Having just arrived back from my first visit to South Africa I am keen to share my experience of a truly wonderful holiday! My husband and I based our 11 day stay in Cape Town. Of course the number one attraction of the city is Table Mountain, now listed as one of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders. My tip would be to purchase your ticket for the cable car online, to avoid queues at the Upper Cableway Station, and to do so early in your stay, it is valid for one week to allow for cancellations due to poor weather conditions, usually caused by mist at the summit, the ” Table Cloth”. You really do not want to miss this experience of (WOW!) amazing views.
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront ( the V & A) serves to connect the city with the sea, with Table Mountain as its backdrop. A great place for shopping for both local crafts ( do not miss the Watershed) and luxury goods. Enjoy a harbour tour to look for seals, dolphins and whales, either on a small boat or on a sunset cruise before dining in one of the many superb restaurants on the Waterfront.
It is from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V & A that we boarded the ferry to Robben Island, Cape Town’s must visit attraction number two! Comparisons are often drawn with Alcatraz…the two islands have little in common! After we disembarked we boarded a bus for a circular tour of the island, which is naturally lovely…not that many of the prisons’ inmates were probably ever aware! The houses of the wardens’ village are now occupied by museum staff including ex-inmates who work as tour guides of the Maximum Security Prison. Everyone visiting this prison ensures that they don’t miss seeing Nelson Mandela’s former cell.
On the slopes of Table Mountain is the Kirstenbosch National Garden with its lush collection of indigenous plants, if you are a plant lover do not pass this by, we were lucky to be there in Spring when the proteas were in bloom. We also walked around Company’s Garden , in the center of the city, amidst important city buildings and museums. The Castle of Good Hope and District Six Museum are not far from there. Visiting both of these reminded us of the distant and more recent episodes in the history of Cape Town.
Traveling further afield we spent a full day touring the Winelands. Wine tasting can be arranged at many of the area’s vineyards. We are now very partial to a glass ( or two) of Pinotage! The towns of Stellenbosch and Franschoek are both very pretty, surrounded by wine estates. A lovely day out and about!
The Cape Peninsular is directly south of Cape Town. We were driven to the southern most Cape Point, via Chapman’s Peak. A funicular railway took us up to the Cape of Good Hope Lighthouse with its great views of False Bay. Our route back to Cape Town was via Simon’s Town and the Boulders Beach penguin colony. Hundreds of penguins waddling and swimming…a sight not to miss!
All in all, I would say that Cape Town has something for everyone. If you are not staying in Camps Bay, Bantry Bay or Llandudno, then visit there for the fabulous beaches. If you are more adventurous than me or my husband, think of hiking up Table Mountain or abseiling down! A cruise around the bay too relaxing? then hire a kayak, surf, dive or go deep sea fishing. Golfing is your pleasure? my husband can recommend the Metropolitan Golf Course near the V & A, under the shadow of the famous Cape Town Football Stadium. And every mention of South Africa has to include safaris. There are many options to easily include or add one to a holiday in Cape Town.
Article by Jan Lewis.
The Villa Collection now features a fantastic range of luxury villas and apartments in Cape Town. Our destination partners include excellent Villa management companies offering private airport transfers, villa check-in & out, car hire and concierge/tours service.