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a personal guide

Places to visit in the Cape area

Located on the lower slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch is reputed to be one of the best botanical gardens in the world. There are masses of plants that are native to South Africa (note that this part of South Afica has many species unique to this region), as well as a lake and grassy areas used by the locals for picnics.

Kirstenbosch gardens

botanical gardens

Table Mountain
Take a cable car to the top of Cape Town's most obvious landmark and you will be greeted by one of the most stunning views in the World. The mountain top is a plateau with footpaths clearly marked (there is a short walk and a longer one for those with plenty of time).

View from Table Mountain

South African Museum
We visited this museum in Cape Town after a pleasant walk through Company's Garden from Parliament House. It includes a history of the African people, many stuffed animals and birds, and a planetarium. The gift shop is excellent but expensive; when we visted in 2005 it did not take credit cards. There is a small cafe inside.

Native huts Antelope

Robben Island
A few miles off the coast of Cape Town is Robben Island, the location of the prison that held Nelson Mandella for many years. It is reached by a fast but bumpy journey on a catamaran, and the visit is divided into two: a fascinating coach tour of the island (now a nature reserve) and a walking tour of the prison itself guided by an ex-prisoner. We found it an interesting and very moving day out.

Robben island prisoner

Cape of Good Hope
No visit to the this part of South Africa is complete without a trip to the Cape of Good Hope. It is actually not the most southerly point of Africa (that is at Cape Agulhas). We first went to Cape Point, the accepted meeting place of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. This has plenty of parking space, a good restaurant and souvenir shop, and amazing views. Our coach then took us the Cape of Good Hope itself. This was very windy and there was just enough time to take a souvenir photograph as parking was at a premium.

Cape Point Cape of Good Hope

Boulder Beach
Part way down the Cape Peninsular, this is the place to see Jackass Penguins from a wooden pier that runs across the beach. There is plenty of parking but a fee is charged for access to the beach.

Jackass penguins Jackass penguin

The areas to the north and east of Cape Town are covered in grape vines for this is the wine centre of South Africa. Several wineries offer guided tours, with a brief wine-tasting experience, together with good food.

Barrels of South African wine

More about the Cape area of South Africa


South Africa - a personal guide

South Africa - the Basics

Places to visit in South Africa

South Africa's Western Cape

South Africa's Garden Route

Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

South Africa: Mpumalanga

South Africa: Gauteng

Lesotho, southern Africa

Hotels in South Africa

Shop for books and maps on southern Africa

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