South Africa has much to offer any holidaymaker, and nowhere more so than Cape Town – arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
As if leaving the cold behind and travelling to a place where sunshine and cocktails abound isn’t reason enough, here are our Top 10 reasons to visit “The Mother City”.
1. You’re welcome
It’s been said a million times – South Africans are extremely hospitable people. They like other people, they love entertaining and they spend a fair amount of their time eating, drinking, conversing and having a laugh. When going into a pharmacy, grocery store, restaurant or clothing boutique, you are likely to be met with a smile and a friendly greeting. Chances are you’ll feel welcome wherever you go in Cape Town.
2. Beauty as far as the eye can see
Cape Town has spectacular scenery – from the most pristine white-sand beaches to mountain ranges that will take your breath away. Drive in any direction for an hour or two, and you’ll feel like you’re in another world. The West Coast is simply incredible – sparsely vegetated and populated, with little villages dotted along the unspoilt coastline and beaches that seem to stretch on forever. And the Breede Valley region offers spectacular mountain views, hot springs, rock pools, starry skies and quaint villages you won’t want to leave.
3. Food, glorious food!
Whatever you feel like eating, you’ll find it in Cape Town. From simple, fresh fish and chips to the most superb seafood money can buy; delectable Indian curries to succulent steaks, and everything in between! There is no shortage of cafés, delis, bistros, sushi bars, restaurants and coffee shops. When selecting a top restaurant for a special occasion, ask a local to point you somewhere with a good local reputation so you can be sure you’re getting value for money. If you are lucky enough to be invited to a “braai” (barbecue), just say yes! Flame-grilled lamb chops, rump steak or local “boerewors” simply can’t be beat, particularly when accompanied by local beer and good conversation.
4. Red, red Wine
South Africa is well-known for its world class wine. You’ll find many a good red (and white) in Cape Town, with several wine routes and literally hundreds of wine farms to explore. Some offer day visits and tastings only, while many have world-class restaurants onsite. Others offer luxury accommodation, spa treatments and more. And then there’s the wine. Don’t get us started. And don’t miss out on tasting the local hero, Pinotage.
5. Shop much?
There are several malls in and around Cape Town, the most well known being the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, where you will find exclusive boutiques and big brand stores, including La Coste, Prada and Louis Vutton. But it’s really at the little Sunday markets, food markets, country stalls, craft markets and little shops down little side streets that you’re likely to whip out your cash. The Hout Bay Harbour Market is jam-packed with everything from fresh gorgonzola cheese to handmade ice cream, beautiful clothing and shoes, to crafts and curios that even the locals can’t get enough of. The little fishing village of Kalk Bay is full of hidden treasures, as is Long Street in the centre of Cape Town. Avoid purchasing your gifts and curios at large, expensive curio shops who import their curios – rather support the local talent and find something truly unique at the same time.
6. Every kind of people
You can meet almost every kind of person in Cape town – the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor, high-powered business execs and creative hipsters, students, farmers, clubbers, foodies, crafters – you name them, Cape Town has them. Sun-bronzed beauties and gorgeous muscle men abound, particularly around Clifton and the popular, palm-lined Camps Bay strip, where the beautiful people can be seen sipping cocktails, cruising in their sports cars and just generally being fabulous. Pop into a West Coast pub and you are likely to meet real salt-of-the-earth Afrikaners who will be very happy to share their brandy and tall tales with you. You should also try to visit a nearby fishing village or harbour to buy fish fresh-from-the-boat and chat to the local Cape fishermen. Their weathered looks, toothless smiles and unique sense of humour make them a tribe unto their own.
7. Planes, trains and automobiles
Cape Town can hardly compare with London when it comes to public transport, but they certainly have stepped things up since 2010. The Hop On, Hop Off bus does all the main attractions, there are taxi cabs on call 24/7, daytime buses cover the major routes, and trains and minibus taxis are available for the more adventurous traveller. If in doubt, ask a local. It’s also possible to rent a car for quite a reasonable fee – just do your research to find the most economical deal.
8. Beaches galore
Enough cannot be said about the beaches in the Fair Cape. Whether it’s white-sand dunes or rocky beaches you’re after, packed-out holiday beaches or secluded little secret beaches, you’ll find them in Cape Town. Just ask around and maybe a local will share a few hidden gems with you.
9. Good vibrations
People who live in other parts of the country tend to regard Capetonions as laid-back “tree huggers”. This could have something to do with Cape Town being a creative hub, with a concentration of ad agencies, film studios, fashion designers and artists of every kind. Or perhaps it’s because Table Mountain has two major ley lines running through it – the concentrated energy believed to enhance psychic and healing powers. Either way, there’s a culture of consciousness and it won’t be hard to find a yoga studio, meditation centre or alternative healing therapy of any kind.
10. Table Mountain
Aside from the ley lines, Table Mountain is also awesome to view from many vantage points, particularly from the aptly named Table View beach. There are a huge number of hikes up the mountain, with magical waterfalls, streams and forest areas. If climbing isn’t your thing, take the cable car and see Cape Town from way up high. Do yourself a favour and try to catch a sunset from up there. But be warned, your decision to emigrate might start there and then!
If you do visit Cape Town and decide you want to call it home, speak to 1st Contact’s visa experts at www.1stcontactvisas.com.