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Cape Town

Cape Town has one of the most beautiful settings in the world, with Table Mountain dominating the skyline, the Cape Peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope, and stunning coastal scenery. For some, the city's scenery and vibe is reminiscent of the California coast – stark, natural beauty and a laid-back atmosphere. Cape Town is South Africa’s indisputable cultural capital, as the perennial music festivals, world-class hotels, ubiquitous fine-dining experiences, vineyards, and its art galleries and museums demonstrate. It’s a city that paradoxically seems to be both a part of and separate from the continent it’s situated on.

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront boasts a wide variety of upmarket shops, historical buildings, museums (including the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa), waterfront walks, restaurants, nightclubs, luxury hotels, and the Two Oceans Aquarium, which exhibits species from both the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. Tours to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner, depart from the harbor. Boat trips and helicopter rides are also available.

The one-day excursion down the Cape Peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point is one of the finest drives on the continent. During the springtime, a variety of beautiful wildflowers are in bloom. Be sure to stop in Simon’s Town en route to visit the wonderful African penguin colony. Whale watching in the Atlantic seaboard, Hout Bay and False Bay is best from July to October. The Cableway (or three-hour hike) up Table Mountain, with breathtaking views, is a must. On a clear day, the view from the top is the undoubtedly the best way to capture how beautiful Cape Town truly is.

Additionally, the city is full of superb restaurants, and in the surrounding Cape Winelands, many of South Africa's best vineyards. The wine producing areas are within a 2-hour drive of Cape Town. They offer an amazing array of different wine styles from many estates, private wine cellars and cooperatives. The two most notable areas are those surrounding the towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. A superb marine- and mountain-influenced climate, coupled with stunning scenery, makes this an attractive area to visit.

February through April is the best time to visit Cape Town because there is very little wind; October to January is warm and windy and is also a good time to visit. The rains fall between May and August, when it can be quite cold.

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