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Nestled on the breath-taking coastline between pristine white sands and the iconic mass of Table Mountain it’s easy to see why so many visitors to this city fall in love with it straight away. Being the second largest city in South Africa it is home to an eclectic mix of locals and foreigners, and there’s a vibrancy and energy evident throughout the streets. From its humble beginnings as a stop-off port on the Dutch East India Company route, it grew exponentially in size and style to present day, recently taking the title of World Design Capital for 2014. As soon as cruise ships pull into this port, visitors to Cape Town will be spoilt for choice with so much to see and do.
A vibrant cosmopolitan metropolis, Cape Town has plenty of exciting local attractions within its walls. It didn’t receive its newest accolade of World Design Capital for no reason, and a day trip to Woodstock makes it clear why it’s held in such high regard. Fabulous buildings and inspiring architecture are evident everywhere. There are various tours available to take around the city and nature lovers will be spoilt for choice with reserves and wildlife themed activities to enjoy. With so many activities on offer, here are some of the best highlights:
Table Top Mountain
No trip to Cape Town would be complete without a visit to this impressive natural wonder. There are a variety of routes you could take to the top depending upon your available time and current fitness level. The cable car offers the quickest, and easiest, assent to the summit. From here you'll feel as if you are on top of the world with breath-taking views over the city and beyond. More active travellers can enjoy the hike to the top, but be warned that it’s not an easy route while the world’s highest commercial abseil, boasting a 112-meter descent, is the fastest way down.
Visitors to the city with an interest in culture should take the time to visit Robben Island and the District Six Museum. Tours of the Island reveal where Nelson Mandela was kept prisoner for 18 years, allowing visitors to gain a true sense of apartheid.
Art lovers should head to the foot of Devil’s Peak and spend a few hours visiting the impressive range of high-class galleries nestled in the Woodstock suburb. It boasts an impressive number of art galleries and displays of local and international talent.
Dive with Great White Sharks and a few of their friends in the waters around Cape Town, as the area plays host to nearly a quarter of the world’s shark population. Gansbaai is a short distance from the city and is where Great White Sharks can be found, with cage diving trips being the most popular way to experience this unique underwater habitat.
With precious metals and gems in rich abundance in Africa, Cape Town is the perfect location to shop for jewellery. If you enjoy contemporary pieces then head to the arty side of the city in Woodstock to pick up some unique items. Alternatively, Jewellery Avenue is located in the heart of the city with over 20 shops catering to jewellery lover’s personal tastes.
Bargain hunters should head to one of the city’s many markets to pick up gifts for friends and family as well as souvenirs of your visit. The markets take place on different days throughout the city and mostly specialise in traditional pieces and antiques through to contemporary clothing and art.
There is an impressive number of restaurants on offer in Cape Town, showcasing every type of cuisine from around the world. To get a taste of all the different flavours from various African countries, try Africa Café which is easy to get to from your ship. It serves up a variety of mouth-watering delicacies from places like Ethiopia and Mozambique. For a fine dining experience try the locals’ favourite, Bizerca Bistro, where the award-winning chef Laurent Deslandes produces some well-planned menus in an opulent setting.
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