My Love Affair with Cape Town - Africa's Jewel Destination
I must be honest, I never really saw the fascination with Cape Town when I was younger. Cape Town was always a place we went to each year on holiday to visit our Grandparents. Sure, it was a lot greener and busier than Namibia, but to me - it was just the place we came every year and nothing really special.
Today, I'd have to take that statement back. And I'm not just saying that because I live in Cape Town or because I'm South African and it's the second most populated city in the country. I'm saying it because I am deeply in love with this city and I've only just started to realize and appreciate it for what it really is - Africa's treasure.
Before I go into proclaiming my love or trying to convince you as to why you need to visit this beautiful city, I'm going to tell you why everyone else seems to have fallen in love with Cape Town, and why it's suddenly becoming the "go to" city for tourists around the world.
Why does Cape Town sound so familiar?
The name sounds familiar, but you're not sure where you heard it or where exactly it is. You learn it's somewhere at the end of Africa, right on the southern tip in fact. At this point you might start asking yourself why people would want to visit a city that's sitting on the edge of Africa.
Isn't Africa only full of lions and elephants that roam the streets and walk side-by-side next to people in the villages? I'm not saying this to be funny, believe me - this is what a lot of people all around the world believe Africa to be like! The number of people that have asked me this question, or something similar are more than I can count on my hands!
Never mind, at least now you know that we don't all live in little huts and keep giraffes and lions as pets in our backyards!
Why suddenly over the last few years has Cape Town become such a well known city? A place where celebrities seem to flock to, a place depicted in big screen movies - a place known as the "Mother City".
What Cape Town is Famous For
- Nelson Mandela. I don't think I need to say more here.
- Table Mountain, Cape Town's treasure was recently named as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world, beating the Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef and the Dead Sea.
- CNNGo recently voted Cape Town as one of the Top 10 Best Loved cities of the world.
- One of the host cities of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup games
- The movie Safe House was shot in Cape Town, featuring Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington
- Sci-fi movie Chronical was also shot here
- Blood Diamond with Leonardo di Caprio was filmed in Cape Town
- Other movies shot here include Invictus, Doomsday and Endgame
- Gordon Ramsey opened his restaurant Maze in Cape Town in 2009
- Model, Caprice opened her restaurant in Camps Bay - Café Caprice (a "must see" when visiting Cape Town)
Welcome to Cape Town!
Now that I've told you why the rest of the world likes Cape Town, allow me to share my personal reasons why I love this city.
Stand on top of the world
Climbing Table Mountain. Few things come close to hiking up this natural landmark and having a picnic at the top of the mountain with views as far as the eye can see. If you're not too keen on walking up, take a trip up in the cable car and enjoy the panoramic views as you sail to the top. You can even treat your partner to a sunset trip up the mountain - breathtaking!
See two Oceans meet
Watch the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet while standing overlooking the panoramic views. Exploring the Cape Point nature reserve and standing right at the end of Africa, is one of the most magnificent feelings in the world! There are many trails to walk up in the reserve, or down to the beach. When you're finished and exhausted, I highly recommend trying the desserts at the Two Oceans Restaurant!
I've already mentioned Table Mountain and Cape Point, but there are many other nature reserves to explore, not to mention the hundreds of wine farms in the area, or the vast range of beaches available to soak up the sun with a cocktail, surf the waves or play beach volleyball.
More reasons to love Cape Town
Cape Town is home to some of the best restaurants in the world - whether you're in the mood for fine dining, fusion food or to experience some traditional African dishes, Cape Town has it all! I highly recommend trying a few of the following restaurants when you are in the city:
- Wakame - Some of the best sushi in Cape Town, right along the beach
- Moyo - Traditional African food served in tents or in treetops!
- Flavours - Delicious dining in the heart of the Stellenbosch wine lands
- The Roundhouse - Breathtaking views in an historical building, offering fine dining
- The Tasting Room - Innovative, fine dining in Franschhoek
What holiday wouldn't be complete without doing a little shopping? You will be spoilt for choice with the number of malls, street vendors, day markets and shopping centres in every part of Cape Town. If you are the type of person who shops till they drop, I highly recommend visiting the V & A Waterfront or Canal Walk.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Cape Town offers a variety of exciting bars, clubs and restaurants. Bars stay open till late, most restaurants are open till around midnight, and clubs start picking up from 11pm.
Whether you're looking to enjoy a sundowner next to the beach at a chilled outdoor bar, or enjoy the sound of the DJ in a trendy inner city lounge, Cape Town has bars for every taste and every personality. Below are a few of the most popular bars to choose from:
- Caprice or Sandbar for sundowner drinks on the beach
- Baraza for drinks accompanied by local DJ's
- La Med for their incredible views and good music right on the beach
- Wafu boasts an incredible wooden deck overlooking the sea and Asian tapas
- Try Po Na Na Bar for a trendy hang-out
- For a mellow evening, visit Kennedy's Cigar Bar and enjoy bourbon and cigars
- Planet Bar offers an ultra-cool experience and exotic cocktails
- If you're looking for an upmarket and sophisticated lounge, try Asoka Son
- Green Dolphin offers live Jazz
- Visit Pulse - a trendy sports bar for live sports events
- Cubana Cafe offers a lively Latin atmosphere
- For a hippie type bar, try Rolling Stones
- Brass Bell offers a casual, laid back feel
- For a Morrocan inspired feel, try Polana in the harbour
Cape Town is known as a laid back city, but there are certainly no shortages of nightlife when it comes to clubs in the area. If you're looking for a night on the town, these are the places to be!
- Opium offers a cigar bar, whiskey lounge and DJ's
- Visit Budda Bar for a sultry Cuban feel
- Angel is a hip Gay nightclub
- The Ivory Room is an ultra-trendy nightclub
- Hemisphere offers dancing with a view on the 31st floor
- Visit The Jam for a more relaxed crowd feeling
- Dance the night away at Tiger Tiger in Claremont
- Decodance offers an alternative dance scene
- Trendy clubs along Edward Street including Vacca Matta
- Hip clubs along Long Street
Take a little tour of my city...
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