Info Cape Town
Cape Town is a coastal city in South Africa. It is the second most populous urban area in South Africa, after Johannesburg. It is also the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape.
As the seat of the National Parliament it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality. The city is famous for its harbour, for its natural setting in the Cape Floristic Region, as well as for such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. As of 2014, it is the 10th most populous city in Africa and home to 64% of the Western Cape's population. It is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa. The city was named the World Design Capital for 2014 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. In 2014, Cape Town was named the best place in the world to visit by both the American New York Times and the British Daily Telegraph.
|POPULATION :||Metro 3,740,026|
|TIME ZONE :||SAST (UTC+2)|
|LANGUAGE :||• English 27.8%|
• Afrikaans 34.9%
• Xhosa 29.2%
• Other 8.1%
|RELIGION :||Zion Christian 11.1%, Pentecostal/Charismatic 8.2%, Catholic 7.1%, Methodist 6.8%, Dutch Reformed 6.7%, Anglican 3.8%, Muslim 1.5%, other Christian 36%, other 2.3%, unspecified 1.4%, none 15.1%|
|AREA :||Metro: 2,444.97 km2 (944.01 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||Highest elevation 1,590.4 m (5,217.8 ft)|
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
|COORDINATES :||33°55′31″S 18°25′26″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48.54|
• Female: 51.46
|ETHNIC :||• Black African 38.6%|
• Coloured 42.4%
• Indian/Asian 1.4%
• White 15.7%
• Other 1.9%
|AREA CODE :|
|POSTAL CODE :||7700 to 8099|
|DIALING CODE :||+27 (0)21|
|WEBSITE :||Official Website|
Cape Town is not only the most popular international tourist destination in South Africa, but Africa as a whole. This is due to its good climate, natural setting, and well-developed infrastructure. The city has several well-known natural features that attract tourists, most notably Table Mountain, which forms a large part of the Table Mountain National Park and is the back end of the City Bowl. Reaching the top of the mountain can be achieved either by hiking up, or by taking the Table Mountain Cableway. Cape Point is recognised as the dramatic headland at the end of the Cape Peninsula. Many tourists also drive along Chapman's Peak Drive, a narrow road that links Noordhoek with Hout Bay, for the views of the Atlantic Ocean and nearby mountains. It is possible to either drive or hike up Signal Hill for closer views of the City Bowl and Table Mountain.
Both coasts are equally popular, although the beaches in affluent Clifton and elsewhere on the Atlantic Coast are better developed with restaurants and cafés, with a strip of restaurants and bars accessible to the beach at Camps Bay. Boulders Beachnear Simon's Town is known for its colony of African penguins. Surfing is popular and the city hosts the Red Bull Big Wave Africa surfing competition every year.
The city has several notable cultural attractions. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, built on top of part of the docks of the Port of Cape Town, is the city's most visited tourist attraction. It is also one of the city's most popular shopping venues, with several hundred shops and the Two Oceans Aquarium. The V&A also hosts the Nelson Mandela Gateway, through which ferries depart for Robben Island. It is possible to take a ferry from the V&A to Hout Bay, Simon's Town and the Cape fur seal colonies on Seal and Duiker Islands. Several companies offer tours of the Cape Flats, a mostly Coloured township, and Khayelitsha, a mostly black township.
Cape Town is noted for its architectural heritage, with the highest density of Cape Dutch style buildings in the world. Cape Dutch style, which combines the architectural traditions of the Netherlands, Germany, France and Indonesia, is most visible inConstantia, the old government buildings in the Central Business District, and along Long Street. The annual Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, also known by its Afrikaans name of Kaapse Klopse, is a large minstrel festival held annually on 2 January or "Tweede Nuwe Jaar" (Afrikaans: Second New Year). Competing teams of minstrels parade in brightly coloured costumes, performing Cape Jazz, either carrying colourful umbrellas or playing an array of musical instruments. The Artscape Theatre Centre is the main performing arts venue in Cape Town.
