Cape Town and the Western Cape is a land where unexpected discoveries haunt you all the time. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, another surprise appears around the corner. The province has white sandy beaches, lush forests of ancient trees, winding coastal routes, mountain trails and nature reserves, as well as a sea of handicraft souvenirs for every taste, art festivals and magnificent architecture of historical buildings. But of course, you should not forget to visit wine farms, watch the fun games of whales and dolphins, swim with penguins, ride ostriches and take the cable car to Table Mountain.
The heart of the province is home to one of the world’s six largest botanical gardens, the Fynbos Floral Region. The Western Cape Flower Kingdom has more plant species than all of Europe. The variety of wonderful natural beauty has always attracted nature lovers, rock climbers and hikers inexorably. Fortunately, here they have a large selection of nature reserves, unique hiking trails and botanical gardens.
According to Best-Medical-Schools.com, the Cape is one of the best places in the world for whale watching from shore. The coasts of South Africa are home to 29 species of whales, including the killer whale and 8 species of baleen whales. Whales are most often found along the Cape Peninsula, where they seek shelter in bays in search of food. June and December are the best times to watch them all along the coast of the Cape. Humpback whales visit the shores of the Cape from May to December. The coastal cliffs of the city of Hermanus are considered the best place for whale watching from the shore, while whale watching in the ocean is more popular in False Bay.
The Wine Valleys, known locally as Boland, are full of wine farms. The quaint towns nestled in the green valleys of the province are distinguished by white-washed Dutch-style Cape houses found only in the Cape. The fishing villages of the West Coast peacefully coexist with seaside resorts that stretch along the coast. Along its edges lies the Garden Path, rich in virgin forests, multi-colored bird and plant life, pristine lakes, pristine beaches and mountain peaks.
In absolute contrast to this is the semi-desert expanses of the Little Karoo Kannaland region and the wide plains of the prehistoric Central Karoo. The province has a typical Mediterranean climate, with warm and dry days in summer and cool and rainy days in winter. The average temperature in summer is from 15 C to 27 C, in winter from 7 C to 18 C. The temperature in the central regions of the province is usually 3 degrees higher. The exceptions are the arid semi-arid Karoo region, which has dry winters and little rain in summer, the West Coast, which is relatively dry and windy, and the Garden Path along the southern Cape, which is known for its mild climate and where rain is possible all year round. Spring begins in August with the blooming of the first wildflowers. The hottest months are usually December and January. In summer, the sun rises before 6 o’clock and sets around 8 o’clock, thus forming a long and slightly tiring summer day. The winds are strongest from October to December, and when the southeasterly wind blows, a dense curtain of clouds rises over Table Mountain. Locals affectionately call this wind “Doctor Cape” as it breathes fresh air into Cape life.
The province has a rich history of resettlement.
The mix of cultures, religions and traditions in the Western Cape has given rise to a kaleidoscope of lifestyles and a rich cultural heritage. The cultural diversity of the Western Cape is one of its most dynamic areas. A delicious blend of different cuisines, ranging from Malay dishes of curry, fish and lobster cooked over an open fire, to plain leg of lamb or ostrich steak. Sea delicacies – lobsters, shrimps, squids, crabs are presented in abundance, and it is best to enjoy them right on the beach. The Western Cape produces award-winning wines that are considered some of the best in the world. Pinotage is a unique red wine produced only in the Western Cape. Numerous wine estates offer connoisseurs and connoisseurs a large selection of table wines, port wine, sherry, nutmeg and cognacs.
The art of African artisans is widely represented in special markets in cities or directly on the streets along the roads. These can be traditional animal figurines made of wood or soapstone, wicker cane baskets decorated with beads, or objects that imitate modern tin cans, plastic bags, and masterpieces of modern art from piercing. Souvenir markets are also a good source for replenishing your wardrobe with handmade clothes, various jewelry, furniture and other household items.
Of particular interest is the architecture of the Cape, represented by a unique Cape-Dutch style. Throughout the wine region, you can find houses in this style. Initially, these houses were designed for a colder European climate, later they were adapted to the local climate. The walls were made thicker to protect the occupants from the summer heat, although the structure of the roof remained unchanged. In those days, travel took a lot of time and large kitchens and living rooms were made in houses especially for receiving guests.
The province is home to some of the country’s oldest churches, beautiful kramats (Muslim temples) and sandstone chapels. Victorian bungalows adorned with Venetian glass, huge estates of ostrich barons and fishermen’s cottages scattered along the coast are also typical of the Cape. On the Cape Peninsula, you can find the tombs of holy Muslims, some of whom were deported from the Dutch colonies to the East for opposing the Dutch authorities. Muslims believe that these kramats spiritually protect against natural disasters. Local worshipers visit each tomb before the obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca.
Museums and cultural attractions are presented in abundance in the province. Many of the museums are the restored homes of great people who played a significant role in the past of South Africa, a visit to which allows you to perfectly plunge into the lifestyle of those times. Others introduce history and works of art. The most ancient of which are the cave paintings of the San tribes, reflecting the lifestyle and instincts of the ancient hunters. this can apply to both Cape Town and excursions in general.