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Places of interest in Cape Town

Cape Town and its surrounds have countless places of interest with some attractions being more well-known and some are slightly off the beaten track. Whatever your hobby or field of interest there will be something to interest you in Cape Town. We have compiled a small list of the top Cape Town attractions and some of the most interesting places surrounding Afton Grove.

1. Robben Island
2. Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
3. Table Mountain
4. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
5. Constantia Wine Tour
6. Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
7. Cultural Cape Town
8. Simon’s Town
9. Noordhoek Farm Village

10. 101 things to do in Cape Town

ROBBEN ISLAND:

Booking and information: 021 413 4220 www.robben-island.org A World Heritage site and now a living museum, Robben Island is the most famous apartheid prison and was “home” to Nelson Mandela and many other political dissidents for a great portion of their lives. Nelson Mandela officially opened the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island on December 1, 2001 at the V&A Waterfront. Robben Island was declared a World Heritage site in 1997 and has become a symbol of the triumph of the human spirit.

A tour of the Robben Island Museum is a multifaceted journey which begins at the Gateway, where multi-media exhibitions, a restaurant, an auditorium, and a museum shop are housed.

Tours of the island start with a spectacular ferry trip and tours are guided and conducted by former prisoners. The tour includes visiting the maximum security prison, the limestone quarry, the churches and a kramat on the Island. Daily boat trips depart from Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront. Tours run daily and last for about 3.5 hours in total. Booking is essential. Call 021 413 4220/1 or visit www.robben-island.org

VICTORIA AND ALFRED WATERFRONT

Information Centre: 021 408 7600 www.waterfront.co.za
30 minutes drive from Afton Grove

Developed around the older wharves of the scenic Cape Town harbour, the buildings here date back to 1860, when Prince Alfred (Queen Victoria's son) tipped the rock for construction of the breakwater. Original buildings have been renovated and new buildings have been built in the same Victorian style. This waterfront complex is located in the dynamic setting of a working harbour with seagulls and fur seals waiting for scraps from fishing boats and tugs tied next to luxury yachts. The V&A waterfront offers visitors a cosmopolitan choice of restaurants, two shopping centres, two craft markets, cinemas, bars and entertainment.

The V&A is also home to a range of cultural landmarks including museums, historic buildings and exclusive access to one of the country’s essential heritage sites, Robben Island. One can also embark on a helicopter flip over the Cape Peninsula to see Afton Grove from the air, or visit the Two Oceans Aquarium offering 300 species of underwater creatures and scuba divers have the opportunity to dive with sharks.

Useful Contact Numbers:
Two Oceans Aquarium: Tel: 021 418 3823
Robben Island Museum: Tel: 021 419 1300
Civair Helicopters Tel: 021 419 5182
Tigress, Sunset / Champagne Cruises Tel: 021 419 1510

TABLE MOUNTAIN

Cableway Station: 021 424 8181 www.tablemountain.net
30 minutes drive from Afton Grove

Standing at 1086 m above sea level, and approximately 3 km wide, this spectacular mountain which forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, dominates Cape Town and is a must when visiting Afton Grove. You can walk, climb, bike, abseil or paraglide the mountain. You can, of course, take the elegant Swiss-designed revolving cable car if you simply want the view and the surprise of a different world on top of the mountain. Do ask us at Afton Grove for recommended routes if you are planning to walk up the mountain.

Wooden walkways and designated paths allow you to wander around at the top without damaging the unique plant life. Dassies (rock hyrax) that look like overgrown guinea pigs, laze around on the sun-warmed rocks. The weather on the summit is unpredictable and it is always advisable to call the weatherline on the day of your visit to check the weather conditions and operating status. Pre-booking is recommended in summer. Remember to take a hat, sunscreen, camera as well as a windbreaker as it can sometimes be quite chilly at the top. There are restaurants and shops at the top of the table (you can even post a postcard from the top of the mountain), so don't forget your wallet!

