to take enough time for Table Mountain and visits to museums as South African history is rich like none else. Not to forget about Cape Town being an “actual” city…