Colorful Cape Town is one of the most multi-racialcities in the world.
The city sits on South Africa’s Cape Peninsula, where the waters of the Atlanticand Indian Oceans converge, and spectacular mountains tumble towards the sea.
For centuries, the Cape of Good Hopewas synonymous with danger, as European ships bravely rounded the perilouswaters on route to the riches of Asia.
To resupply those passing ships, the Dutch created a tiny outpost in 1652, a settlement that would blossom into one ofthe most beautiful cities, in one of the most breathtaking settingson earth.
For decades, Cape Town has been buffeted too, by the cross-winds of social upheaval.
But just like those early ships, Cape Town had endured some of history’smost turbulent waters, and set course to an optimistic future.
This is a city that despite its challenges, shines as an example of hope, not only to South Africa, but to the world.
Cape Town’s central area is situated in the City Bowl.
This amphitheater-shaped area beginsat the edge of Table Bay and is backed by the iconic two-mile longplateau of Table Mountain.
Near the bowl’s center, you’ll find The Castle of Good Hope.
This Dutch East India fort was the centerpoint from which the city grew.
Nearby, visit Company’s Garden, whose rich soils were cultivated to providefresh produce for those early merchant ships.
All around the gardens, some of the city’s most important institutionssprang up, such as the Parliament Building, and the National Library.
On the park’s southern end, in the South African Museum and Planetarium, experience the wonders of Africa, from the power of pre-colonial rock artto the giants of The Cape’s natural world.
While just a few steps away, centuries of creativity are on full displayat the National Gallery.
Fusing both contemporary and old-world architecture, the nearby South African Jewish Museum standsas a tribute to a community that has done much to shape the country.
Just a few blocks away, don’t missthe District Six Museum.
This museum and cultural center gives voiceto the 60, 000 non-white residents who were forcibly removed from the city andsaw their vibrant multi-racial neighborhood flattened during the darkest days of the Apartheid Era.
Thankfully, one neighborhood that was spared from apartheid’s wrecking ball, is Bo-Kaap.
Despite decades of racial segregation, traditional Cape Malay culture proudly continuesamid the row houses and cobbled streets of this incredibly colorful hillside suburb.
Post-apartheid South Africa is often calledThe Rainbow Nation, and like a pot of gold at the end ofthat rainbow, diversity, transformation and creativity shines out fromthe city’s downtown streets, from it’s businesses, from it’s very walls.
If you’re passionate about coffee, stop by for an espresso, or maybe two, at Truth, a steampunk coffee shop that welcomes devoteesfrom all over the world.
Once you’ve had your caffeine fix, wander along Long Street, where elegant Victorian architecture, fashion, and food collide, creating one of The Mother City’sbuzziest streets.
When the coffee wears off, sit on a balcony with an ice-cold beer andwatch the world slip by below.
The spirit of rejuvenation continues at theVictoria and Alfred Waterfront.
At South Africa’s oldest working harbor, spend the day exploring attractions, such as Two Oceans Aquarium, which celebrateslife beneath the waves of both the Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.
The waterfront is also the gateway to one of the world’s most infamous prisons, Robben Island.
Journey across the waters of Table Bay toexperience the damp prison walls and windswept yards, and to listen to stories toldby former inmates.
For three centuries this was a place of exile, largely unknown by the outside world, until 1964 when the anti-apartheid revolutionary, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned here for 18 years.
A visit here is a reminder of just how farSouth Africa has travelled on the long road to freedom.
Mandela would one day rise, to become more than South Africa’s firstblack president…he became the father of the nation, and inspired countless millions around the world.
Mandela once said that it was the presence of Table Mountain, across those four miles of water, that inspired him throughout his long yearson Robben Island.
Wherever you are on the Cape, Table Mountain is there, a beloved landmark that helps locals andvisitors alike to find their way.
The closer you get to the mists of Table Mountain, the more its spirit can be felt.
At Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, gaze up at the mountain’s eastern face, then explore South Africa’s many biomesand the Boomslang walkway which snakes its way through the arboretum canopy.
From the gardens, take one of the walking trailsup the mountain, or climb aboard the Cableway forthe spectacular ride to the viewing area.
From here, take in the views of Signal Hill, Devil’sPeak, and Lions Head, all the way out to Robben Island and beyond.
Cape Town is one of the world’s great beach cities, with countless beaches, baysand seaside communities, each with its own unique vibe.
From Green Point, the site of Cape Town’sfuturistic stadium, head down the western coast of the Cape Peninsulato one incredible beach after another.
Starting at the city center, the wide promenade of Milton Beach is a greatplace to stretch your legs.
A little further south in Clifton, some of the country’s most expensive homes spill downfrom the peninsula to the four beaches below, each one separated by falls of granite boulderswhich offer great shelter on windy days.
While a house at Clifton will set you backmillions, the views of the sparkling Atlantic, Lions Head, and The Twelve Apostles are just as they’ve always been, free.
