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Travel guide to flights & holidays in Cape Town.


Cape Town Holidays & Travel Guide

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Cape Town Holidays Overview

Cape Town is often called "The Mother City" and is one of the world's most iconic cities. Located close to the Cape of Good Hope, it is South Africa's legislative Capital and a very popular tourist destination. The city is defined by the Table Mountain National Park and there are a number of natural attractions as well as cultivated areas that make Cape Town a scenic place to explore.

The neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap is located downtown and is inhabited by the Muslim slave descendants of South-East Asia. It is one of the most popular attractions in the city because of its many mosques, quaint streets and colourful buildings. It is also home to the Bo-Kaap Museum and offers good food as well as beautiful views of the city.

There are several cultural attractions in Cape Town. The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is perhaps the most visited among these. It is home to the Two Oceans Aquarium as well as hundreds of shops. It is from this location that ferries depart for destinations like the Robben Island, Cape Flats, and out Bay.

Cape Town is known for its impressive architectural heritage. It has the largest number of buildings in the Cape Dutch style in the world. The style combines architectural elements of Indonesia, France, Germany and Netherlands. Constantia in the Central Business District and Long Street are the best places to find these buildings.

Each year the city organizes the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival or Kaapse Klopse festival in January. Minstrel teams parade the streets of the city wearing bright costumes and performing Cape Jazz.

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Cape Town holidays - Top Places To Go

1. Table Mountain
Tafelberg Road
What is it? Cape Town's most popular tourist attraction is also its most famous physical feature, the flat-topped mountain that stands sentinel over the city. Table Mountain has been proclaimed a nature reserve, protecting its diverse floral species, some unique to its slopes. The views from the top of the mountain are quite spectacular. A Swiss-built rotating cable car carries visitors smoothly up the mountain and back. The mountain-top is equipped with a restaurant and small gift shop, as well as numerous pathways and vantage points. It is possible to climb the mountain via different routes, but care should be taken by inexperienced hikers because Cape Town is prone to sudden weather changes. The walk up can take anything between one and four hours depending on the route and level of fitness. Route maps can be bought at the cable-car station. It is always best to check the website or call the weatherline to see if the cable car is in operation. Hours of Operation: Cable car operates daily (weather permitting) every 10-15 minutes from 8.30am to 8pm (November); 8am to 10pm (December to January); 8.30am to 8.30pm (February); 8.30am to 7.30pm (March); 8.30am to 6.30pm (April); 8.30am to 6pm (May to mid-September); 8.30am to 7pm (16 September to October). Closed for annual maintenance in July and August. Phone:021 424 8181 (weatherline) or 021 424 0015



2. Castle of Good Hope
Buitenkant Street, opposite the Grand Parade
What is it? South Africa's oldest building, the Castle was completed in 1679 (replacing an earlier mud and timber fort built by the first Dutch Governor, Jan van Riebeeck). Situated adjacent to a parking lot and bus station in Buitenkant Street, its walls mark the original boundary of the seashore where the waves washed up against the fortifications. Its outside aspect is somewhat foreboding, but inside are some interesting features and collections that have been restored, offering a good insight into the early days of the Cape when it was the centre of social and economic life. The castle is a pentagonal fortification with a moat and five bastions, each named for one of the titles of the Prince of Orange. The entrance is a good example of 17th century Dutch Classicism, and a bell, cast in 1679 by Claude Fremy in Amsterdam, still hangs from the original wood beams in the tower above the entrance. The castle contains a Military Museum depicting the conflicts that arose during the Cape's early settlement, and also houses the William Fehr Collection of decorative arts, including paintings, furniture and porcelain. Of interest are the dungeons, which bear the graffiti carved by prisoners incarcerated here centuries ago. Hours of Operation: Daily 9am to 4pm, with tours at 11am, 12pm and 2pm from Monday to Saturday. Self guided tours are possible with the aid of a map, provided by the Castle Phone:021 787 1249



