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Church Street is where you can find the AVA art gallery. It is most likely the one of the oldest not-for-profit galleries of the city and is dedicated to developing the contemporary visual art scene of South Africa. AVA regularly hosts month long exhibitions that showcase performances, paintings, installations, ceramics, and photographs. The gallery has roots that go back all the way to the year 1850 and their presence has definitely shaped the art of the city.
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.
A visit to one of the shows held at the domed theater inside the building of South African Museum would take you through a celestial journey of the wonder that is the universe. It is equipped with projectors and the Minolta star machine to recreate the clear night sky so as to easily and effectively educate the audience about various phenomena of astronomy and geology. Perfect place for educational trips, call or visit their website for group discounts and more.
This is the oldest part of Cape Town's harbor, dating back to 1860. Although still a working harbor, it has transformed into one of Cape Town's prime attractions. Restaurants, bars and cafes abound, and if it's shopping you are after, then its 240 stores, of all descriptions, are sure to please you. The Two Oceans Aquarium is South Africa's largest, housing 300 marine species. Even if you are in Cape Town just for a brief duration, definitely consider giving this place a visit.
Begun as a small collection of 45 paintings in 1871, the Iziko South African National Gallery originally showcased work by early 20th-century British artists. Beginning in the 1980s, however, the increasing emergence of impressive and significant art from South African artists caused the museum to begin to shift its acquisition policies. This lead in 1990 to a complete redefinition of the institution's purpose, which now celebrates vital examples of artistic expression from all over the African continent as well as European art, with a particular focus on the Southern African regions. Featuring such genres as painting, photography, textiles, sculpture, and bead-work, the National Gallery represents the pinnacle of indigenous artistic achievement.
The South African Museum is situated at the top of Queen Victoria Street within the peaceful Company's Gardens. The museum exhibits the largest collection of meteorites in the country, and incredible life-like reproductions of animals, of which fossilized remains were discovered in the Karoo semi-desert. There is also a whale skeleton, some members of the aquatic world, and other specimen of flora. Adjoining the museum is the Planetarium, whose projectors replicate the heavens and illuminate the constellations over a 26,000 year time span. Shows and talks are given regularly.
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.
The Table Mountain National Park was demarcated as a protected zone in 1998. The Table Mountain is populated by a rare form of shrubland known as Fynbos. The South African National Park is also a part of UNESCO’s Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site. Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope are the two famous landmarks of the area. The park is home to a vibrant variety of wildlife, especially larger animals like leopards, black rhinoceros and bontebok.
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.