If you're planning a trip to South Africa, the chances are that you're planning on at least visiting Cape Town. Holidays in this region aren't short of things to do, so I've listed a handful of attractions which I think are must-sees. There's something for everyone - culture, wildlife, history and exquisite natural beauty. So without further delay, here are my top 5 things to do on holiday to Cape Town:
See the Penguins of Boulders Beach
While most people associate penguins with cooler arctic climates, the African penguins seem to be doing fine at the Boulders Beach penguin sanctuary in Cape Town. Travel here and you'll be able to observe the feathered wonders from a distance, or even join them down on the beach for some sunbathing! Although they are quite at home amongst humans, be aware that they are not petting animals, and will respond to touching with a warning nip!
Explore the Castle of Good Hope
As the oldest building in South Africa, the Castle of Good Hope is well worth a visit for any Cape Town holiday maker. Built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company, the attraction has guided tours around showing visitors the dungeons, dolphin pool and blacksmith. Within its pentagonal walls, this historic monument holds the national defence force of the Western Cape, the William Fehr collection of historic artworks, a military museum and ceremonial facilities for traditional cape regiments.
See Mandela's Cell on Robben Island
Few prisons in the world have the reputation of Robben Island, which for nearly 400 years held political opponents and other unwanted members of society. A former prison inmate leads the 2 and a half hour tour, which offers a fascinating insight into the oppression of recent times. As part of the tour, Cape Town holiday makers get to see the tiny cell which housed Nelson Mandela for 18 of his 27 years on the island.
Enjoy the Wildlife of the Cape Point Nature Reserve
A highlight of Cape Town travel is the Cape Point Nature Reserve. As well as being aesthetically stunning, the reserve holds a huge number of endangered species including four types of whale, three dolphin, four tortoise and 250 bird species! Botanists also need not feel left out - there's an amazing 1016 species of plant life.
Watch the Sunset from Table Mountain
However you decide to travel up Cape Town's Table Mountain (you can hike or take the four minute cable car), you're in for a treat when you get there. The views are stunning throughout, and it's no wonder that it's such a tourist attraction. Restaurants with great views are available at the top, allowing you to enjoy the sunset with a bottle of South African wine - the perfect conclusion to any Cape Town holiday!
On top of this, there's the aquarium, the beach, the winelands and many other exciting things to take in. One thing's for sure - you'll never be short of things to do on a holiday to Cape Town, and the chances are you'll want to come back time and time again.
Sally Rushbrooke is a South Africa expert for key2holidays, an online tour operator specialising in Cape Town holidays , as well as trips to Australia, Cuba, the Caribbean, Europe, the Far East, the Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles, Egypt and the Arabian Gulf.