The Mother City: Cape Town
The city of Cape Town in South Africa widely referred to as The Mother City by visitors and locals is nothing but a sight to behold. Why is it called ‘The Mother City’? Legend has it that in the 1930’s a local Cape Town newspaper claimed that Cape Town was the only city in South Africa that could justly call itself a metropolis.
The public took to this description and because the word ‘metropolis’ is taken from the Greek derivative of meter or metros meaning mother and polis meaning city, the nickname of “Mother City” was born, but we will never really know.
It is a city full of landscapes, mountains, beaches, good vibes and diverse races. Gentrification aside, Cape Town is the ultimate vacation spot and the people are quite laid back, they speak mainly Afrikaans and Xhosa (this is pronounced ‘thosa’ but with a click of the tongue. Took me a while to get it right, but you’ll get a hang of it).
The first instinct every visitor has is to sign up for a tour package, as this helps see the tourist points of the city and also save money on transportation but nothing beats checking out the city with a locale. I suggest both.
The Victoria & Alfred(popularly called V&A) Waterfront is a major attraction and should be your first stop, The Cape Wheel gives you a 30 minute view of the entire city on a Ferris wheel. There are a ton of waterfront tour guides with packages that take you around the sea, you can go diving, experience sea animals, feed seals and visit Robben Island; the prison where three South African presidents, Nelson Mandela, KgalemaMotlantheand current President Jacob Zuma served time. The V&A Waterfront also has the Victoria Wharf mall, a ton of restaurants with diverse cuisine, Cape Town comedy club, city tour buses, The Two Oceans aquarium (they have sharks!), accommodation and parking, so you never have to leave.
The infamous Long Street is another mandatory destination, with a ton of restaurants, roadside shops, spas, salons, clubs and lounges. You can spend hours there. The youthful feel and actual presence of youth gives it an urban atmosphere, so anyone can have a good time on Long Street.
It does not matter what you’re in Cape Town for, do not leave without visiting the Table Mountain and Hout Bay. Table Mountain got its name from its flat surface which makes it look like a table, you can take the cable car or hike to the flat top, where you can have lunch, shop for souvenirs and meet other stunned visitors, and the view is divine. Hout Bay is great for feeding seals but do not forget to stop by its Mariner Wharf for some fish and chips. I recommend hake and chips, put some vinegar on that hake and look at the beautiful view before your eyes.
Whether you wine your problems away or just have a glass a month, Groot Constantia is for you, the oldest wine estate in South Africa where you can go wine tasting and wine/chocolate pairing for less than R80. Just remember not to drive. You can also see the vast wine fields, the Groot Constantia museum and eat at gourmet restaurants. There’s food everywhere in The Mother City.
Kirstenboch Gardens is a world-class botanical garden with mountain scenery, also the first indigenous botanical garden in the world. It is stunning, serene, relaxing and perfect for a picnic or meditation. There’s also food. World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park are great stops if you’re on a family vacation or just as obsessed with nature as I am.
Cape Town has a lot of bays, the most popular one, Sandy Bay is a nudist beach, you do not have to visit but it’s a fun fact every visitor should know. Visit Camps Bay, it’s a beautiful beach side with lots of young people, if you are there to mingle. If you aren’t, no worries because, just on the other side of the road, there are a ton of bars and clubs for the partygoers.
Cape Town is a beautiful and captivating city for a personal, friend or family vacation. There’s something for everyone. Also, you should know that Cape Town is just the capital of the Western Cape, feel free to explore other cities like Stellenbosch, Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape), George and Garden Route.