"Life has no limitations, except the ones you make..." - Les Brown'
The city centre lies to the north of Table Mountain. The commercial centre, known as the City Bowl, takes in many of Cape Town's attractions. The Castle of Good Hope was built between 1666 and 1679 and is one of the oldest European structures in Southern Africa. The South African Museum is a good old-fashioned place, with cases and cases of stuffed animals and bloodthirsty dioramas of dinosaurs. Exhibitions of indigenous cultures include some startlingly lifelike displays of San communities. If you see only one museum in Cape Town make it the District Six Museum, a much simpler place dedicated to residents of this formerly vibrant and now bulldozed community.
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is to the north of the city centre. This area is unashamedly pitched at tourists but it avoids the glossy unreality of comparable port revamps. It's atmospheric, interesting and packed with restaurants, bars, music venues, shops and a great aquarium. This area kicks on late so head down anytime.
|(A view point on Table Mountain)|
The Table Mountain cableway is such an obvious and popular attraction you might have difficulty convincing yourself it's worth the trouble and expense. It is. When it's clear, the views from the top are phenomenal and there are some excellent walks on the summit, especially in spring when the plants are flowering. The Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens on the eastern side of Table Mountain are among the most beautiful in the world and are devoted almost exclusively to indigenous plants. A trip to Robben Island comes highly recommended: The island was a political prison until majority rule, and its most famous inmate was Nelson Mandela.
|(The confluence of two oceans)|
|(A windy weather at the tip of the cape)|
Like all South African cities, Cape Town is ambivalent - European but not European, African but not African - a mixture of the third and first worlds. But when it comes to being one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it is unequivocal. Even the transient visitor will appreciate this city, its mountains and the sea. Cape Town, South Africa's oldest settlement, is dominated by the kilometre high flat-topped Table Mountain and superb mountain walks, vineyards and beaches are all within easy reach. Despite an increase in street crime in recent years, Cape Town remains one of the most relaxed cities in Africa, which can instil a false sense of security. Paranoia is not required but common sense is.