Monday, July 9, 2018

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is on the western cape of South Africa.  It's about an 1,5 hour flight (1262 km / 785 miles) from Johannesburg.  The city is called Kaapstad in Afrikaans and iKapa in Xhosa.

Cape Town was founded in 1652 when the Dutch set up the first permanent European settlement here making it the oldest urban area in South Africa.

The city is home to over 434,000 people, with +3,7 million in the greater metro area, making it the 10th largest city in Africa.

Cape Town is the country's legislative capital.  The parliament building was completed in 1884.

The Queen Victoria statue was erected in 1887 as part of the queen's Jubilee celebration.

The Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront is a mixed-use facility located at the country's oldest working harbour.

The Clock Tower was built in 1882.

At Nobel Square are statues of South Africa's four Nobel Peace Prize winners.

The Company's Garden is a park in the centre of the city that dates back to the 1650s.  In the middle of the park is a statue of Cecil Rhodes.

The Iziko South African Museum was founded in 1825 and it was the first museum in the country.  It moved its current location at the Company's Garden in 1897.  The museum is well known for itsAfrican zoology, archaeology and palaeontology collections.

The South African National Gallery contains primarily African, British, French, and Dutch works from the 17th to 19th centuries.

Construction of St. George's Cathedral began in 1906 but it wasn't completed until 1936.

Cape Town City Hall was built in 1905.  The building is now used for concerts and other functions while the actual city offices are located in the Civic Centre.

The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest building in South Africa.  It was built by the Dutch East India Company from 1666 to 1679.  Today it is a museum.

The Slave Lodge was built in 1679.  This is where the Dutch East India Company would house up to 1,000 slaves at a time from the 17th to 19th centuries.

The Cape Town Stadium was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.  It can seat 55,000 people but I was told that most events barely break 5,000 - 6,000 spectators. 

Table Mountain dominates Cape Town.  The flat-topped summit is 1085 metres (3,558 feet) tall.  The plateau is about 3 km (2 miles) across and is flanked by Devil's Peak to the east and Lion's Head to the west.  

You can hike to the top or take a cablecar that rotates 360 degrees during the ride up and down. 

"City Bowl" view of Cape Town from Table Mountain.

No visit to Cape Town is complete without a visit to Robben Island.  The former island penitentiary is 10 km (6 miles) from the city by boat.

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