The city also encloses the 36 hectare Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden that contains protected natural forest and fynbos along with a variety of animals and birds. There are over 7,000 species in cultivation at Kirstenbosch, including many rare and threatened species of the Cape Floristic Region. In 2004 this Region, including Kirstenbosch, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cape Town's transport system links it to the rest of South Africa; it serves as the gateway to other destinations within the province. The Cape Winelands and in particular the towns of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek are popular day trips from the city for sightseeing and wine tasting. Whale watching is popular amongst tourists: southern right whales and humpback whales are seen off the coast during the breeding season (August to November) and Bryde's whales and killer whale can be seen any time of the year. The nearby town of Hermanus is known for its Whale Festival, but whales can also be seen in False Bay. Heaviside's dolphins are endemic to the area and can be seen from the coast north of Cape Town; dusky dolphins live along the same coast and can occasionally be seen from the ferry to Robben Island.
The only complete windmill in South Africa is Mostert's Mill, Mowbray. It was built in 1796 and restored in 1935 and again in 1995.
The most popular areas for visitors to stay include Camps Bay, Sea Point, the V&A Waterfront, the City Bowl, Hout Bay, Constantia, Rondebosch, Newlands, Somerset West, Hermanus and Stellenbosch, as well.
In November 2013, Cape Town was voted the best global city in The Daily Telegraph's annual Travel Awards.
The earliest known remnants in the region were found at Peers Cave in Fish Hoek and date to between 15,000 and 12,000 years ago. Little is known of the history of the region's first residents, since there is no written history from the area before it was first mentioned by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1486. Vasco da Gama recorded a sighting of the Cape of Good Hope in 1497. In the late 16th century, Portuguese, French, Danish, Dutch and English ships regularly stopped over in Table Bay en route to the Indies. They traded tobacco, copper and iron with the Khoikhoi in exchange for fresh meat.
In 1652, Jan van Riebeeck and other employees of the Dutch East India Company(Dutch: Verenigde Oost-indische Compagnie, VOC) were sent to the Cape to establish a way-station for ships travelling to the Dutch East Indies, and the Fort de Goede Hoop(later replaced by the Castle of Good Hope). The settlement grew slowly during this period, as it was hard to find adequate labour. This labour shortage prompted the authorities to import slaves from Indonesia and Madagascar. Many of these became ancestors of the first Cape Coloured communities. Under Van Riebeeck and his successors as VOC commanders and later governors at the Cape, an impressive range of useful plants were introduced to the Cape – in the process changing the natural environment forever. Some of these, including grapes, cereals, ground nuts, potatoes, apples and citrus, had an important and lasting influence on the societies and economies of the region.
The Dutch Republic being transformed inRevolutionary France's vassal Batavian Republic, Great Britain moved to take control of its colonies. Britain captured Cape Town in 1795, but the Cape was returned to the Dutch by treaty in 1803. British forces occupied the Cape again in 1806 following the Battle of Blaauwberg. In the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814, Cape Town was permanently ceded to Britain. It became the capital of the newly formed Cape Colony, whose territory expanded very substantially through the 1800s. With expansion came calls for greater independence from Britain, with the Cape attaining its own parliament (1854) and a locally accountable Prime Minister (1872). Suffrage was established according to the non-racial, but sexist Cape Qualified Franchise.
The discovery of diamonds in Griqualand Westin 1867, and the Witwatersrand Gold Rush in 1886, prompted a flood of immigrants to South Africa. Conflicts between the Boerrepublics in the interior and the British colonial government resulted in the Second Boer War of 1899–1902, which Britain won. In 1910, Britain established the Union of South Africa, which unified the Cape Colony with the two defeated Boer Republics and the British colony of Natal. Cape Town became the legislative capital of the Union, and later of the Republic of South Africa.
