Cape Town is the best city to travel to in Africa, according to Travel plus Leisure. The latest World’s Best Awards ranks Cape Town as first in Africa and the Middle East. If you’re looking for a place that offers stunning nature, interesting history, awesome adventure, great food and wine, and some of the most exciting wildlife in the world, Cape Town is the place to be.
The rich history of South Africa lies in Cape Town’s Robben Island, where the most famous civil rights activist and former president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. This historical site is a must-see. Used as a criminal prison by the Dutch, Robben Island became a prison used by the apartheid-era South African government to lock up civil and political activists who opposed the government. Walking through the compound you can visit the cell where Mandela spent 18 years of his life. Walking outside the compound gives you a view of the iconic skyline of Cape Town, ominously out of reach. The trip to this magical island is extremely breathtaking.
Adventure is part of the very DNA of this city. You can surf, hike and paraglide off mountains in one single day, and if you’re really, really brave you can go cage diving with great white sharks. Head out to Birkenhead Peninsula and you’ll find many companies eager to take you out to safely view one of the largest marine predators on the planet. When cage diving with Great White Sharks isn’t enough, take a drive to Tsitsikamma National Park where you’ll find many more opportunities to cross off your bucket list. Bungee jump off Bloukrans Bridge, the 4th tallest bungee jump in the world, then do a spot of kayaking, scuba diving or mountain biking in the park.
The stunning nature comes from the most famous landmark, Table Mountain. At almost any location in or around Cape Town, you only have to look up to see the magnificent Table Mountain. At 1100 m tall, it dominates the horizon around the city. If you ever get tired of seeing it from below, head on up the mountain to see the vista from a different perspective. You can jump on the cable cars to enjoy an easy glide up or take one of a few different trails ranging from 3-10 km that lead up to the top.
Want to see the big five? The Garden Route Game Lodge is a great place to spot the famous Big 5: the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and the rhinoceros. Jump in the back of a game drive car and get your binoculars and cameras out for a beautiful sunset safari. Sunrise safaris are wonderful too, especially if you stay overnight and take advantage of the early hours of the day when lions and other big predators are at their most active.
For world class dining, the Garden Route is arguably one of the most iconic and idyllic places in the world to sample outstanding wines and eat outstanding food. And it’s easily accessible from the city. It’s here that you’ll find South Africa’s best and most famous wine growing regions and vineyards, including Stellenbosch, Constantia and Paarl. For a great dining experience, make a short trek to the Hout Bay Market on a weekend to check out a bustling marketplace with local vendors and eat oysters the size of your head. There you’ll find endless types of artisan foods, including hearty meats cooked on a braai, cured biltong, fire-baked pizzas, gigantic oysters and plenty of other fresh seafood. It’s also a bit of a shopping mecca, with art, clothes and jewelry being sold by local artisans.