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A Different Town

A Different Town a cable car up Table Mountainthen abseil back down. South Africa has an incredibly diverse shark population.

South African waters and around 40 of these call the waters around Cape Town home. Gansbaii, the white shark capital of the world. Shark cage diving is big business here and the tourism bureau endorses a whopping eight companies. Alternatively, take the safer option and visit the Two Oceans Aquarium. The fascinating and inspirational Robben Island is a symbol both of centuries of cruel oppression and the triumph of hope.

It has become synonymous with the former leader of the free and democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who spent 18 years in its maximum security prison. 60,000 of its residents were forcibly taken from their homes and shipped out to the Cape Flats, before their houses were reduced to rubble. There’s more African food at Marco’s African Place. End your meal with the tongue-in-cheek Group Areas dessert, comprised of white and dark chocolate mousses. Beta Beach Situated a convenient ten minutes’ drive from the city centre, this postage-stamp-sized beach is flanked by big boulders, which makes it great for swimming as well as uninterrupted sun-bathing. Oudekraal Oudekraal lies right next door to Beta Beach.

It offers a protected cove at the bottom of a steep set of stairs, which is surrounded by a thicket of milkwood trees. Since this area forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, there’s a R10 entrance fee, but it’s a negligible amount to pay for the splendour that waits inside. Smitswinkelbaai Further out of town, and heading in the direction of Cape Point, keep a lookout for the tiny gravelled parking area by the side of the road between Simon’s Town and the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Once there, dash across the road and commence a 15-minute downward amble along the overgrown footpath until you reach the unspoilt, isolated Smitswinkelbaai. Tietiesbaai Just under two hours’ drive from town, Tietiesbaai is situated in the Cape Columbine Reserve on the West Coast.

It boasts carpets of colourful wild flowers in spring and a guaranteed soundtrack of silence thanks to the prohibition of anything that blares, barks, roars and whirrs. African Penguin Colony at Boulder’s Beach home. For R5 extra, you can spy on slippery sea life or beach babes through the binoculars dotting the walkway. Nobu is on the opposite end of the price scale, but a culinary and seafood experience par excellence, as is Baia. Here’s our round-up of the best rest and relaxation spots. Cape Winelands feel like a different world. There are rolling vineyards, towering mountains, historic wine estates and more than enough wine to keep even the thirstiest old soak satisfied.

Cape wine enjoys an impressive reputation, and the Winelands are home to most of South Africa’s premier wine estates. The good news is that nearly every farm and estate in the area offers wine-tasting: you’ll need a designated driver, though. Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch are the largest, nearest and most famous towns in the region, but the further you go the more you’ll discover. The Winelands, and their rustic, rural gems such as Robertson and Montagu, offer more than just wine presses and vineyards. The cheeky goats in front of the Goatshed Restaurant love kidding around for the cameras. As you cruise down the Victoria Road stretch, the rows of ritzy drinking holes with their blinged-up, tanned-to-a-tee and beautiful patrons mean that you’re unlikely to be winning any best-dressed trophies should you turn up in flip-flops and a weather-beaten sarong.

Worn Victorian buildings are getting new licks of paint, while derelict warehouses are being transformed into swish art galleries. Not too long ago the area’s gang-ridden reputation branded it a no-go territory for the affluent. Today, the gallery names lining the streets read like a who’s-who of the local contemporary art scene. Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, featuring cutting-edge pieces by a mixed bag of designers. 20 stores carrying everything from Afro-chic crafty items to custom-made pieces and bargain diamond buys. Gold of Africa Museum to see the largest assortment of African gold objects in the world. The city’s rich jazz tradition stems from artists finding inspiration in their struggles during the apartheid years.

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