In the 1948 national elections, the National Party won on a platform of apartheid (racial segregation) under the slogan of "swart gevaar". This led to the erosion and eventual abolition of the Cape's multiracial franchise, as well as to the Group Areas Act, which classified all areas according to race. Formerly multi-racial suburbs of Cape Town were either purged of unlawful residents or demolished. The most infamous example of this in Cape Town was District Six. After it was declared a whites-only region in 1965, all housing there was demolished and over 60,000 residents were forcibly removed. Many of these residents were relocated to the Cape Flats and Lavender Hill. Under apartheid, the Cape was considered a "Coloured labour preference area", to the exclusion of "Bantus", i.e. Africans
School students from Langa, Gugulethu and Nyanga in Cape Town reacted to the news of protests against Bantu Education in Soweto in June 1976 and organised gatherings and marches which were met with resistance from the police. A number of school buildings were burnt down.
Cape Town was home to many leaders of the anti-apartheid movement. On Robben Island, a former penitentiary island 10 kilometres (6 miles) from the city, many famous political prisoners were held for years. In one of the most famous moments marking the end of apartheid, Nelson Mandela made his first public speech since his imprisonment, from the balcony of Cape Town City Hall hours after being released on 11 February 1990. His speech heralded the beginning of a new era for the country, and the first democratic election, was held four years later, on 27 April 1994. Nobel Square in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront features statues of South Africa's four Nobel Peace Prize winners: Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela. Since 1994, the city has struggled with problems such as drugs, a surge in violent drug-related crime and more recently gang violence. At the same time, the economy has surged to unprecedented levels due to the boom in the tourism and the real estate industries. With a Gini coefficient of 0.67, Cape Town has the highest rate of equality in South Africa.
- The summer months are from December to February. Days are usually hot, but the humidity is low, so it is not uncomfortable. You should stay inside or in the shade during the midday heat and use sufficient sun block. You will fight for space on the beach around New Year's with all the local tourists but it is still a great time to visit as there are a lot of events happening.
- The winter months of June to August tend to be rather wet, which does not mean rain every day although it can rain for two weeks straight on occasion. It can also get very cold at night, with temperatures as low as 2 or 3°C (this is the temperature of the ocean so it will not get colder unless you go far inland) but 5-7°C normal. It will become warmer during the day, with temperatures between 9-15°C typical. It is often very cloudy with far fewer hours of sunshine.
- Best times to visit are:
- October and November: The weather is getting warmer. Spring is in the air, but it is not as hot as mid-summer yet. These months can be windy months. The South-Easter is known as the Cape Doctor as it blows away a great deal of pollution!
- December to February: These are the prime summer months of long hot days. The sun sets late in the evening (it stays light up until about 8:30PM in December) and there is generally a lot going on. February is the most reliable month for weather, with week after week of hot days.
- March to May: This can change from year to year, but generally it starts raining and the temperature begins to become cooler. There are far fewer visitors around, and you can get excellent deals on accommodation, food and most tourism services.
Water temperatures range greatly, between 10 °C (50 °F) on the Atlantic Seaboard, to 22 °C (72 °F) in False Bay. Average annual Ocean temperatures are between 13 °C (55 °F) on the Atlantic Seaboard (similar to Californian waters, such as San Franciscoor Big Sur), and 17 °C (63 °F) in False Bay (similar to Northern Mediterranean temperatures, such as Nice or Monte Carlo).
|Daily highs (°C)||25||26||25||22||20||18||17||17||18||21||23||24|
|Nightly lows (°C)||15||15||14||12||10||9||9||8||9||11||13||14|
The Cape Town metropolitan area covers a large area, from Durbanville and Somerset West in the east to Cape Point in the south and Atlantis in the north. The city centre is located in a relatively small area between Table Mountain and Table Bay.
Cape Town is the economic hub of the Western Cape Province, South Africa's second main economic centre and Africa's third main economic hub city. It serves as the regional manufacturing centre in the Western Cape. In 2011 the city's GDP was US$56.8 billion with aGDP per capita of US$15,721. In the five years preceding 2014 Cape Town GDP grew at an average of 3.7% a year. As a proportion of GDP the agriculture and manufacturing sectors have declined whilst finance, business services, transport and logistics have grown reflecting the growth in specialised services sectors of the local economy. Fishing, clothing and textiles, wood product manufacturing, electronics, furniture, hospitality, finance and business services are industries in which Cape Town's economy has the largest comparative advantage.
