The Western Cape is home to the port city of Cape Town, perhaps best known for its famous flat-topped Table Mountain. However, the province stretches from the fishing communities of the west coast to the scenic Garden Route on the southern coast, and also extends inland. The Western Cape was the first area to be settled by Europeans, although nowadays it is home to a cosmopolitan mix of languages and cultures.
The city of Cape Town is the legislative capital of South Africa, housing the buildings of Parliament. The city is situated at the foot of Table Mountain, giving it that famous profile at sunset or sunrise. You can access the top of the mountain either by hiking or by making use of the dedicated cableway service. Or you can enjoy a stroll in the historic Company Gardens, established in 1652 as a refreshment station for passing ships (vegetables are no longer grown there!).
Besides a number of significant and interesting museums and galleries, the city also offers a moving tour of Robben Island, the island on which iconic liberation movement leaders such as Nelson Mandela were imprisoned under the apartheid regime. There is also plenty to see and do in the V&A Waterfront, or you can take part in the nightlife in areas such as Long Street (highly recommended) and Sea Point. Tours of the city’s “townships” (informal settlement areas) are also offered. However, as is the case in any city anywhere in the world, you are strongly advised to research any planned trip beforehand, and to be accompanied by a local guide.
Outside of the city, moving north, one finds the internationally recognised winelands area. This area produces fine wines for export, and practically every estate on the map offers tastings, usually without prior booking. There are several small towns in this area that provide accommodation and tours, such as Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl.
On the other hand, if you want to get away from the city, you can also try the Garden Route, which takes you through towns such as Knysna and Cape Agulhas, the latter being the southernmost tip of Africa.
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