KIRSTENBOSCH NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDENS

Kirstenbosch Information: 021 799 8783 www.sanbi.org
20 minutes drive from Afton Grove

The beautiful Kirstenbosch gardens, nestled against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain is world-renowned for its display of Cape Flora. Founded in 1913 the Garden only grows indigenous South African plants and has also been voted as one of the seven magnificent gardens of the world. Approximately 6 000 species of Southern Africa's flora are represented, particularly that of the Cape floral kingdom, known as fynbos. A well-know birding "hotspot", the well maintained gardens, adjacent fynbos and indigenous forest support an attractive diversity of species. Numerous hiking trails commence at this point, offering spectacular views of the city from the vantage points along the slopes of the mountain.

You will come across some unusual features as you stroll through the gardens. There is a cycad bush in a cage, the last of its kind left in the world. It has no mate for propagation and needs protection from souvenir hunters. Amongst the shrubs you will see impressive stone sculptures large and small, which are part of a permanent exhibition of Shona art from Zimbabwe. Colonel Bird's Bath in The Dell is shaped like a bird and has a crystal clear spring bubbling into it and through a stream filled with stepping stones that delight children. There is also a Braille Trail and scented garden where you'll find sweet and strange smelling plants, with a guide to their medicinal uses.

Apart from the year round splendour of the gardens and the frequent art exhibitions, in summer, there is a series of Sunday "sunset" musical concerts, which are very popular. Order a picnic hamper from The Silvertree Restaurant at Kirstenbosch (well in advance) to enjoy under the trees while the music serenades your soul. Remember to take a blanket / chairs / cushions to sit on and something warm for when the sun has set. The gardens offer a good restaurant and delightful curio shop, as well as guided theme tours twice a week.

CONSTANTIA WINE ROUTE

Constantia Valley Vineyards: 021 794 5128 www.constantiavalley.com
15 minutes drive from Afton Grove

Resting in the cool shadow of majestic Table Mountain, you will find some of the oldest wine estates in the country. Embark on a gastronomic discovery through the Constantia Vineyards which span the south eastern slopes of the Table Mountain National Park. Cool coastal breezes, combined with the ancient soil in the valley and the unique influences of the fynbos result in the production of remarkable wines. The Constantia Wine Route is made up of Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Constantia Uitsig and Steenberg – all are big in quality, rich in history and boast a unique terroir and boast a winemaking history dating back to 1685.

Groot Constantia, the Cape's oldest vineyard and fine Cape Dutch homestead is located here and is well worth a visit. In the late 1980's a bottle of 1791 Constantia wine was discovered in the Duke of Northumberland's cellar in the UK, and returned to South Africa for a ceremonial tasting. Napoleon is said to have favoured the sweet wines of Constantia above all others and this two hundred year old deep amber liquid had withstood the passing years amazingly well. Its sweet fruity flavour scored incredible 18.7 points out of 20, by the wine experts on the tasting panel. Contact the estates for details on wine tastings, cellar tours, restaurants etc.

CAPE POINT & THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE NATURE RESERVE

Visitor Centre Management and information: 021 789 9010 www.capepoint.co.za
30 minutes drive from Afton Grove

One of the major attractions in the area is Cape Point itself, with the legendary Cape of Good Hope. Situated within the Table Mountain National Park, the combination of sea, mountains and indigenous animals is hard to beat. Take the Flying Dutchman funicular to the old lighthouse (and find out why it is called the Flying Dutchman) or climb the stairs to the top if you feel like exerting some energy. At the Cape Point promontory you may not literally see two oceans meeting but you will most definitely share in the “end of a continent” feel.

Don’t make the mistake of dashing up, taking a photograph and leaving the reserve. There is a glorious walk along the cliffs to the new lighthouse, which has the most powerful beam of any lighthouse in South Africa. When you come down, invariably with a true impression of the power of the wind, indulge at the Two Oceans Restaurant for breakfast, lunch, tea or cocktails or pop into the souvenir and curio shop for a momento.

