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Africa » South Africa » Cape Town

Cape Town glistens at the southern toe of the African continent. Tourist brochure-views at Blaauwberg Beach and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens are within easy driving distance of "The Mother City." The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve provides sweeping sea vistas, hiking trails and wildlife encounters. On a more somber note, travelers can visit Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years.

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Cape Town is the second-most populated city in South Africa after Johannesburg, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality. The city is famous for its harbour as well as its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom, as well as for such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is also Africa's most popular tourist destination.


Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town was originally developed by the Dutch East India Company as a victualling (supply) station for Dutch ships sailing to Eastern Africa, India, and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck's arrival on 6 April 1652 established the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town quickly outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony. Until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the development of Johannesburg, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa. Today it is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa. As of 2011 the metropolitan region had an estimated population of 3.74 million.




The Cape Peninsula has a Mediterranean-type climate with well-defined seasons. In the winter months, May through August, cold fronts sweep across the Atlantic and bombard the Peninsula with rain and the north-west gales - an apt reminder of why the early explorers referred to it as the Cape of Storms. The winters are cool with an average minimum temperature of about 7° C. Most of the rainfall occurs in winter, but due to the topography the rainfall varies quite dramatically.


In the valleys and coastal plains it averages 500mm per year, while in the mountainous areas it can average as much as 1500mm a year.Winter is nonetheless a particularly beautiful time at the Cape as the vegetation regains its verdure and water pours from the mountain chain’s waterfalls, rivulets and ravines. Summer, on the other hand, is warm and dry. During these months - November through February - the Peninsula is exposed to the strong (sometimes gale force) , relentless South-East wind known locally as the Cape Doctor because it blows away pollution and cleans the air. The south-easter is caused by the South Atlantic high pressure cell which sits off the southern tip of Africa over this period, resulting in the many clear, sun-filled days which visitors find so appealing. Summer temperatures are relatively comfortable with the average maximum around 26° C.




South Africa can be said to have a significant "eating out" culture. While there are some restaurants that specialize in traditional South African dishes or modern interpretations there of, restaurants featuring other cuisines such as Moroccan, Chinese, West African, Congolese and Japanese can be found in all of the major cities and many of the larger towns. In addition, there are also a large number of home-grown chain restaurants, such as Spur and Dulce Cafe.


There is also a proliferation of fast food restaurants in South Africa. While some international players such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Wimpy are active in the country, they face stiff competition from local chains such as Nando's, Steers, Chicken Licken, Barcelos, and King Pie. Many of the restaurant chains originating from South-Africa have also expanded successfully outside the borders of the country.



Nightlife in Cape Town

·   A night at the Assembly: One of Cape Town’s leading live and recorded music venues

·   East Side nightlife: An overview of bars and clubs in Cape Town’s East Side

·   Cape Town’s Camps Bay nightlife: The Mother City’s answer to Brazil’s Copacabana

·   The Dragon Room: Clubbing for the discerning socialite

·   Shimmy Beach Club: Shimmy on down to the V&A Waterfront’s first beachside club

·   Richard's Supper Stage presents "Kaapse Stories": A musical history experience about Cape Town  and her people.

·   A Maverick's night out in Cape Town: Here’s one for the men and the ladies

·   The Reserve club in Cape Town: Banking on a night out with the city’s elite

·   The Loop Club: Cape Town's newest nightclub

·   Chukkachurri Bar: An Argentinian polo bar in the heart of Green Point

·   Club 31 in Cape Town: Formerly Hemisphere, Club 31 carrries on the legacy of sky-high, mid-air skyscraper parties

·   Decodance: An alternative dance club with a difference

·   Beerhouse in Cape Town: The soon-to-be home of the biggest mix of beers in the Mother City

·   East Side nightlife: An overview of bars and clubs in Cape Town’s East Side

·   Get crafty at Brewers &Union: Real beer, delicious food, and live music

·   Lionshead Bar in Cape Town: Meet the new city centre pub roaring onto the buzzing Bree   Street bar scene

·   rphanage Cocktail Emporium on Bree: Please sir, could I have a martini?

·   The Dragon Room: Clubbing for the discerning socialite

·   Game, set and match at Tommy's Sports Bar: Expect big screens, big beers and big gees at  this Cape Town city centre   watering hole

·   Five top rooftop bars in Cape Town: The views are to-die-for and the cocktails can be deadly

·   Tjing Tjing Rooftop Bar: The bar upstairs from Dear Me, and the restaurant downstairs from Tjing Tjing

·   Long Street Café: The art of New York cool in the heart of Cape Town