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Cape Town & Garden Route

4.cptThe beautiful city of Cape Town is situated on the far South-Western tip of Africa, about 1600 km from Johannesburg. It has an architecture and lifestyle which are broadly cosmopolitan yet quintessentially Capetonian. But that’s just the physical base. The city has grown a soul and an adventurous spirit. With a diversity of people and landscapes – from the mountains, lush indigenous gardens to sandy beaches, the “Mother City” is the perfect place for the adventurous spirit to live out its wildest fancies.

Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate, with summer that are pleasantly warm, but even the hottest days are often cooled by pleasant breezes or strong winds. The winters are cool and wet, but the temperature hardly ever falls below 10° C. Some of the cities more famous attractions include Table Mountain (one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature), which is considered to be one the worlds most well-known landmarks, named by Jan van Riebeeck on 6 April 1652 as he sailed toward what was to become Cape Town, the mountain is now a national monument and provides visitors with great entertainment and unforgettable Cable Car Rides to the top.

Another of the popular attractions are the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – a legacy from Cecil John Rhodes, who wanted to preserve Devils Peak and the eastern slopes of Table Mountain as a national Park. The 528-hectare park includes 6000 species of indigenous plants. Other attractions include many historical buildings still standing among the new skyscrapers, the Castle of Good Hope, Cape Point – the place of the Meeting of Two Oceans and Robben Island – which houses the old prison for political prisoners convicted during the apartheid era.

 

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Cape Town also boasts a magnificent night life, with a variety of restaurants of various cultures throughout the city as well as pubs and other night spots. It is also a great place for sporting enthusiasts, with some of the best diving sites in Kalk Bay and bathing spots along the many and beautiful beaches surrounding the area as well as sporting facilities of every kind throughout the city and suburbs – you’ll never want for something to do.

The Garden Route is a popular and scenic stretch of the south-eastern coastline of South Africa. It stretches from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River, which is crossed along the N2 coastal highway, over the Paul Sauer Bridge in the extreme western reach of the neighbouring Eastern Cape. The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast. It includes towns such as Mossel Bay, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley; with George, the Garden Route’s largest city and main administrative centre.

The Garden Route has an oceanic climate, with mild to warm summers, and mild to cool winters. It has the mildest climate in South Africa and the second mildest climate in the world, after Hawaii, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Temperatures rarely fall below 10°C in winter and rarely climb beyond 28°C in summer. Rain occurs year-round, with a slight peak in the spring months, brought by the humid sea-winds from the Indian Ocean rising and releasing their precipitation along the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains just inland of the coast.

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The Route is sandwiched between the aforementioned mountains and the Indian Ocean. The Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma indigenous forests are a unique mixture of Cape Fynbos and Temperate Forest and offer hiking trails and eco-tourism activities. Nearly 300 species of bird life are to be found in a variety of habitats ranging from fynbos to forest to wetlands.

Various bays along the Garden Route, the best known of these Walker Bay in Hermanus,  are nurseries to large numbers of the endangered Southern Right Whale which come there to calve in  winter and spring (July to December).The 12km long “Cliff-Path” in Hermanus provides what is arguably the best land-based whale watching opportunities in the world.


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