Attractions and Activities
When the apartheid government swooped on District Six, Cape Town in 1965, forcibly removing its occupants and declaring the area a "whites-only" zone, the rich fabric of an impoverished but vibrant community was torn to shreds. Over 60 000 people were wrenched from their homes, livelihoods, community centres and societal networks, and relocated to the bleak plains of the Cape Flats, several kilometres away ....
The District Six Museum is a heritage project in itself. Part of its mission is to provide the space for former inhabitants of District Six to share and explore their memories and develop new interpretations of both the past and the present. The museum also functions as a forum where debate and policy development is initiated.
District Six Museum houses an impressive collection of historical materials including photographs, paintings, artefacts, physical remains like street signs, books and studies as well as audio-visual recordings of District Six, most which were donated by its former residents. The museum is geared for individuals as well as group and school tours, and is open from 9am to 4pm Mondays to Saturdays.
The Bo-Kaap, on the slopes of Lion’s Head, is the place where slaves were settled in Cape Town in the 1700s. After the abolition of slavery at the Cape in 1834, most of the slaves continued to live there. And many of today’s residents are direct descendants of these slaves. A walk through the cobblestoned streets of Bo-Kaap is a unique cultural experience - mosques nestle side by side with colorful houses on quaint cobbled streets. These brightly colored Georgian style houses are characteristic of this area of Cape Town, as is the warmth of both the people and their cuisine (Biesmiellah’s on Wale Street: best samoosas in town).
Castle of Good Hope
The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest European building in South Africa and dates back to 1666. But Cape Town has never had to be defended! Construction took about 13 years to complete. The 5 bastions of the castle are Oranje, Buren, Katzenhellenbogen, Leerdam and Nassau. The courtyard houses the Kat Balcony which is the entrance to the excellent William Fehr collection of period furniture and paintings.
The Castle of Good Hope was at the centre of life at the Cape for 150 years, as Cape Town grew as a city. Today it is a military museum with a renowned restaurant and a visitors´ information centre. Concerts and art exhibitions are occasionally staged here: it makes a great venue. If you visit, be sure to drop in on the dungeons where you may be introduced to the resident ghost.
It is visible from as far as 200 km out to sea on clear days and is often covered with cloud called the tablecloth. A revolving cable car carries visitors up and down in about 5 minutes and numerous walking and hiking paths lead up and across Table Mountain. Spectacular views of the city, the Cape peninsula, the coastline and the ocean can be seen from 11 viewpoints on the summit.
Table Mountain is more than a place of dramatic scenic beauty, it is also a place of richly diverse flora. Over 1,470 plant species occur on the mountain, more than in the British Isles. Complimenting this is the fauna such as the Table Mountain Ghost Frog that is found nowhere else in the world. Consider yourself the poorer if you did not see Cape Town from this majestic mountain.
Put against a backdrop of sea and mountain views, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront (V&A), is home to designer label stores, national retailers, boutiques and services, along with a spread of restaurants, coffee shops and fast-food outlets. There are also two cinema complexes and craft markets, offering visitors the best of everything Cape Town and the Western Cape have to offer.
The development of office locations and luxury apartments complements the vibrancy of the V&A. The V&A is a centuries old harbour that remains fully operational. Spend a day or five trawling the Waterfront and you´ll understand why it has been a favourite destination of Capetonians and visitors since its 1992 re-awakening.
Canal Walk Shopping Centre
Canal Walk is situated next to the N1 and is about a 15-minute drive from Cape Town. This is truly a paradise for shoppers, and there is a big variety of shops to go to, but wear comfortable shoes as you will be doing a lot of walking. The shops range from designer stores, to supermarkets, to arts and crafts.
The food court is especially impressive with a huge large screen TV, so your male companions can watch that crucial sport tournament whilst you can go search for perfect gifts for the folks at home. Another great thing about this shopping centre is that you can spend the whole day there, as there is an exciting amusement park called Ratanga Junction, right next door.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
Established in 1895, it's the oldest and largest botanical garden in South Africa and one of the Seven Magnificent Botanical Gardens of the World. This showcase of South Africa's rich floral wealth has an enormous plant collection, roughly 9 000 of the countries' 22 000 species. The beautiful Kirstenbosch gardens cover an area of 528 hectares with 36 hectares of cultivated garden. The gardens are a celebration of South African flora - showcasing only indigenous South African plants. Fynbos, proteas, cycads and rolling lawns are intermingled with streams and ponds and well-laid out pathways for easy walking. A great variety of birds inhabit the gardens and the sweeping views from the upper slopes are spectacular. Whether for a casual stroll, a more strenuous walk or a lazy picnic, the gardens are a must-see when visiting Cape Town.
Cape Town Convention Centre
The pride of Cape Town's business sector and host to all major functions,conferences and exhibitions,