Cape Town is often considered one of the world’s most beautiful, romantic and intriguing cities - between its historical importance, stunning coastline and its landmark sights. Of course, like any bustling metropolitan city, it’s also a mecca for culture, shopping and cuisine. Discover Cape Town on our Africa Safaris & Wildlife Cruises and explore a few of our favorite spots:
The dramatic backdrop of flat-topped Table Mountain is one of the most iconic (and photographed) sights in South Africa. It is featured on the city’s official flag and other local government insignia. Its cable car has taken more than 24 million visitors and locals to the top, over 3,500 feet above sea level! Along with the stunning views, find roughly 2,200 species of plants and 1,470 floral species, many of which are endemic to the mountain. Legend attributes the usual cloud cover of the flat top of the mountain (colloquially called the ‘tablecloth’) to a smoking contest between the Devil and a local Dutch pirate named Van Hunks.
A (Hopeful) Rocky Cape
The nearby Cape of Good Hope, once assumed to be the southern-most point of Africa, continues to hold special historical significance. Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias’ milestone rounding of the Cape in 1488 opened the way for more seafaring expeditions to the Far East. When traveling westward from the Atlantic Ocean, the jagged Cape marks the point where ships begin traveling more eastward (hence, why it was long assumed to be the southern-most tip). The rocky cape was originally named the Cape of Storms by Dias but was later changed by King John II of Portugal to its current name, signifying the great optimism and excitement in discovering what would ultimately become the Dutch East India Company’s famous sea route.
Wildlife in the Cape
The Cape of Good Hope is home to various species of animals (most commonly, chacma baboons) and at least 250 species of birds - including African penguins, sunbirds and sugarbirds. Bontebok antelope, eland antelope, red hartebeest are sometimes spotted. While quite rare - grey rhebok, klipspringer, zebra have also been observed here. Or perhaps you might catch a glimpse of the southern right whale, humpback whale, Bryde’s whale, seals, dusky dolphins or killer whales.
The Surf of South Africa
No visit to Cape Town is complete without a drive through some of the most scenic ocean views in the world. See Hout Bay, Chapman’s Peak and False Bay among other stunning spots.
The picturesque fishing village of Hout Bay is world renowned for its incredible surf and, in particular, the Big Wave known as ‘Dungeons.’ One of only sixteen recognized big wave spots in the world, the swells of Hout Bay have been recorded at up to 47 feet – although it is believed that there may one day be a swell of up to 100 feet here! Chapman’s Peak is a mountain opposite Hout Bay which is known for Chapman’s Peak Drive and offers more incredible views. A favorite of cyclists, it is part of the route of two well-known races. Nearby False Bay is one of the most scenic, charming bays in the world.
Visit Cape Town on itineraries such as Discover Africa, Rivers & Rails of Africa, Wildlife and the Falls, Stars of South Africa and Golden Trails of Africa.