The Cape Town city centre reflects the essence of the “Mother City” of South Africa. It is an exotic blend of diversity of culture and historical influences. During the day, the City is a hub of activity. But at night it really comes alive.
Developed in South Africa’s oldest working harbour, the extensive Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is ideal for residential, commercial and leisure use. Most importantly for Cape Town, each year it attracts more than 24 million visitors from all over the world.
For this reason, it is home to over 450 retail outlets. These include fashion, homeware and curios, jewellery, leather goods, cameras, casual eateries and exclusive restaurants.
An additional attraction for visitors is that the Waterfront still forms part of the wider working harbour. Not only do fishing boats bring in loads of fresh fish but large ocean liners and container ships are towed to their berths by tugboats, providing an ever-changing scene of great interest.
Prince Alfred, second son of Queen Victoria, visited the Cape Colony harbour in 1860 as a sixteen-year-old Royal Navy Midshipman on HMS Euryalus. Cape Town named the first basin of the new Navy Yard after him and the second after his mother. He laid the foundation for the breakwater by tipping the first truckload of stone. In 1870 he returned, as the Duke of Edinburgh, for the official opening of the new Alfred Basin.
Looming over the city bowl, Table Mountain is an incredible sight – especially when its famous ‘table cloth’ of cloud pours over it in summer. Just over one thousand metres high, it is flanked by Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head. Table Mountain itself is home to more than half of the Cape Peninsula’s 2 600 species of indigenous plants. Now being one of the ‘New Seven Natural Wonders of the World’, thousands of visitors visit it every year.
A short cable car ride to the summit affords you breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, ocean, beaches, the City of Cape Town and Table Bay. At the top there are several viewpoints, a restaurant and a shop.
Many visitors climb the trail up to the summit of Lion’s Head, while others prefer to view the sights from Signal Hill. For the brave, there’s the thrill of tandem hang gliding off Signal Hill.