At neighboring Camps Bay Beachthe St Tropez theme continues.
Just a 5-minute drive from the center ofCape Town, enjoy fine white sands, a tranquil tidal pool and your pick of over20 restaurants and cafés.
Six miles down the coast, things mellow out even more, at Llandudno Beach.
Pull on a wetsuit and enjoy the waves, orjust explore the massive granite boulders.
Life is simple here, there’s no street lights, no restaurants, and not a single shop.
When your belly starts to grumble, pop around the headland to the fishing village of Hout Bay.
Cool off with a craft beer, see what’s cooking at the markets, then hang out with locals down by thetuna and crayfish boats.
Once you’ve explored the peninsula's western coastline, the eastern side awaits.
Welcome to False Bay, where the waters are warmer, and the never-ending sweep of beaches andscenic seaports continues.
At the naval port of Simon’s Town, head down the “historic mile” of St.
Soak up the nautical spirit, say hello toa much-loved sea dog, and explore the alleyways and lacey Victorianbuildings along the way.
Don’t leave Simon’s Town until you’ve visitedBoulders Beach, one of the few places in the world where youcan get close to endangered African Penguins.
False Bay was once dotted with humble farming and whaling villages, like Fish Hoek.
From here, follow the coastal walk aroundto Kalk Bay, where writers, musicians and artists have replaced the whalersand lime burners of yesteryear.
Thankfully, the bay’s fishing boats stillput out to sea, ensuring the local restaurants are alwayswell-stocked with the freshest seafood.
When it comes time to drag yourself away, head to neighboring St James, known for its colorful Victorian bathing boxesand grand old houses which reflect the splendor of the early diamondand gold-mining era.
Right next door, the mood changes again, at Muizenberg, home to some of the most laid-back vibes inSouth Africa.
With its warm, shallow waterit’s the perfect beach for families.
And if you’ve ever wanted to surf, this is the place to learn! Muizies is after all, the birthplace of South African surfing.
While the beach at Muizies can get packedin summer, you’ll find plenty of cool escapes in thestreets of this arty village.
From here, over 12 miles of fine sands stretch all the way around to historic Gordon’s Bay.
Just around the corner at Kogel Bay, the only sounds you’ll hear are the pebblesand shells rolling in with the incoming tide.
Cape Town’s riches don’t end with its beaches, it’s also blessed with some of the bestwine growing country in the world.
The Cape’s first vines were planted in Company’s Gardens in 1655 to help those passing sailors ward off scurvy.
But the roots of the nation’s winemaking industryreally took hold just twenty minutes drive away, in the suburb of Constantia.
In the late 1600s, hundreds of vineswere planted here, along with rows of oaks to shield them fromthe harsh Cape winds.
From here those vines spread, far beyond Cape Town, into a region now knownas The Winelands.
Choose from 18 different wine routes centeredaround historic villages and towns, and discover vast vineyards in settings thatwill take your breath away.
Many of the estates are characterized by historicCape Dutch-style manors, as well as restaurants and tasting rooms where you can savor the very essence of this fertile land.
After touring the acclaimed wineries of Paarl, such as Laborie, and Vrede en Lust, explore the streets and architecture of this300-year-old town.
High above Paarl stands the Taal Monument, which celebrates the Language of Afrikaans, a language that was forbidden during the bitteraftermath of the Anglo-Boer War in 1902.
The Stellenbosch Wine Route, South Africa's oldest, offers more than 150 tasting rooms across200 vineyards.
At the Waterford Estate take a 2-hour winesafari through the Bordeaux-inspired estate, then taste some of the most exciting new redsin the region.
Just a 30 minute drive from Stellenbosch, and only 50 from Cape Town, is perhaps the most beautiful wine routeof them all, the Franschhoek Wine Route.
Fleeing religious persecutionin 17th century Europe, 200 French Huguenots, came to this valley, and created paradise.
Today, Franschhoek is considered the foodand wine capital of South Africa.
At Boschendal, one of the country’s veryfirst estates, the influence, style and passion of the Frenchis everywhere.
It also lingers in the town itself, in the galleries, the museums, and in the memorial, which depicts a female figure casting offthe cloak of oppression and gazing towards an optimistic future.
Before you head back to Cape Town, head up Franschhoek Pass, one of the Cape’s most scenic drives.
High in the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, soak up the views of the valley below, and wander hillsides filled with proteas, a flower first discovered on the Cape andnow cultivated all over the world.
In local tradition, the Protea represents transformation, courage and hope.
Cape Town is a city which shares the same soil, so it’s not surprising that it embodiesthose same qualities too.
But Cape Town is more than just a single flower, it’s a garden.
From it’s earliest days as a resupply stationfor passing sailors, through the bitter harvests of the Apartheid era, this is a garden where hands of every colorhave planted seeds of hope, and have held the fruits of freedom.
So come, and savor the colors, hope and freedom, of Cape Town.