Voted No.2 in the top cities to visit in 2017 by Lonely Planet and constantly in the top 10 cities in Africa, Cape Town is a colourful and vibrant city with so much on offer for the visitor. On our first morning we travelled on the cable car to the top of Table Mountain from where you get a 360 degree view of Cape Town and the surrounding countryside and on a clear day you can see to Cape Point, some 70 kms away. Un fortunately there was heavy cloud around so visibility was not brilliant but the clouds lifted every so often so we could get a good view.
Late morning had us walking the paths at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens situated 13 kms from the centre of Cape Town, These beautiful gardens have been acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world and few can match the grandeur of the setting, against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. The gardens were founded in 1913 to preserve the unique flora of South Africa and now contain many rare plants and the outdoor areas focus on plants native to the Cape region. There is a 358 year old Wild Almond tree in the gardens, planted by Jan van Riebeck to afford some protection to the perimeter of the newly established Dutch colony, and it is a mass of large branches now all intertwined and stretching out over a large area of ground. To be able to stand next to this old tree knowing that it was planted so long ago and it has survived was amazing but then again, nature is amazing. You can spend many hours in the gardens and if you are lucky to be in Cape Town during the summer months you can attend concerts in the grounds most Sunday evenings sitting on the lawn, having a picnic and listening to music.
Another great attraction in this fine city is the trip to Robben Island to visit the prison where Nelson Mandela spent part of his 27 years in prison. The tour is very well organised starting with the boat ride to the Island where you are taken by bus to the prison complex. Our guide was a former inmate at Robben Island and he was so knowledgable about the Island and the inmates that it made the trip a memorable experience. The Island has been used since the colonisation of the Cape as a prison and for all prisoners it must have been heartbreaking to be standing on the Island and seeing Cape Town only 13.9 km away but totally unreachable.
The day was finished off with a seafood dinner at the V&A Waterfront which is a great location to relax and enjoy a drink and good food after a very busy sightseeing day.
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