The Best Places
In terms of travel and tourism drawcards, South Africa is well known as one of the continent’s premier Big 5 game destinations, and indeed one of the best countries to enjoy an authentic African wildlife and wilderness safari.
The Big 5 (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard) are those big African game species historically considered by hunters as the hardest to hunt on foot. Nowadays however, the 5 are often used as a checklist for those wanting to experience South Africa’s incredible wildlife at one of the country’s countless game parks and nature reserves.
And while the nation boasts its big 5, Cape Town has its own Big 6. These are the top 6 Mother City must-do attractions and experiences, highly recommended, particularly for those visiting Cape Town for the first time.
Table Mountain Aerial Cableway
The flat-topped mountain that creates Cape Town’s iconic backdrop and city skyline is one of the country’s most visited tourist attractions… and for good reason. The mountain and adjacent Table Mountain National Park feature unique landscapes, botanically significant flora and of course, spectacular views around every corner. Many opt to hike up the famous peak but for those looking for a somewhat less strenuous accent, the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is ideal. The rotating cable cars (departing daily weather permitting) present riders with 360° views of the Mother Cityscapes below.
Another super popular tourist destination and a landmark Cape Town attraction, the V&A Waterfront is 1/3 working harbour, 1/3 high-end shopping and dining mecca and 1/3 one-of-a-kind tourist destination. High-end and luxury global brands sit alongside the country’s finest fashion, food, furniture and lifestyle businesses. You’ll also find some excellent dining and drinking establishments (many with stunning harbour and mountain views) as well as a host of unique and distinctly South African local goods, crafts and more. The Waterfront is also home the Two Oceans Aquarium, a world-class aquarium facility that pays homage to the vibrant marine life that surrounds the Cape Peninsula.
Robben Island is the island prison were many of South Africa’s most famous and celebrated activists (Nelson Mandela included) were held captive by the Apartheid regime. Tours to Robben Island depart from the V&A Waterfront and help to shed light on the struggles the country faced along its journey towards democracy and the ultimate abolishment of institutionalised and oppressive racial segregation and discrimination. It’s a tough but important story to hear and those who go on a tour of Robben Island will be guided by former inmates of the prison. Having personally lived the struggle, the guides offer poignant and often heart-breaking insights into the modern history of South Africa.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Anyone who visits the famed gardens sitting along the eastern slopes of Table Mountain will quickly see why they’re often regarded as one of the most beautiful botanical gardens on the planet. Immaculately kept and featuring a wealth of the most impressive local flora, the Gardens also house a coffee shop, 2 restaurants and several impressive artworks dotted around the gardens, including a dinosaur sculpture exhibition. Recently the boomslang (Afrikaans for tree snake) treetop canopy walk was added to the gardens’ collection of attractions. The wooden walkway curves its way through the treetops offering epic views and unrivalled photo ops.
In Cape Town’s verdant and leafy suburb of Constantia, lies Groot Constantia the country’s oldest wine estate. With a history dating back to the late 1600s the heritage site and historic wine farm is something to add to any oenophile’s cape itinerary. Enjoy a wine-tasting experience at the legendary wine farm along with a meal at one of the estate’s excellent eateries.
Cape Point Route (including Boulders, Chapmans)
The rugged coastline of the Cape Peninsula affords some of the most scenic and wow-inducing scenes you’ll likely ever encounter. One of the best ways to take in these majestic scenes would be to drive along the coast, visiting Cape Point National Park (where you can walk to the southwestern edge of the African continent) making sure to include stops at Boulders Beach (home to a breeding colony African penguins) and the twisting-and-turning, hair-raising Chapmans Peak drive. Considering Ocean’s Echo prime Fish Hoek location, a trip along this awe-inspiring Cape Point route is easily accessible and the definition of must-see-and-do.
Keen to experience any of the abovementioned attractions for yourself?
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