Between 2001 and 2010 the city's Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality, improved by dropping from 0.59 in 2007 to 0.57 in 2010 only to increase to 0.67 by 2011/12. Despite this increase, Cape Town's Gini coefficient remained the lowest of any large city in South Africa.
Cape Town has recently enjoyed a booming real estate and construction market, because of the 2010 World Cup as well as many people buying summer homes in the city or relocating there permanently. Cape Town hosted nine World Cup matches: Six first-round matches, one second-round match, one quarter final and one semifinal. The central business district is under an extensive urban renewal programme, with numerous new buildings and renovations taking place under the guidance of the Cape Town Partnership.
Cape Town has four major commercial nodes, with Cape Town Central Business District containing the majority of job opportunities and office space. Century City, the Bellville/TygerValley strip and Claremont commercial nodes are well established and contain many offices and corporate headquarters as well. Most companies headquartered in the city are insurance companies, retail groups, publishers, design houses, fashion designers, shipping companies, petrochemical companies, architects and advertising agencies. The most notable companies headquartered in the city are food and fashion retailer Woolworths, supermarket chain Pick n Pay Stores and Shoprite,New Clicks Holdings Limited, fashion retailer Foschini Group, isp MWEB, Mediclinic International,etv, multi-national mass media giant Naspers, and financial services giant Sanlam. Other notable companies include Belron (vehicle glass repair and replacement group operating worldwide), CapeRay (develops, manufactures and supplies medical imaging equipment for the diagnosis of breast cancer), Ceres Fruit Juices (produces fruit juice and other fruit based products),Coronation Fund Managers (third-party fund management company), ICS (was one of the largest meat processing and distribution companies in the world), Vida e Caffè(chain of coffee retailers), Capitec Bank (commercial bank in the Republic of South Africa). The city is a manufacturing base for several multi-national companies including, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Levi Strauss & Co., Adidas, Bokomo Foods, and Nampak.
Much of the produce is handled through the Port of Cape Town or Cape Town International Airport. Most major shipbuilding companies have offices and manufacturing locations in Cape Town. The Province is also a centre of energy development for the country, with the existing Koeberg nuclear power station providing energy for the Western Cape's needs.
The Western Cape is an important tourist region in South Africa; the tourism industry accounts for 9.8% of the GDP of the province and employs 9.6% of the province's workforce. In 2010, over 1.5 million international tourists visited the area.
With the highest number of successful Information Technology companies in Africa, Cape Town is an important centre for the industry on the continent. Growing at an annual rate of 8.5% and an estimated worth of R77 billion in 2010 nationwide the IT industry in Cape Town is becoming increasingly important to the city's economy.
The city was recently named as the most entrepreneurial city in South Africa, with the percentage of Capetonians pursuing business opportunities almost three times higher than the national average. Those aged between 18 and 64 were 190% more likely to pursue new business, whilst in Johannesburg, the same demographic group was only 60% more likely than the national average to pursue a new business.
Cape Town's urban geography is influenced by the contours of Table Mountain, its surrounding peaks, the Durbanville Hills, and the expansive lowland region known as the Cape Flats. These geographic features in part divide the city into several commonly known groupings of suburbs (equivalent to districts outside South Africa), many of which developed historically together and share common attributes of language and culture.
The City Bowl is a natural amphitheatre-shaped area bordered by Table Bay and defined by the mountains of Signal Hill, Lion's Head, Table Mountain and Devil's Peak.
The area includes the central business district of Cape Town, the harbour, the Company's Garden, and the residential suburbs of De Waterkant, Devil's Peak, District Six, Zonnebloem, Gardens, Bo-Kaap, Higgovale,Oranjezicht, Schotsche Kloof, Tamboerskloof, University Estate, Vredehoek, Walmer Estate and Woodstock.
The West Coast suburbs lie along the beach to the north of the Cape Town city centre, and include Bloubergstrand, Milnerton, Tableview, West Beach, Big Bay, Sunset Beach, Sunningdale and Parklands, as well as the exurbs of Atlantis and Melkbosstrand. The Koeberg Nuclear Power Station is located within this area and maximum housing density regulations are enforced in much of the area surrounding the nuclear plant.
