Cape Town Specials
Cape Town Specials
Cape Town is the second most populous city in South Africa, and one of the most iconic to locals and tourists alike. Known for its natural beauty as well as its distinctive mix of cultures, the city is also the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape province.
Cape Town also serves as the legislative capital of South Africa, and is home to the National Parliament as well as several other governmental and/or administrative headquarters.
The history of Cape Town is one of the most colourful of all South African cities (if not worldwide). The first inhabitants of the region were likely predecessors of the Khoi or San tribes, and human remains have been found in the Cape Town area that date back over 12 000 years. First discovered by Westerners by explorers such as Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco Da Gama, the Cape of Good Hope (as it was then known) was first used as a stopover point by Portuguese, French, Danish, Dutch and English ships on their way to or from the Indies.
The Dutch East India Company was the first to establish a settlement in the Cape, under the command of Jan van Riebeeck, in 1652. This lucrative way-station for passing ships quickly grew into a thriving village centered around the Fort (later the Castle) of Good Hope. During the Napoleonic wars, the colony came under the control of Britain, but was later returned to the Netherlands as part of a treaty. In 1814, the Cape Colony (as it would come to be known) was permanently ceded to Britain. In 1910, following Britain’s victory in the Second Boer War, Cape Town was included in the Union of South Africa.
During the apartheid years, Cape Town was the scene of many pivotal events, including the forced removals at District Six. Former president Nelson Mandela was also imprisoned for many years at Robben Island, just off the city’s coastline.
Cape Town is located close to the southernmost tip of Africa, along approximately the same latitude as Sydney and Buenos Aires, on the Cape Peninsula. The central city is mostly sandwiched between Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, with suburbs stretching out around Table Bay and further inland to the northeast. Major suburbs include the City Bowl, Atlantic Seaboard, West Coast, Northern Suburbs, Southern Suburbs, Eastern Suburbs, South Peninsula, and Cape Flats.
Cape Town is home to many landmarks both natural and man made. By far the most iconic is Table Mountain, as well as the equally well named Lion’s Head. Cape Town’s City Hall is well known for its colonial architecture, while the original Castle of Good Hope still stands on the outskirts of the City Bowl. Popular beaches such as Clifton and Camps Bay are also well-known landmarks.
- Cape Town is home to approximately 433,688 people.
- The majority race living in the Cape Town area is Cape Coloured, while the most commonly spoken first language is Afrikaans.
- The city’s elevation ranges from sea level to 1,590.4 m.