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Things to Do in South Africa


Cape Town, at the southern tip of the African continent, is a city blessed with an incredible natural beauty, culture, and a lot of energy.While you are visiting South Africa for fertility, egg donation, cosmetic surgery, or any other affordable medical treatment, why not take advantage of all that Cape Town has to offer?

Natural attractions
Cape Town is well known for the natural beauty that exists in and around the city, most of which are easily accessible and highly popular among tourists.Enjoy experiencing nature at its best while recuperating from your medical procedure with some of these natural attractions:

  • Table Mountain – The Cape Town skyline is dominated by Table Mountain, known worldwide as a natural wonder.  The mountain is open to the public, and is a must-see for any visitor to the city. A number of hiking routes lead up the various faces of the mountain, but the most popular method of getting to the top is the the cable car.
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – these beautiful gardens showcase the many different plants that make up one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. The gardens are a favourite spot for picnics and relaxing walks, as well as popular outdoor concerts during the summer.

Safari
For those wanting to experience the nature and wildlife up close, many safari tours are available no more than a few hours’ drive out of Cape Town.

  • The Cape Nature Garden Route tour – This tour takes you on a five-day excursion along this beautiful scenic route, stopping along the way at attractions such as Oudtshoorn, the Cango Caves, the Ostrich Farm, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Tsitsikamma National Park, and Hermanus, among others, staying at charming guest houses along the way.
  • Aquila Game Reserve – Just a few hours’ drive out of Cape Town, this popular safari can be done as a day trip.  Rhino, lion, giraffe, zebra, ostrich, and a host of other African wildlife can be seen in a pristine natural setting.
  • Kruger National Park – Although it is not near Cape Town, for the ultimate safari experience one has to look no further than the Kruger National Park.  This expansive wildlife reserve is home to a large population of indigenous animals, including the Big Five.  As the park is so large, it’s recommended to take a few days to travel around and experience as much of the wildlife as possible, while staying in the camping villages and/or chalets that are scattered throughout the park.

Beaches
Cape Town offers a number of beaches on which to soak up the endless supply of sunshine.  On any good day you can expect to find the beaches packed with people enjoying the summer sun.  Fortunately, there are many beaches in and around the Cape Town area, so beachgoers have lots to choose from.  Some of the more popular beaches include:

  • Camps Bay, sometimes referred to as ‘Little Miami’, is one of the most popular, a wide stretch of golden sand opposite a palm-fringed strip lined with the trendiest of the city’s bars and clubs.  Well-frequented by locals, foreigners, and even the occasional celebrity, this beachfront is one of the busiest and most vibrant parts of the city throughout the summer months.
  • Clifton – Just down the road from Camps Bay are the Clifton beaches (divided by the natural rocks into four distinct stretches of sand), which are arguably the most popular in town.
  • Boulders – A little ways outside the city, near Simonstown, this popular beach is best known for being home to a colony of penguins, who share the beach with human visitors.  If you’re lucky, you might even happen across one of their nests. Although the penguins are friendly from a distance, it’s best not to get too close as they can become protective.
  • Llandudno – Along the beautiful Chapman’s Peak drive towards Hout Bay you will find Llandudno beach.  This is a great spot for beach sports and picnics, as it is sheltered from the worst of the wind that is sometimes a feature of the Cape coastline.
  • Muizenberg – This beach is mostly known for being a popular local surfing spot, and is where almost all Capetonians learn to ride the waves due to its reliable break.  Surfboards for hire and surfing lessons can be obtained at many establishments along the beachfront.

Historical attractions
Cape Town has a rich and varied history, and many of its traces can still be visited today.  From the recent decades to centuries gone by, it’s possible to take a journey through time by visiting some of the many historical attractions in and around the city.

  • Robben Island – The prison where struggle leader and former president Nelson Mandela was incarcerated is today a museum open to visits from the public.  Ferries run regularly (weather permitting) from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.  Tours are often guided by former prisoners, offering a rare insight into this historic prison.
  • The Company’s Gardens – Now located near the city center, this garden was created by the Dutch East India Company in the 1650s to supply fresh produce to ships on their way around the Cape.  Today, many prominent buildings line Government Avenue, the main pedestrian road running through this large park, including the National Gallery, the Houses of Parliament, the Iziko Museum, Planetarium, and the Slave Lodge.

