Rising at a height of 1087 meters south of the city center is the Table Mountain with its flat top. It happens to be the most photographed landmark of South Africa. It is a constant reminder that nature is queen in this mesmerizing seaside city. Built from the huge beds of slate and sandstone, the mountain forms the northern end of the Cape Peninsula which is located within the Table Mountain National Park. This park guards an astounding diversity of plants and is a home to over 1470 flower species, making it the world’s richest flower kingdom. It is also a home to a vast variety of animals such as baboons, cute snub-nosed dassies, and caracals. Within the park lies the Devil’s Peak which flanks the mountain on the east as well as Lion’s head on the west. The Twelve Apostles here emerge over the beach resorts on the Atlantic coast.
A vast layer of clouds also known as the tablecloth regularly masks the mountain’s beach however when the clouds are clear, the visitors can relish on the spectacular views of the entire Cape Peninsula and the Cape Town from the summit. No matter which season you come here, you must always bring with you a sweater as it can get really windy on the top. For those who are short on energy and time, hop on the revolving cableway that will take you to the summit covering a total distance of 1244 meters in only 7 minutes. This cableway runs on everyday basis except in the high winds. You must, however, check the website or call to be aware of the current conditions before you head out. In order to avoid huge lines, you must try booking the tickets online. If you head to the cableway’s upper station you’ll come across a café that features a tiny viewing terrace. It is also the starting point of the three short walks that highlight the massive scale of the landscape. Those of you, who wish to summit the mountain on foot can choose from amongst the 350 different routes all of which come with varying difficulty. Depending upon your commencement point, this climb can take anywhere between two to four hours. In order to ensure that you get arresting views of the Table Mountain, you can hike or drive up to the Lion’s Head or the Signal Hill – both of which ensure captivating views from the summit.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens lies in an arresting setting on the eastern slopes of the Table Mountain. They form a part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Cape Floristic Region. The site was entrusted to the state in 1902 by Cecil Rhodes and the gardens were established in the year 1913 with an agenda to preserve the indigenous flora of the country. It was one of the first botanical gardens in the world with this mission. Over 20,000 of the native plant species of South Africa are collected, studied and grown in the hilly 528-hectare nature reserve of primitive fynbos and forests. One thing of particular historical interest is the wild almond trees which were planted in the year 1660 by Jan van Riebeeck. Along with this, there is an avenue of fig and camphor trees that were planted in the year 1898 by Cecil Rhodes. The shrubs, flowers, and trees are arranged in a manner that a show of blossoms, as well as the colour, brightens the garden all across the year. You cannot miss out on the scented garden, proteas, the Botanical Society Conservatory and the Sculpture Garden which are are the prime attractions here. Properly demarcated trails thread through the wooded slopes and the Tree Canopy Walkway offers panoramic views all across the mountain backed gardens. During the summer months, the garden is an evocative venue for all types of outdoor concerts. If you are a garden and a green thumb lover, you definitely must plan a visit to the Company's Garden which is an oasis of exotic flowers, trees, and aviaries. When you are here, you must definitely make a visit to the other tourist attractions such as the Iziko National Gallery and the Iziko South African Museum and Planetarium.
Signal Hill and the Noon Gun
Located just 5 minutes drive west of the city center is the Signal Hill. The hill assures mesmerizing views over the Cape Town, the glistening Atlantic Ocean and the Table Bay from the 350-meter summit. The hill also forms the body of an adjacent Lion’s Head peak that is christened for its historical use during the times when the signal flags were flown here so as to communicate the messages of the approaching ships. A lot of visitors and locals drive up to watch the sunset here. Many even stay here to catch the glimpse of the shimmering lights of the Cape Town that ignite post dark. Every day during the noon time, except on the holidays and Sundays, a cannon is triggered by an electronic impulse from the Observatory that then fires a solo shot. In the early days, the Noon Gun serves detrimental in giving the exact time to the ships which are anchored in the bay. Tourists who come here can also enjoy a free presentation pertaining to the Noon Gun’s history at the Lion Battery. You can even stay back to enjoy the firing session. Those heading towards the top of the hill for the sunset views must carry with them a jacket as it can get really chilly then. If you make a visit during the weekends, you must go early so as to get your preferred parking spot. This hill is the best sightseeing spot in Cape Town.
Clifton and Camps Bay Beaches
Just 6 km from the city center lies the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay which are bound to lure the water buff. At Clifton, Cape Town's St. Tropez, you can find some of the city’s priciest real estate that towers four glistening white sand beaches which are flanked by smooth granite boulders and washed away by the sparkling but crisp blue seas. If you wish to enjoy a good game of volleyball, you can head to the First Beach which offers decent surf during the time when the conditions are right. Located South of the Clifton is the trendy Camp's Bay which sports another beautiful beach backed by the arresting Twelve Apostles as well as the peak of the Lion’s Head. Besides enjoying the abundant water sports, the other important thing to do here is people watching.
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront sprawls around the two harbor basis. It is a bustling entertainment quarter which is reminiscent of the San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. It once used to be the scruffy fishing harbor, however, this reimagined waterfront district is today one of the prime tourist attractions of the Cape Town. A couple of old and ancient buildings have been restored and preserved here. Millions of visitors swamp the area all round the year to the jazz venues, theatres, drama schools, shops, restaurants, museums, hotels, and cinemas. Sports fans can plan a visit to the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum that traces the story of the South African Rugby by way of the interactive exhibits. Another important place to see is the Two Oceans Aquarium which features over 300 species of fish from the Indian Oceans and the Atlantic Ocean.