Spend some time ticking off the list of animals, various small mammals, antelope, zebras, baboons and birds. Stop at the informative Buffelsfontein information centre and visit some of the beaches that are a little off the beaten track. A visit to the reserve could take you the whole day!

CULTURAL CAPE TOWN

Diversity is the keynote to South African culture and we have not been dubbed the Rainbow nation for nothing. Cape Town has a cosmopolitan cultural mix which has been influenced over the years mainly by the Dutch, French and British, with a significant influence also having come from Malaysia, to combine with the Khoi-san and isi-Xhosa immigrants from the Eastern Cape.
Museums, theatres, galleries, crafts, political and historical sites reflect South Africa's rich past and recent history.

Natural History Museums:

iziko South African Museum. Established in 1825, this is the oldest museum in south Africa. Collections reflect the rich natural and cultural diversity of the subcontinent. Exhibition highlights include the Whale Well, shark World and Fossil Stories. Among the treasures on view are the Lydenburg Heads and a fine collection of San rock paintings and engravings. TEL: 021 481 3800

iziko Planetarium Introduction to the wonders of the universe and the science of astronomy. “theatre of the stars”. The southern hemisphere night sky is revealed in a range of shows for children and adults. TEL : 021 481 3900

iziko West Coast Fossil Park110km from Cape Town, it is being developed into a field museum. The fossil site tells of ancient ecology and climatic changes that occurred in the cape 5 million years ago. Guided tours include a visit to the ongoing excavation site where you see preserved fossils of long extinct animals such as the giraffe-like sivathefe. TEL: 022 766 1606

Art History Museums:

iziko South African National Gallery South Africa's premier art museum houses outstanding collections of South African, African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art.TEL: 021 – 467 4660

iziko Michaelis Collection This collection is housed in the former City Hall (the Old Town House) and consists of a world-renowned selection of Nederlandish art from the seventeenth-century Golden Age. There are works by Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Jacob Ruisdal, Anthony van Dyck and numerous others.TEL: 021 – 481 3933

iziko Natale Labia Count Natale Labia donated the furniture and a collection of works for public display. The original character of the reception rooms has been retained, but the upper level was altered to house temporary exhibitions, lecture rooms and working spaces. Visits are by appointment only TEL: 021 – 788 4106

Irma Stern museum Originally the artist’s home, now houses a collection of her work and her African collections. It is a venue for changing exhibitions and poetry readings. TEL: 021 685 5686

Sanlam Art gallery (Tygerberg) Permanent collection of South African works. TEL: 021 947 3165

Social History Museums:

Iziko Rust en Vreugd built in 1778 as a townhouse; now the finest surviving example of 18th century urban architecture in the country. Houses some of the William Fehr collection – watercolours, etchings and engravings of Africa in 16th – 19th Century. TEL: 021 464 3280

Iziko Koopmans-De Wet House Early 18th Century – this museum is furnished as a lived-in house of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Collection of Cape furniture, chineses ceramics, dutch delft etc TEL: 021 481 3935

Iziko Bertram House Early 19th Century Georgian house in the Company Gardens. Furnished dining room, drawing room and study. TEL: 021 481 3940

Iziko Slave Lodge built in 1679, this is the second oldest colonial building in cape town. Was initially a lodge for the slaves of the Dutch East India company, then the first post office, library and supreme court. The People’s Collection and displays on Cape history, Khoisan herders, African money and slavery are on view. TEL: 021 460 8242

Iziko South African Maritime Museum Displays on maritime themes such as whaling, shipwrecks, Union Castle Liners, history of Table Bay Harbour and cadet training. Largest ship model collection in Africa and a wooden hulled yacht. TEL: 021 405 2880

Iziko SAS Somerset part of the SA maritime collection this wartime vessel is permantently moored for public viewing. TEL: 021 419 2442

