Since hosting the World Cup in 2010, Cape Town received a surge in tourism-based investment and migration. A slew of new hotels, restaurants and wine bars opened throughout the city, not to mention added transport links and tours to nearby vineyards and grittier cities like Johannesburg.
But long before the gods of soccer smiled on this picturesque city by the sea, Cape Town attracted curious travellers for its monumental landscapes, like Table Mountain and the national park, which surrounds it, forming a majestic backdrop to the city’s urban core. Because Cape Town is so enmeshed in its natural environment— mountains, foothills, and the ocean—it’s a seriously sporty town, one where water sports and mountaineering feature prominently.
That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a slower pace in Cape Town. Lazy strolls on Victoria and Albert Waterfront are divine, as are boat trips to whale watch, snorkel and scuba dive; or to visit Robben Island, the Alcatraz of South Africa.
Wine tasting is another popular pastime near Cape Town, with nearly a dozen vineyards, like the wine lands of Stellenbosch, under an hour’s drive from the city centre. And like South African wines, Cape Town’s gallery scene is drawing attention. More than 100 art galleries hold events and show works throughout the year.