Cape Town. The Mother City. Crouching beneath the majestic backdrop of Table Mountain in the south-west corner of Africa. Once a tiny stopover for fresh supplies along the trading route between Europe and the Far East, now a buzzing metropolis where the Rainbow Nation welcome visitors with open arms and huge smiles, lots of good food and great wine. You haven’t been there? What are you waiting for?
What do I love most about this city ?
1. The Views
whether it be the sensational all round city and peninsula views you get from taking a cable car ( or climbing if you have the energy) up to the top of Table Mountain, the dizzying view of the coast from the impressive 9km Chapman Peak Drive, with its 114 curves, where you literally hang off the cliff or the wide-open view of False Bay from Boyes Drive down in the Cape Peninsula, you cannot get enough of the scenic landscapes that this city has to offer. It must be one of the most scenically situated cities in the world.
2. The Beaches
now personally I can think of nothing worse than lying on a beach and baking in the sun, but I know many people do like to do that and Cape Town has the most incredible beautiful beaches all around – it is on a peninsula – so you get northern beaches where the wind whips the sand into a frenzy, so perhaps best suited to wind-surfing than sun-bathing; the western beaches which are on the frigid Atlantic coastline so these attract the ‘in’ people who strut their stuff along Camps Bay or Clifton, occasionally playing Frisbee, or volley-ball or more likely be supping bold espressos in the bars lining the beachfront (that’s if you can get parking) OR the fabulous Indian Ocean beaches where the water is warmer and when the surf is up is filled with surfing dudes, wind-surfers, kite-surfers (they stay on the sand not the water) and people like me, who just want a long beach to stroll along. And then there’s the penguins. Now tell me, where else in the world can you visit a beach with resident penguins? And not freeze.
even in the heart of the city you will find the Company’s Gardens. Once literally an allotment where fruit and vegetables were grown to feed the visiting traders, now a little oasis in the city bowl. A serene place to wander through, full of trees and plants, European squirrels and native birds. And the view of that mountain behind you. No-one should come to Cape Town and not wander through this garden. And if you are not a fan of gardens then this is where you will find the ‘Tuynhuys‘ which is used by the President on state occasions (and not open to the public), the ‘Delville Wood Memorial’ and the ‘Rutherfoord Fountain’. This area is known as ‘Museum Mile’ in that the vast majority of Cape Town’s museums are concentrated into the same small space around Government Avenue including the South African Museum and National Gallery and The Iziko Slave Lodge which lies just outside the entrance.
A little further south is Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. A must see. And you can climb up to the top of Table Mountain from here up through Skeleton Gorge. If that is too much, then feel free to wander around the acres of native flora – proteas, restios, pelargoniums. Did I tell you that the Cape is home to more than 9,000 plant species? No? Well it is.
And finally, the Cape Point reserve. Where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet and the waters surge and crash together making it one of the world’s most dangerous routes to navigate round. The reserve is full of the fynbos that the Cape is known for, it is also home to ostrich, kudu and sable antelope, and baboons. Watch out for the baboons!
So that’s that. My favourite city and three reasons why I like it. No make that LOVE it. Cape Town. The pearl in the African Crown.
Accor Hotels are running a competition to find your favourite city. Cape Town is mine. Which one is yours?