The Northern Suburbs are Afrikaans-speaking, and include Bellville, Kanonberg,Bothasig, Brooklyn, Burgundy Estate, Durbanville, Edgemead, Elsie's River, Factreton,Goodwood, Kensington, Maitland, Monte Vista, Panorama, Parow, Richwood,Thornton, Table View, and Welgemoed. Much of the northern suburbs is colloquially known as Tygerberg and is home to Tygerberg Hospital, the largest hospital in the Western Cape and second largest in South Africa
The Southern Suburbs hug along the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, southeast of the city centre. This area has mixed languages but is predominantly English-speaking, and includes, from north to south, Rondebosch, Pinelands, Newlands, Mowbray,Observatory, Bishopscourt, Claremont, Wynberg, Plumstead, Ottery, and Bergvliet. West of Wynberg lies Constantia which, in addition to being a wealthy neighbourhood, is a notable wine-growing region within the City of Cape Town. Constantia not only offers a luscious suburban living lifestyle, but also attracts tourists for its well known wine farms and Cape Dutch architecture.
The Eastern Suburbs lie southeast of the Afrikaans-speaking neighbourhoods in the Northern Suburbs, beyond the airport, and notably are the site of several new subsidized housing projects and are also Afrikaans-speaking. Communities include Fairdale, Brackenfell, Kraaifontein, Kuils River, Blue Downs, Belhar, Delft, Mfuleni and Protea Hoogte.
The Cape Flats (Die Kaapse Vlakte in Afrikaans) is an expansive, low-lying, flat Afrikaans-speaking area situated to the southeast of the central business district of Cape Town. From the 1950s the area became home to people the apartheidgovernment designated as non-White and has been described by some as 'Apartheid's dumping ground'. Race-based legislation such as the Group Areas Actand pass laws either forced non-white people out of more central urban areas designated for white people and into government-built townships in the Flats or made living in the area illegal, forcing many people designated as Black into informal settlements elsewhere in the Flats.
Since then the Flats have been home to much of the population of Greater Cape Town. This area includes the neighbourhoods of Mitchell's Plain, Athlone, Elsie's River,Hanover Park, Bishop Lavis, Manenberg, Strandfontein, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Langa, and Khayelitsha.
The Helderberg consists of Somerset West, Strand, Gordons Bay and a few other towns. The district takes its name from the imposing Helderberg Mountain, which is Afrikaans for "clear mountain", and culminates at a height of 1137m as The Dome.
If you have a cell phone get one of the cheap prepaid sim cards from either Vodacom, MTN, Cell C or Virgin Mobile and save money on local calls.
Overseas calls at local rates via the Celldial service. Call 087 940 6966 and follow the voice prompts. See www.celldial.co.za for supported countries.
Internet is available throughout Cape Town and the inner city cafes always a hub of activity. Charges per hour ranges from R5 (in town) to R50 (V&A waterfront)
- [email protected] internet cafe, Kloof street. They have private booths, and offer wifi access for laptops.
Other internet cafes can be found all over the city and suburbs, with many coffee shops offering internet access.
Many Guesthouses in Cape Town provide WiFi free for their guests.
Always-On, +27 (0)11 575-2505, provides prepaid wifi access in a number of locations in Cape Town. Simply connect to the access point and you will be given the opportunity to pay for access by credit card. Pricing starts at around R15 for 10 minutes or R60 for 100MB.
Coverage areas include:
- Westin Grand Hotel at Arabella Quays.
- Cape Town Backpackers.
- Cape Town International Airport. Restaurants and Coffee shops, in Domestic and International Departures, boarding gates, airline lounges and at the Road Lodge.
- City Lodge. GrandWest, Pinelands and V&A Waterfront.
- Dulce Cafe. Bayside Centre, Durbanville and Gabriel Rd, Plumstead
- Mugg&Bean. Just about all of them offer free WiFi.
- Sundance Coffee Co. Adderley St, Buitengragt St and Mouille Point.
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