The Western Cape
Unmatched natural beauty, famous hospitality and cultural diversity make the Western Cape one of the world’s greatest tourist attractions.
Points of interest
The capital city of Cape Town is cradled by the maternal presence of Table Mountain: one of the Western Cape’s Unesco World Heritage Sites and an entirely unique floral kingdom; characterised by fynbos and proteas and containing more plant species than Europe.
The other is Robben Island former prison and now national monument, the island was `home’ to many of South Africa’s freedom fighters including Nelson Mandela where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison.
The beauty of the vineyards, Cape Dutch manor homes and excellent cuisine in the winelands region of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek tempt visitors to taste their products. with a wide selection of wine farms and cellars as well as the rich historical and cultural heritage of museums, galleries and numerous restaurants serving the finest cuisine.
The V & A Waterfront – Set within a working harbour, this is Cape Town’s most visited attraction consisting of a diversity of shopping, eating, entertainment as well as sightseeing facilities
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – One of the world’s leading botanical gardens showcasing only indigenous South African plants.
Cape Point – The southern most tip of the Cape Peninsula situated within the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, it consists of incredible scenery, magnificent views and the mountains of the Cape.
The Garden Route around Knysna and Tsitsikamma has the country’s largest indigenous forests, giant ferns and abundant birdlife.
Whales are frequently sited along the Cape Overberg Coast along the cliff paths of Hermanus, Kleinmond and Onrus.
The wild Cape Agulhas coast consists of sweeping stretches of sand and charming fishing villages of the West Coast aside. The gracious mountain peaks form the backdrop to a land so lovely that it seems a fantasy landscape. The West coast is packed with a concentration of more plant species than anywhere else in the world and is well known for its quality seafood.
Oudtshoorn -The capital of the Klein Karoo and ‘ostrich-feather capital’ of the world.
Cango Caves -A series of caverns and chambers naturally developed out of limestone
The Western Cape is topographically and climatically varied. Generally the summers are hot and dry with cool, wet winters.
Typically Mediterranean with hot and dry summers from late October to March, with mild winters and seasonal rain from June to August and a pleasant spring and autumn. December and January are the busiest months in Cape Town with February notorious for being the hottest month of the year.
The Northern Cape
The Northern Cape is the largest province of South Africa. The capital is Kimberley, named for the intrusions of kimberlite which punctuate the Karoo rocks containing its precious natural resource: diamonds. In their search for the precious stones the largest hole ever dug by man was created here.
Points of Interest
The Big Hole – Known to be the largest man-made excavation sight in the world Manually dug by pick and shovels by diamond miners, it was mined to a depth of about 800m.
Sutherland Observatory -Housing the largest telescope in the southern hemisphere – known as ”SALT” (South African Largest Telescope) it is able to observe a candle flame on the moon
The Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, part of an extensive international park shared with Botswana, is one of the largest conservation areas in southern Africa and one of the largest protected ecosystems in the world. It provides unfenced access to a variety of game between South Africa and Botswana over an area of 3.6 million hectares.
The spectacular Augrabies Falls on the Orange River flows through the province and forms the borders with the Free State in the southeast and Namibia to the northwest.
The west coast is dominated by the Namaqualand region and although it is semi desert, it falls into the winter rainfall area and gives breathtakingly beautiful and explosive displays of wild flowers from late July to November.
The Northern Cape is also home to over 1 000 San (Bushmen) who emigrated from Namibia following the independence of the country; they had served as trackers and scouts for the South African government during the war and feared reprisals from their former foes. They speak ancient Khoisan languages such as Nama and Nlu.
This semi-arid region has extreme seasons and particularly hot conditions in the summer with little rainfall. In winter snow often blankets the surrounding mountains