3. Houses of Parliament
90 Plein Street, city centre (Visitor's entrance)
What is it? East of the tree-lined pedestrian Government Avenue, which runs through the Company Gardens at the top of Adderley Street, lies the complex of Parliamentary buildings, containing numerous chambers, offices and corridors. It was here that the racial segregation policy of Apartheid rose and fell along with the ascendancy of the National Party which made South Africa the political pariah of the world. Visitors can now book a tour of the legislative complex, the original section of which dates back to 1885, a magnificent Victorian Neoclassical building. Worth exploring, too, are the neighbouring Company Gardens that house a range of plants and trees from around the world. Hours of Operation: Tours Monday to Friday 9am to 12pm Phone:021 403 2911, or 021 403 2266 (tours), 021 403 2460 (debates)



Cape Town holidays - Top Events


1. Cape Town Minstrel Carnival

From 2007-01-02

To 2007-01-02

What is it? Every New Year, thousands of minstrels take to the streets in a dazzling display of colourful satin uniforms, shiny parasols, painted faces and foot-tapping banjo tunes that accompany the traditional folk songs, many of Cape Malay origin. The parade is known colloquially as the 'Coon Carnival' ('coon' referring to a member of a minstrel troupe) among the predominately Afrikaans-speaking 'coloured' community who make up the majority of the performers. The traditional event has its origins in the 19th century when minstrel entertainers on American cruise ships stopped off in Cape Town; their sounds and styles were incorporated into the New Year festivals of the newly freed Malay slaves. The Carnival begins in the new year and the festivities continue into January with extravagant street parades; singing, dancing, costume competitions and marches through the streets from the central city area of District Six. Where is it? Streets of Cape Town and Greenpoint Stadium



2. Mother City Queer Project (MCQP) Costume Party

From 2006-12-16

To 2006-12-16

What is it? Now in its 12th year, the 12-hour MCQP party is the biggest annual gay event in South Africa, attracting a diverse crowd of people from around the world. Each year party-goers come in teams dressed according to the theme that changes every year (The Circus in 2005, Comic Strip for 2006). Costumes are usually elaborate, sexy and worn without inhibition, and the event is immensely popular with the gay and straight communities. Different dance arenas play various types of music to party the night away. Where is it? Ratanga Junction



3. The J&B Met

From 2007-01-27

To 2007-01-27

What is it? One of the most prestigious and anticipated events on Cape Town's social calendar, the J&B Met is not only about thoroughbreds, but is a day of glamorous fashion, entertainment and sophistication, accompanied by J&B Scotch Whiskey. The R1.5-million prize money is in keeping with its status as the premier horseracing event in South Africa, and the Official After Party is a highly rated post-race event that continues the festivities well into the early hours. Where is it? Kenilworth Race Course



4. Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts

From 2006-11-27

To 2007-04-02

What is it? Bring family and friends every Sunday afternoon to relax on the lawns with a picnic and a glass of wine as the sun sets behind the mountain, while listening to a mixed selection of classical and contemporary music. The setting provides for one of the most spectacular concert venues in South Africa, the stage framed by the backdrop of Table Mountain and all around the well-kept beds of the Kirstenbosch Gardens. Where is it? Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens



5. Spring wildflowers

From 2006-08-01

To 2006-09-30

What is it? The West Coast National Park incorporates the Langebaan Lagoon and wetland areas, which are the habitat of thousands of migratory and resident waterbirds, a rocky coastline with some beautiful sea views and beaches, and wildlife scattered about the interior bushland. It also encompasses the rocky Postberg Peninsula that is carpeted in a glorious tapestry of wildflowers every spring (open August to September only). Visitors come from near and far to see the spectacularly colourful display that the pre-summer season produces all along the west coast. The small town of Darling is at the centre of the wildflower region; visitors can walk around the surrounding wildflower reserves and real enthusiasts can visit the Darling Wildflower Show (15-17 September 2006), where the extravagant displays include the botanical and common names of all flowers exhibited. Call the Flower Hotline on 083 910 1028 for up-to-date information all year round. Where is it? Postberg Section of the West Coast National Park




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About This Page

Information on Cape Town Holidays, Cape Town Hotels, Holiday Packages in Cape Town (city breaks, short stays, all inclusive and luxury deals). Also provides links and resources to Air Travel, Flights and Cape Town Car Hire Options

Holidays Travel Guide content part sourced rom, copyright Globe Media Ltd. By its very nature much of the information contained in the travel guide is subject to change at short notice. Travellers are urged to verify information on which they're relying with the relevent authorities. We cannot accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to a person as result of information contained above.