The Cape has many well known travel destinations, including Cape Point, Table Mountain and Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. Little known areas can, however, sometimes hold hidden treasures to see and activities to do that you won’t want to miss during your stay. A few of these unique destinations are listed below. More details on the following locations are provided below.
- Bo Kaap
- Camps Bay Beach
- Company Gardens
- Greenmarket Square
- Mount Nelson
- Noonday Gun
- Robben Island
1. Bo Kaap: Colorful pink, yellow and green houses line the cobbled streets of this historic district. With prayerful mosques and the wafting scent of home cooking throughout, the quaint district of Bo Kaap calls one and all into its family community.
Many of the locals of Bo Kaap are descended of slaves from Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Their ancestors were captured in the 17th and 18th centuries. Christians and Muslims live together in Bo Kaap, though it is predominantly Muslim.
2. Camps Bay Beach: The Miami of Africa – the Atlantic Seaboard which is the stretch of coastline between the CBD and Cape Point, specifically the section from Camps Bay to Llandudno – is the arguably the trendiest area in South Africa. With its palm-tree lined, white sandy beach, Camps Bay is best known of the string of exquisite beaches renowned for champagne-cold aquamarine seas and beautiful bodies. Funky wine bars, bistros, luxury hotels and cafes spill out onto the pavements of the beachside road. Sipping sundowners here is the perfect end to a Cape Town summer’s day.
3. Company Gardens: These historic gardens offer a tranquil place for walking, sitting on the bench, or hiking through the paths that wander through the leafy green vegetation.
One can enjoy the local wildlife, enjoy a dance from one of the street performers, or just wander around enjoying the beautiful scent of the rose garden below the Iziko National Museum.
4. Greenmarket Square. In 2010, Greenmarket Square will turn 300! Its rich historic ambiance offers a large bustling flea market and Cape businesses.
A multi-million dollar rejuvenation project has helped to bring contemporary charm to this area that once housed slave markets. The efforts are designed to rejuvenate the area into a social and cultural hub.
Wandering the area offers you a wide selection of African curios, including bead and wireworks, clothing, books and music.
You can also enjoy the open air at one of the trendy cafes or just sit back and enjoy the morning watching the world go by.
5. Mount Nelson. Fresh smoked salmon, pastrami and cucumber sandwiches are among the delightful tastes available at Mount Nelson. Also try jam and cream, tea cakes or petit fours. Wash it all down with some Rooibos, Lapsang Souchong, Darjeeling, and Earl Grey or Green tea in the garden of the world-renowned hotel at Table Mountain.
Many influential figures still rate tea at the Mount Nelson, to be the best in the world.
Past guests at the Mount Nelson Hotel include Winston Churchill, who stayed here as a journalist, whilst covering the Boer War.
6. Noonday Gun. At 12:00 noon each and every day in Cape Town you will hear the sound of the noonday gun on Signal Hill. Historically, the signal announced the arrival of ships in the harbor at Cape Town. Today, it announces the arrival of yet another glorious afternoon in the Mother City.
7. Robben Island. Although you may have already heard of Robben Island, you may not be aware that before Nelson Mandela became the nation’s President, he was incarcerated here for 27 years!
You can visit the island by traveling 30 minutes by ferry. Once arrived you will be escorted by former political prisoners of the island. Not only is the island of historic significance, it also offers some of the most unique scenery around. This is a must-see for any Cape Town visit.
In addition to the amazing locations you see while here, there are a few attractions you should also seek out.
First is the Table Cloth. The well known Table Mountain is the source of the wondrous site known as the Table Cloth. On days where blankets of clouds cover the top-most flat of the mountain, mists form lacey tendrils that seem to melt down to the ground. The spectacular site makes up the “cloth” that covers the mountain, hence the name, Table Cloth.
And lastly, one cannot visit Cape Town without fully enjoying the gorgeous natural fynbos. The Fynbos are small, scrubby plants with succulent grasses. Many of them also offer beautiful flowers, such as the Proteas.
Fynbos plants offer over 9,000 species, with 6,200 endemic to the Cape Town area. This means that over 6,000 of these plants cannot be seen anywhere else in the world!
These plants form what is collectively the Cape Floral Kingdom of South Africa.
Did you have the opportunity to experience any of these hidden treasures first hand? Tell us about your experience below