Take a Stadium Tour:
With the Football World Cup’s vuvuzelas still ringing in your ear, you’ll want to experience sporting fever in South Africa. The purpose-built Cape Town Stadium played host to quarterfinal and semi-final matches during the world cup and offers hour long tours throughout the year.
However, South Africa’s most established sports are rugby and cricket. Newlands cricket and rugby grounds are both open to visitors. Run out the tunnel onto the turf and imagine the hope of a nation resting on your shoulders.
Haggle for Curios:
If you need to pick up some mementos two very different experiences await you in Cape Town. At the V & A Waterfront there are a host of up market boutique shops alongside the usual high street names and swanky hotels and restaurants. For a more authentic African experience, however, head over to the market at Greenmarket Square. Be prepared to haggle with pushy market vendors but in return there are some wonderful African curios to be had.
Climb a Mountain:
The first attraction on our list is definitely the most photographed of all sites in Cape Town. So much so it dominates nearly every cityscape. Table Mountain is so named because of the 3km flat plateau, which is raised just over 3,500ft above sea level. There are a number of hiking routes to the top, which take around 2.5 hours, however, most tourists opt for the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway which whisks you straight to the summit, giving you more time to get your bearings.
Kirstenbosch – View from the Botanical Gardens
Take a Stroll in the Gardens: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden sits on the slopes of Table Mountain and is one of the most impressive areas of natural beauty in the whole of Cape Town. There are over 700 species of flora to peruse at your leisure, many of which are seriously endangered. The Gardens also run a number of outdoor and indoor art exhibitions throughout the year, so you will be sure to run into some surprising sculptures on your stroll.
Visit a Township:
As you traipse around the tourist spots and western shopping districts it is easy to forget South Africa remains best with serious poverty problems much like its African neighbors. Many of the townships in Cape Town are open to visitors and whilst the notion of slum tourism may appear slightly intrusive, these areas rely on the tourist trade both to bring much needed income and to raise awareness of the serious problems still inherent in South Africa. The Langa Township is serviced by a number of tour operators (Siviwe Tours) and most are run by former residents providing valuable insight into life in the townships.
Get sent to Prison:
After a stomach churning 40-minute ferry journey from the V & A Waterfront you will arrive at Robben Island, famous for being the prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years for his anti-apartheid activities. As well as visiting the prison you can take a tour around the island, which has been designated a World Heritage Site. The Island’s colorful history, explained by well-versed tour guides, includes its use as a leper colony and hospital during the war as well as the island’s unique flora and fauna. Tours run on the hour between 9am – 3pm daily from the Nelson Mandela Gateway.
Dive with Sharks:
So you fancy yourself as a bit of an adrenalin junkie? Well then, tour operators (White Shark Projects) will transport you on the 2hr transfer to Gansbaai where you can get up close with one of the most fearsome animals on the planet…the great white shark. After dangling meat overboard to encourage the animals, intrepid tourists are lowered into the depths.
Underwater you can witness these creatures face to face, just don’t stick your hands outside the cage to get that perfect snap…you’ll lose them. Cage diving is also available at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town but you may be inclined to opt for safely peering through the glass.
South African Wine
Sample some Vino: The Cape’s fertile land and Mediterranean climate began to grow wine as far back as the 17th Century. Day trips to the world-renowned Stellenbosch region are available through a number of tour operators (African Sky) based in Cape Town. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz are amongst the pick of the red wines, which can be washed down with some superb local fare.
Swim with Penguins:
If the thought of coming face to face with vicious predator doesn’t tickle your fancy, you may prefer to take a dip amongst some less intimidating wildlife. At Boulders Bay in Simon’s Town, 35km south of Cape Town, visitors are encouraged to swim amongst African penguins. Watch these birds bob and dive beneath you in their natural habitat.
Head Due South:
Get out of the City and make your way down to the Cape’s most south westerly-point. Visit the well-photographed Old Point lighthouse on foot or via the funicular railway and gaze out onto the vast Southern Ocean…next stop Antarctica. Access to the ruggedly beautiful coastline and Cape Point is R75 per person, approximately 7 British Pounds.