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Cape Town, South Africa's second-largest city, ranks among the most beautiful in the world. With its larger-than-life mountain overlooking the City Bowl, harbour, white beaches and Robben Island beyond, this is a tourists' playground. Two World Heritage Sites, the sprawling Winelands, nature reserves, botanic gardens and a buzzing waterfront are just the start of the adventure.

Cape Town is South Africa’s second most populous city, a quintessential melting pot of creativity, cuisine and colour – including pink.

Its strategic geographic position at the tip of Africa has seen foreign visitors stopping off at the Cape since the 1400s, each contributing unique cultural influences that make up the fabric of modern-day Cape Town.

A mix of Malay, Dutch, French, Portuguese and African flavour is reflected in Cape Town’s stylish restaurant menus, where locally produced wines complement popular seafood and curry dishes.

Discover wines at source in the famous Cape Winelands by taking a day tour on one of six wine routes, and explore the historically rich adjacent towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl.

If you’d prefer to tap into hops rather than grapes, a number of locally brewed craft beers are sold at pubs in and around the city.

An abundance of flora may be appreciated within the city environs, from the magnificence of the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden to a World Heritage Site featuring more than 9 000 fynbos ('fine bush') species in the Table Mountain National Park.

As the meeting point of many cultures, Cape Town is dotted with mosques, kramats, churches, synagogues and temples, while its architecture reveals examples of art deco, Cape Dutch and Malay engineering.

Cape Town’s beaches are a huge drawcard during the hot summer (November to February) months, while winter surf conditions are more favourable for all surf-related disciplines – including extreme wave riding at Dungeons, off Hout Bay.

The city’s leisure-loving lifestyle and mountainous backdrop have given rise to myriad leisure pursuits: hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, abseiling, helicopter flips and skydiving.

Cape Town is also one of the world’s top 20 gay destinations, and boasts myriad gay-friendly clubs, pubs, restaurants and theatres.

A top attractions itinerary for the Mother City ought to include a trip up the aerial cableway to the top of Table Mountain, a New7Wonder of Nature; a boat trip to Robben Island, where world-renowned humanitarian Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years; a tour of the Winelands in Durbanville or Stellenbosch; a sightseeing trip along Chapman’s Peak Drive; a relaxing afternoon at the V&A Waterfront; and a drive to Simon’s Town, where a breeding colony of African penguins lives on Boulders Beach.

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Things to do

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Johannesburg

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Johannesburg

What started off as a just a fashion show has now become an annual lifestyle event that showcases the best of South African talent. From firm fashion favourites to emerging artists, the shows feature everything from glamorous garments, ready-to-wear pieces, wedding couture and the latest development in menswear. African Fashion International (AFI) was established as part of an unequivocal determination to propel and restore refined African fashion brands on the global stage. Apart from the established names in the business, the annual couture conference affords young designers the opportunity to dazzle audiences with their fresh ideas and share the runway with the elite crew of trendy exhibitors. Aside from checking out the competition, business-savvy fashionistas can also look forward to the much-anticipated conference where speakers give budding designers business advice and tips on how to stay relevant. This event takes place in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Two Oceans Aquarium: the wonders of both the Indian and Atlantic oceans under one Cape Town roof

Two Oceans Aquarium: the wonders of both the Indian and Atlantic oceans under one Cape Town roof

The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town houses vivid and educational displays of marvellous life from beneath the waters of the Indian and the Atlantic oceans, both of which wash Western Cape shores.

Western Cape: fun in the sun, from the mountains to the sea

Western Cape: fun in the sun, from the mountains to the sea

Western Cape is South Africa’s premier province for fun in the sun: Cape Town is surrounded by world-class wine routes, stunning scenery and unique West Coast and Garden Route flora and fauna.

The Freedom Trail: coast to coast on a mountain bike

The Freedom Trail: coast to coast on a mountain bike

The Freedom Trail is an exhilarating mountain-bike route from East Coast to West Coast in South Africa that runs through some of the most spectacular natural beauty the country has to offer.

Table Mountain National Park, Western Cape: mountain splendour from Cape Town to Cape Point

Table Mountain National Park, Western Cape: mountain splendour from Cape Town to Cape Point

Table Mountain National Park in Western Cape: mountain splendour above urban sprawl, from Cape Town to Cape Point – enjoy natural beauty from penguins at Boulders Beach to fynbos at Kirstenbosch.

Surfing in South Africa: hot weather; cool waves

Surfing in South Africa: hot weather; cool waves

South Africa is a surfer’s paradise, and whether you’re a novice or an old pro, the different conditions of the West Coast, Garden Route, Wild Coast and KwaZulu-Natal offers something for everyone.

South African architectural tours: explore the urban design that built a nation

South African architectural tours: explore the urban design that built a nation

South African urban architectural design tours introduce visitors to the eclectic array of styles and influences behind the country’s most iconic buildings.

South African marathons: 5 races worth running in Msanzi

South African marathons: 5 races worth running in Msanzi

Runners who visit South Africa to conquer iconic marathons like the Comrades or Two Oceans get an added bonus: recovering afterwards on the holiday of a lifetime with a huge range of options.

South African food conservation: making sure the local resources last

South African food conservation: making sure the local resources last

Food conservation is vital to preserving South Africa’s rich plant and animal resources – visitors can support local initiatives while enjoying a range of cuisines from many different cultures.

South African cultural museums: rich traditions and history all over

South African cultural museums: rich traditions and history all over

South Africans are a diverse mix of peoples from Africa, Europe, Asia and elsewhere, and the many museums scattered around the country preserve rich histories, heritages and cultural traditions.

Sea kayaking in Western Cape: ocean views like no other

Sea kayaking in Western Cape: ocean views like no other

Sea kayaking off the coast of Western Cape province is superb exercise, a great way to see some stunning coastline and a chance to soothe your soul in South Africa’s diverse marine environment.

Sandboarding in South Africa: adrenaline adventures whizzing down the dunes

Sandboarding in South Africa: adrenaline adventures whizzing down the dunes

Sandboarding – the sunnier version of snowboarding – is popular in South Africa thanks to several dedicated sites and adventure-tourism outfits offering adrenaline jolts to novice and expert alike.

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