The Winelands
About an hour’s drive out of Cape Town, in and around the regions of Franschoek, Stellenbosch, and Paarl, are some of the oldest traces of the country’s colonial past can be found.  As historic as they are beautiful, these fertile valleys are home to the country’s foremost wine estates – the likes of Groot Constantia, Fairview, Spier, Neethlingshof, Delheim, Saxenburg, Welmoed and Delaire, among others – and produce some of the best wine in the world.  Some also offer fine cheeses, olives, fruit, and other organic produce to enhance the experience.  Tastings, tours, and other attractions are always on offer.  Further afield, the towns of Robertson and Wellington offer wines of a similar calibre in a old-town setting.
Food, drink, and nightlife
Cape Town boasts world-class cuisine and quality entertainment, as well as a wide variety of opportunities to drink and dance into the early hours of the morning.  Whether it’s live music or a discotheque you’re looking for, Cape Town will keep you entertained.

  • Long Street – Look no further for the energetically beating heart of Cape Town’s nightlife and entertainment scene.  Lined with trendy boutiques and restaurants to visit by day, as well as a wide range of nightclubs, live music venues, and bars, this strip is frequented by large numbers of tourists and locals alike.  Feast on Cape Town’s best burgers at Royale before heading upstairs to the cozy Waiting Room to take in some of the city’s musical talent, or spend the evening bar-hopping as you work your way up the street.
  • Traditional African cuisine can be found all over Cape Town.  One of the most authentic and well-known restaurants serving local food is Marco’s African Place, where local meats such as springbok, kudu, ostrich and even crocodile are on offer, along with classic African staples such as samp (a coarse porridge made from corn kernels) and beans, and an array of vegetables done the African way.  Mama Africa on Long Street offers a similarly meaty menu, including such novelties as chicken feet and ‘smileys’ – grilled sheep’s head.  A lively in-house marimba band provides the dining entertainment.

Markets
A city without a good market is always missing something crucial.  Thankfully, Cape Town, boasts a number of regular markets in and around the city bowl.

  • Greenmarket Square – Located in the heart of the city, is arguably Cape Town’s best known marketplace.  This classic African bazaar offers an endless array of handmade trinkets, from beaded keychains to carved wooden giraffes taller than most people.
  • Bay Harbour Market – Located in Hout Bay, this weekly indoor market features a range of stalls selling everything from clothing and jewelry to food and drink, and is extremely popular among locals and tourists alike.  Live performers also entertain the shopping crowds, making for a great day out.
  • Muizenberg Flea Market – This market has been around as long as most people can remember, and features traders selling all sorts of collectibles, curios, clothing, and everything inbetween each Sunday.  It’s a popular spot for the regulars, who know that it’s best to get there early to get the best deals.
  • Red Shed Craft Warehouse – Another mainstay of the Cape Town market scene, this indoor craft market is located alongside the V&A Waterfront shopping mall, making it easy to get all kinds of shopping done in one place.  From glassblowers to fine local art, a lot of higher-end goods are sold here.

Other activities
Just a few other ideas:

  • Shark-cage diving – A quarter of the world’s shark species, including the fearsome Great White, are native to South African waters.  A popular attraction for tourists seeking a thrill is to encounter these creatures in their element (within a protective cage, of course!).  This experience offers a rare glimpse into the world of this ocean predator.
  • Sports – Cape Town is home to a large number of sports fans, who flock to arenas such as Newlands Cricket Ground, Newlands Rugby Stadium, the Cape Town Stadium (for soccer), and others, or simply head to one of the city’s many bars and restaurants to catch the game with other fans.  There are also a range of world-class golf courses in and around Cape Town for you to practice your swing.

These are just some of the many attractions Cape Town has to offer.  By far the best way to discover more is simply to ask the locals, who are generally only too happy to direct you to the next best thing in their beautiful city.
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