Our Lively Cities: Cape Town
Our World | On 07, Jun 2011
Cape Town. The name alone epitomises the events industry as it immediately evokes emotions along the lines of ‘I love it’ or ‘I want to go there!’.
Considering Cape Town is 5979 miles away it is surprisingly easy to get to from London. The flight timings with both BA and Virgin allow for a comfortable journey from Heathrow and a good night’s sleep before arriving in Cape Town in the morning.
The beauty of Cape Town is that it is both a world class destination in itself and a gateway to further adventures. Depending on your arrival time, and if the wind allows, jump on the cable car to visit Table Mountain. The views from all sides are as breath taking as you would hope for and it’s a nice spot to enjoy a cold Castle beer and welcome yourself to Africa. There is a reasonable choice of excellent hotels in central Cape Town, though there are significant blackout dates in the city when annual conventions dominate bed space.
The local nightlife on Long Street is in general good fun, and even better if you can visit during the annual Jazz festival, which is growing in reputation. Dining is a pleasure, as food quality and freshness, is taken seriously in Cape Town. Personal favourites include Pigalle and Sevruga and there is plenty of choice for all budgets. To get a taste of South Africa’s modern past a visit to either Robben Island to see Nelson Mandela’s prison cell and meet a former inmate or the District Six Museum are recommended. International cricket and rugby are both played at Newlands and with the recent building of Green Point Stadium for the FIFA World Cup Cape Town has a strong sporting pedigree.
Those looking for the WOW factor or adrenaline and excitement could consider shark cage diving, helicopter trips, private plane rides to safari, catamarans and Harley Davidson transfers for dinner.
An hour north of Cape Town you will find the stunning vineyards of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek (where they celebrate Bastille Day!), or journey south to stunning deserted beaches (though watch out for the gibbons) and the beautiful Cape Point (next stop Antarctica). Any journey south should incorporate driving over Chapman’s Peak for more stunning views and lunch at Chapman’s Peak hotel (an institution in itself). Another two hours along the coast you can visit Hermanus for whale watching and, if you have time, begin a visit further east on the Garden Route, which is another journey in itself.
The City’s tolerant and inclusive attitude is clearer here than anywhere else I have visited in Africa and beyond being the finest city on the continent it is also the shining light for a better future for all of Africa. Cape Town has it all; my only tip would be to keep your time at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront to a minimum – there is so much more to see, and so many different places to relax, that you need every minute to experience the real Cape Town!