Iziko Bo-kaap Museum Situated in the Bo-kaap, an area that became home to many Muslims after the abolition of slavery. Aspects of Muslim cultural heritage displayed. TEL: 021 481 3939

Iziko William Fehr Collection Housed in the Castle of Good Hope – Cape Town’s oldest building. Internationally acclaimed paintings, furniture, ceramics of late 17th Century to mid- 19th Century TEL: 021 464 1260

District Six Museum Lots of township tours stop here to explain the history of the pass laws. It is for the people as much as about them. Map of district Six, ex –residents have labeled where their homes were, reconstructions of home interiors, faded photographs and recordings. All staff are ex residents. TEL: 021 466 7200

South African Jewish Museum History of South Africa’s Jewish community. The museum includes the Cape Town Holocaust centre and draws parallels of anti-semitism with the South African struggle for freedom. it is also possible to visit the Baroque Great SynagogueTEL : 021 – 465 1546

Gold of Africa Museum Largest collection of African gold artifacts. Working studios, gold boutique, wine cellar and art garden. TEL: 021 405 1540

Hout Bay Museum History of the suburb of Hout Bay, has a Veldkos Garden and offers guided walks and environment classes for school groups. TEL: 021 790 0116

South African Naval Museum Archives both British and local naval history and houses a submarine diorama. The museum is the custodian of the Martello Tower (one of the worlds oldest Corsican towers). TEL: 021 787 4635

Simon’s Town Museum Built in 1777, archives the town’s history and is housed in the Residency – former home of the Dutch East India Company governors. TEL: 786 3046

Simon’s Town Warrior Toy Museum This museum showcases a unique collection of toy cars and trains, dolls and lead soldiers. Great for kids young and old.TEL: 786 1395

Heritage Museum Depicts the local Malay heritage and the influence of their forced removal during the apartheid era. TEL: 021 786 2302

Fish Hoek Valley Museum Houses interactive displays of the Peers Cave excavations as well as collections of local interest. TEL: 021 782 1752

SA Rugby Museum depicts SA’s rugby history with memorabilia and photographic displays. TEL: 021 686 2151

Airforce Museum located at Ysterplaat Aerodromr off Piet Grobler Str, Milnerton gives an insight into the history of Aviation. TEL: 021 508 6576

SIMONS’ TOWN

Recently penguin mania has hit Hollywood with popular movies - Madagascar, March of the Penguins and Happy Feet. As a result penguins are a star attraction and one of the highlights of any visit to Simons’ Town. But Simon’s town has loads more to offer than our quirky feathered friends at Boulders Beach.

Named after Cape Governor Simon van der Stel in 1687, Simons’ Town provided a valuable anchorage during the Dutch Colonial era and after the British took over in 1814, because it was the Royal Navy's main South Atlantic base until the 1950's. Steeped in history with acquired charm, this village now features its own waterfront development, a yacht club, and fascinating architecture from South Africa’s third oldest town.

There are 4 museums in town, an historical mile with a multitude of historical tales and buildings to match the distance. Boat trips head off in all directions and one of our favourite activities is sea kayaking. Don’t miss Scratch Patch and Mineral World – the largest gem stone factory in the southern hemisphere, where you can scratch for your own bag of semi precious stones.

NOORDHOEK FARM VILLAGE


Information Office. Tel: 021 789 1317 www.noordhoekvillage.co.za
5 minutes drive from Afton Grove

This shopping and entertainment village in the heart of Noordhoek has a charming character with white cottages of Cape Dutch architecture set under mature, shady oaks.

Buy local fresh produce from the farmstall, which also serves light meals, or wander around the interesting range of quality shops selling African crafts, antiques, handmade ceramics and ethnic clothing. Visit the local artists who display their work at the “Cellars” or simply enjoy a wine-tasting of local wines.

Enjoy leisurely breakfast, lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants or pubs 7 days a week – The Food Barn run by acclaimed chef Frank Dangeraux, the cozy and welcoming Café Roux and the warmth of the Nags Head.























































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