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Cape Town is as exotic and phenomenal a destination as any place could get. Long blonde beaches washed by the clear blue waters of the Atlantic and set against a backdrop of towering peaks are what awaits you if you plan a trip to Cape Town. It's wild, it's charming, it's irresistible! There are so many things that you could be doing while you are in Cape Town such as hiking, surfing, biking, paragliding, and even relaxing while whale-watching. Cape Town also has a rich history waiting to be explored. Thus, it is a brilliant idea to go on a trip to Cape Town, and here are some of the things that you just have to try while you are there.
Table Mountain is situated to the south of the city center and rises to a flat top at 1,087m from sea level. This unique natural feature is one of the most iconic and most-photographed landmarks in South Africa. It is not just a unique natural feature but also home to a humongous variety of flora and fauna, given that Table Mountain is part of the larger Table Mountain National Park experience. It is estimated that there are about 1.470 different flowering species of plants to be found here and animals such as caracals, baboons, and snub-nosed dassies are a common sight. If you are lucky, you may even see the tabletop laid out with a “tablecloth” formed from a layer of clouds cascading from the top of the mountain.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens are situated on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. It is a spectacular place and should be on every traveler's itinerary and thus deserves a special mention. This garden was established in 1913 in an attempt to protect and conserve the indigenous flora. You will be astounded to find out that as many as 20,000 native South African species are taken care of and studied in this area. A journey through this garden is going to be extremely calm with all the vibrantly colored and sweetly fragrant blossoms all around you.
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town is very similar to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. This beautiful stretch between two harbor basins is one of the most happening places in the city and is popular as an entertainment center. Whether you are looking for classy restaurants or jazz venues or just some alone time to mingle with the crowd- you have to head to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. There is also a Springbok Experience Rugby Museum which sports fans would love since it exhibits the story of South African Rugby. The Two Oceans Aquarium featuring more than 300 different species of fish is also an alluring place to visit.
Robben Island could be visited by taking a ride from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Though it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site now, it has been one of the most brutal prisons in South African history for 400 years. This prison is of particular importance since Nelson Mandela had spent 18 years in a tiny cell here when apartheid was going strong in South Africa. As you explore the prison you will get guided tours and the interesting aspect of this is that the guides are former inmates who share their life’s tales from the prison.
Chapman's Peak Drive
Affectionately known as "chappies" among the locals, Chapman's Peak Drive is about 25km away from the city center. This route is famed as one of the most splendid routes to drive through in the world. The road connects Noordhoek to Hout Bay and is cut into the sheer face of Chapman's Peak. The road goes on for 9 km and there are 114 curves cut into the rock face. Suffice to say it is going to be an exotic, memorable ride albeit bumpy and thus it is not for the ones who get motion sickness. Sunsets are one of the best and most crowded times to come to visit this amazing driveway.
Old Biscuit Mill
The Old Biscuit is an impressive place to visit especially to satiate your hunger for delicacies. It is situated in the Woodstock area in Cape Town and is open every day of the week, however, the weekends are the most happening times in the Old Biscuit Mill because it brings around the Neighbourgoods Market. Old Biscuit Mill is the place to go to if you want to experience South Africa at its truest forms- all kinds of artists making everything such as food, artwork, apparel, homemade goods, and so on flock together here to share and sell their wares.
The Heart of Cape Town Museum
The first heart transplant in South Africa was conducted in the Groote Schuur Hospital by Christian Barnard in 1967. To commemorate this event, the Heart of Cape Town Museum was opened in the hospital in 2007. The tour mainly comprises a recreation of the operating facilities that took place when the original was being conducted. It is an interesting and interactive tour that details everything about that time and the complexities that were included in such an operation.
Boulder's Bay, situated in Simon's Town, is about an hour away from Cape Town on a car and is a must-visit site for anybody, especially wildlife lovers. This area is a sheltered breeding ground for about 2,000 endangered African Penguins. It is part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area and is a worthy site to visit to complete your Cape Town tour. You should head to Boulder Bay to look at these cute birds up close and personal and how they go about their daily lives in their natural habitat. A trip to Boulder's Bay is going to be a very fulfilling experience for you.
Cape Point is about 60 km away from the city center on the southernmost tip of Table Mountain National Park. It is also part of the Cape Floral Region which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site owing to the fact that it is one of the richest areas of vegetation in the world. With rich flora also comes a diverse range of fauna to look out for! There are about 250 different avian species to look out for. Among land animals, you can easily spot brazen baboons, Cape zebras, elands, and a variety of reptiles. Whale watching is also a common activity in this part of the world. You should also visit the Cape Point lighthouse and go to the top to get some of the most spectacular views of the trip!
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