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Two Oceans Aquarium is the largest aquarium in South Africa, housing more than 300 marine species in impressive and informative displays. Watch seals playing underwater or the calm swaying of kelp forests filled with fish. Certified divers can take a dip in the shark tank or kelp bed. An onsite shop sells souvenirs, books, and videos and the Bayfront Blue restaurant serves excellent food.
Guided tours of this national monument take place at the top of the hour daily. The pentagonal building was built by Pieter Dombaer in the shape of a five-pointed star, following a construction system inspired by French military engineer Vauban. The five bastions carry the titles of the Prince of Leerdam; Oranje; Buren; Catzenellenbogen; and Nassau. The bastions housed the military, provided storerooms, prisoner cells and chambers. Come and see the formal changing of the guard at 10:00a and again at noon on weekdays.
A historic public garden, The Company's Garden has seen several changes, much like the city of Cape Town itself, from the time of its original foundation. Originally established by the Dutch in 1652, they used it as a station to supply and stock provisions to ships sailing to the East. Maintained by the Dutch East India Company till 1795, when the garden fell into ruins as the company dissolved into bankruptcy. Following years saw further changes by the British and finally, it was taken over by the Municipality in 1892 and opened to the public six years later. Due to its historic nature, as well as the natural beauty, the gardens are a major cultural landmark as they house institutions like the Parliament Houses, Iziko Museum, Great Synagogue and Tuynhuys amongst others. A lovely place to spend a day visiting the sites, or just relaxing amongst the greenery. Kids will love the lovely pond and aviary and the local crafts along the main avenue.
The first Table Mountain cableway was opened on 4 October 1929. Since that date over eleven million people have used the service, and it's still extremely popular today. The circulating cableway provides spectacular views, offering a leisurely panorama of the city and surrounds. It's well worth the trip, but not for the nervous or vertigo-sufferers. If you're feeling adventurous, you could take the cable car to the summit and then hike down Table Mountain using one of the 550 established routes.
Clifton has a series of four beautiful beaches, separated by rocky outcrops. Although linked, each beach has its own character and atmosphere. Fourth Beach is largely considered to be the most fashionable beach in Cape Town and is often packed with beautiful bronzed bodies. The others are far more casual and usually less crowded. Each is sheltered from the south-easterly wind, unlike the nearby Camps Bay Beach, which makes them a popular hangout for lazy sun-worshippers. Swimming tends to be limited to quick cooling dips since the icy temperature of the Atlantic is enough to take your breath away.
This majestic sandstone mountain is undoubtedly Cape Town's most well known and well loved landmark. Its flat "table top" stretches for three kilometers and is flanked by Devil's Peak on one side and Lion's Head on the other. When a south-easterly wind blows, the top is obscured by a large white tablecloth of cloud that pours over its steep northern face. At other times when the skies are cloudless, the flat topography of the mountain can be viewed in its best form, glinting proudly against the morning sun. The Table Mountain Reserve is home to an impressive range of indigenous flora, including many endemic species, and is also home to the incredibly rare Ghost Frog, an amphibian only spotted in South Africa's mountain streams. Raptors like jackal buzzards, African harrier-hawks and rock kestrels can be seen circling the skies above the mountain. The mountain is a treat for hikers, climbers and amblers with over 550 well-established paths along its magnificent stretch. The table's Aerial Cableway gives a single rotation on the five-minute ascent/descent, giving passengers a sweeping view of the gorgeous scenery below.
Camps Bay Beach is a broad stretch of palm tree-lined white sand bordering the bracing waters of the Atlantic ocean. Set at the foot of a spectacular series of mountain peaks, the Twelve Apostles, yet only 10 minutes from the city center by car, it is one of Cape Town's most popular beaches. It is not a sheltered beach, so if the wind is blowing it is advisable to head for Clifton, another breath-taking and more secluded beach just around the corner. The beachside road has a festive atmosphere with a good variety of cafes and restaurants offering great sea views.
Set in beautiful surroundings on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, this magnificent 538-hectare (1329.43 acre) garden features a rich diversity of indigenous South African plants. The lower portion of Kirstenbosch consists of large flowerbeds and expansive lawns while higher up the slopes, the cultivated garden gives way to natural forest and fynbos. At the main entrance, an impressive conservatory houses a wide variety of plants from other climatic regions of South Africa. There is a restaurant, an information desk and a great shop. Come summertime, the gardens host the annual, magical Sunset Concerts. The gardens also have their own Stone Cottage which can be hired for various events like lectures, meeting and such other events. The cottage can accommodate about 60 people and has a self-catering service.
Between the 17th and 20th Centuries, Robben Island was synonymous with isolation, variously used as a prison, leper colony and asylum. Through the course of its history, this small island off the coast of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa was also employed as a post office, military outpost and port for ships visiting Table Bay. However, the island is most renowned as the site of the maximum security prison for political prisoners opened in 1961 to detain the leaders of the anti-apartheid revolution. The most notable of the island's inmates is Nobel Laureate and former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who spent 18 years of his 27-year sentence at Robben Island. Other former inmates include Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma, both of whom went on to be elected presidents of the country following the fall of apartheid in 1990. Robben Island is now a museum that preserves the legacy of the island; a symbol of the triumph of democracy over racism, inequality and discrimination. Besides the imposing edifice of the maximum security prison, the island also encompasses the crumbling ruins of the military fort, the lepers’ church, a small lighthouse and the tomb of Hadije Kramat - a place of pilgrimage. A World Heritage Site, Robben Island attracts thousands of visitors each year. Guided tours are led by former inmates who offer a rare glimpse into the lives of those incarcerated at Robben Island.
Enjoy viewing over 3,000 birds of all kinds; seen in walk-through aviaries, while the Magic Forest of tropical plants, birds and monkeys will captivate and enthuse children of all ages. The daily feeding of the Pelicans, Penguins, birds of prey and the special Black Eagle are events not to be missed. Other animals, such as Meerkats and Leguwaans make this a place of great interest to children. There is a café, which serves breakfast, light lunches and tea and coffee, as well as a curio shop with bird paraphernalia.
This must-see, Atlantic Seaboard drive connects Hout Bay and Noordhoek. For a small toll fee, you can enjoy 9 kilometers of gorgeous views of Hout Bay, stunning mountain peaks, and beautiful landscape. Along the road, you will find many places to pull off and enjoy a picnic or sunset. As you climb the road at 593 meters, you reach an amazing point which is well worth a pause. Breathtaking 180-degree views are on full display as you drive around the many bends in the road. The road has been extensively repaired and connects Hout Bay to a number of other enjoyable attractions such as Simon's Town and Cape Point. It's the perfect drive to get away from the shops and hustle of Cape Town.
These rocks are named after the rounded boulders which shelter a beautiful swimming beach from the mischievous south-easterly winds. A part of Table Mountain National Park, Boulders Beach gives a unique opportunity to swim with Jackass (African) penguins. You'll find the main penguin colony at Foxy Beach next to the swimming beach where there is an attractive boardwalk. The friendly park staff will be happy to answer any questions. Although these penguins are among the most human-tolerant in the world, they can inflict a severe bite if their space is invaded, or they feel threatened. It is safe to maintain a safe distance of at least a meter between them and yourself. You'll be able to see a variety of other birds at Boulders. These include the African Black Oyster-catcher and the Crowned Cormorant plus numerous species of smaller birds.