Exploring Tourism in South Africa
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Western Cape

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town History

Cape Town was originally home to the Khoi and San, nomads who made a living on hunting and gathering. In 1487 the explorer Bartholomew Dias set sail from Portugal around the southern tip of Africa to find a sea route to the riches of the East.

  • After enduring terrible storms on the east coast of Cape Town, Dias named the area the Cape of Storms
  • He later renamed it the Cape of Good Hope to please the king of Portugal, as rounding the Cape provided hope of a sea route to the East
  • The English Explorer Sir Francis Drake fondly referred to the Cape as “The fairest Cape in all the circumference of the world"

Since then, the Cape of Good Hope has been an important landmark for mariners and Table Bay at the foot of the majestic Table Mountain became a haven where seafarers could seek shelter and take aboard fresh supplies of water and meat bartered from the local inhabitants.


Cape Town Tourist Attraction

  • Today Cape Town is one of the top tourist destinations in the world
  • Voted Favourite Foreign City by the UK Telegraph in 2004
  • And is the only city in the world situated on the Indian and Atlantic Oceans


Few cities completely fulfil even the most wildly optimistic expectations of a visitor as Cape Town does. With plenty of places to shop from internationally branded stores, to local and even informal stalls on the side of a pavement, Cape Town is a shopper’s dream.

And if it’s the food you’re after, Cape Town has an eclectic mix of local African food, Cape Malay dishes and specialised restaurants serving international cuisine.

Activities range from indoor to outdoor and even below the waterline! December is the best time to visit as it is in the heart of summer, but with all the attractions and activities to do in and around Cape Town, any time of the year is a good time.


Things to do in Cape Town

  • Relax on the white sandy beaches of Camps Bay or Clifton
  • Cruise on a boat from the V&A Waterfront harbour to Robben Island
  • Watch the sunset at the Sea Point Promenade
  • See the South African national flower, the King Protea at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
  • View over 3 000 marine life at the Two Oceans Aquarium or even go cage diving with the sharks
  • Visit Mount Nelson Hotel for their world famous High Teas
  • Hop on the Table Mountain cableway and enjoying the panoramic view of the city from the top


There are also plenty of historical buildings and museums outlining the city's fascinating history and its many cultures. With all this and so much more it’s easy to see why Cape Town is so loved by locals and tourists alike.


Local Cuisine

The term “rainbow nation” also applies to the kaleidoscope of foods that one can find in South Africa - the country boasts the most extraordinary range of cuisines.
For the more daring diner, South Africa offers culinary challenges from crocodile sirloins to fried caterpillars to chicken feet and sheep heads. For the not-quite so brave,
there are myriad indigenous delicacies such as biltong (dried, salted meat), bobotie (a much-improved version of Shepherd's pie) and boerewors (hand-made farm sausages, grilled on an open flame).


There are varieties of biltong in almost every café. On weekends one can smell the tantalising aromas of spicy sosaties (meat skewered on a stick) and boerewors being grilled over the braai (fire). Steak houses may specialise in flame-grilled aged steaks, but they also offer the humble boerewors as a dish.

Potjiekos is a delicious slowly cooked meat and vegetable stew, which is traditionally cooked over an open fire. Mielie Pap is a stiff corn meal mix and is a staple food in South Africa.


In smarter restaurants one might find the occasional fusion dish such as marinated ostrich carpaccio, oxtail ravioli or even Tandoori crocodile. There is crocodile on the menu and kudu, impala, even warthog at a number of restaurants that offer game.

For those who prefer to play it altogether safe will find that most restaurants offer a global menu - anything from hamburgers to sushi to spaghetti bolognaise.


Those in search of authentic South African cuisine can try restaurants like Marco’s African Place situated at 15 Rose Street in the Bo-Kaap, the Gold Restaurant situated within the Gold Museum, 96 Strand Street, Mama Africa Restaurant and Bar situated at 178 Long Street and Nyoni’s Kraal situated at 98 Long Street.

Visitors with a sweet tooth should try Malva pudding, a traditional soft sponge cake served with custard, perhaps try the Milktart with tea or sample a sticky koeksuster – a treat with a twist.


Interesting facts:
Malay slaves, brought into the Cape from Java, also brought their cuisine, perhaps the best-known of all South African cooking styles.

South Africa is the only country in the world where you can order something called monkey gland steak at a restaurant without the risk of a real internal organ being placed before you. It was invented many decades ago by overseas chefs as a pointed insult, aimed at the brash inhabitants of Johannesburg who poured Worcestershire and tomato sauce over everything.

No other country eats as much kingklip (fish) as South Africans do (also known as Congrio, Ling and Rockling in other parts of the southern hemisphere).

The Dom Pedro is a uniquely South African dessert. This popular dessert which is found on most SA menu’s is made by blending vanilla ice cream with a liquor of your choice - usually whiskey or Kahlua. An indulgent adult milkshake!

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