The WCPT Congress offers the opportunity to explore South Africa’s legislative capital. From hiking up Table Mountain to visiting notorious Robben Island, here are ten ideas to get you started.
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
Located on Table Bay Harbour, the V&A Waterfront attracts more than 23 million visitors each year. Here you can take a boat trip, see Cape Town from the big wheel, enjoy waterside shopping or eat and drink at a wide range of restaurants and coffee shops.
The South African National Gallery
The South African National Gallery, found on the edge of Company's Garden, currently hosts a portraiture exhibition embracing everything from the origins of the form to contemporary ‘selfies’. The gallery also contains collections of British, French, Dutch and Flemish art as well as photography, sculpture, beadwork, textiles and architecture.
Get active and remember to stretch before hiking along Cape Town’s best-known outdoor attraction, Table Mountain. A wheelchair-accessible cable car offers trips to the mountain’s summit 1,089 metres above the city, while the Table Mountain cafe offers food, drinks, WiFi, snacks and wines. Three hiking trails start at the upper cable station, with free 30-minute guided tours departing from the Twelve Apostles Terrace on the hour between 9am-3pm daily.
Wine tasting tours
Well-known wine routes close to Cape Town include Stellenbosch and Paarl, which also have restaurants open day and night. South Africa’s oldest estate is Groot Constantia, a national monument and heritage site which has been producing wine since 1685. Tours here include the estate, the historic Cloete Cellar and a five-wine tasting with genuine Spiegelau crystal glass for visitors to keep as a souvenir.
Cape Town red tourism buses
The city sightseeing red buses offer one of the best ways to see Cape Town’s top attractions, including the Table Mountain Cableway, downtown Cape Town and Camps Bay. For the truly adventurous, the bus ride can be combined with a 25-minute helicopter tour, taking off from the Waterfront helipad for a scenic flight along the Atlantic Coast passing False Bay, Fish Hoek and Muizenberg.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Set against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden was established in 1913 to promote, conserve and display the rich and diverse flora of southern Africa. The gardens host more than 7,000 species of unique plant life, including sugar bushes, pincushions and heaths. In 2004 the Cape Floristic Region, including Kirstenbosch, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Found 60km south west of Cape Town, the nature reserve at Cape Point hosts buck, baboons and Cape Mountain zebra as well as more than 250 species of birds. Private tour operators offer a selection of half- and full-day excursions, offering the chance to walk the shipwreck trail, watch massive whales on their annual migration or spot the legendary ghost ship The Flying Dutchman.
Two Oceans Aquarium
The Two Oceans Aquarium on Cape Town’s waterfront offers a window onto the diverse wildlife of the Indian and Atlantic oceans. More than 3,000 marine species are on show, including sharks, penguins, seahorses, jellyfish and turtles. The aquarium offers diving and encounters with shoals of predators. Or visit during feeding time to witness a frenzy of activity from the safety of dry land.
Cape Town Stadium
Built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the 55,000-capacity Cape Town Stadium holds tours every weekday, including the chance to look into players’ changing rooms. Also available is a tour of neighbouring Green Point Park, a carefully curated biodiversity showcase garden with more than 25,000 indigenous plants, walking paths, an outdoor gym and water features.
Robben Island tours
Take the ferry to Robben Island for a four-hour tour of the island that symbolises the triumph of the human spirit. Tours, hosted by former political prisoners, include the Lime Quarry, Robert Sobukwe’s house, the army and navy bunkers and the world-famous maximum-security prison where you can view Nelson Mandela’s cell.
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