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Information on Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Conference Venues South Africa brings you information on Cape Town situated in the Western Cape Province of South Africa including information on history, location, geography, attractions.

conference centres Cape Town

Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the largest in land area, forming part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality. It is the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape, as well as the legislative capital of South Africa, where the National Parliament and many government offices are situated. Cape Town is famous for its harbour as well as its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom, including such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is Africa's most popular destination for tourism.

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Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town was originally developed by the Dutch East India Company as a victualling (supply) station for Dutch ships sailing to Eastern Africa, India, and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck's arrival on 6 April 1652 established the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town quickly outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony. Until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the development of Johannesburg, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa.

It is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa. As of 2007 the city had an estimated population of 3.5 million. Cape Town's land area of 2,455 square kilometres (948 sq mi) is larger than other South African cities, resulting in a comparatively lower population density of 1,425 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,690 /sq mi).


Cape Town History

Traces of the tools of early stone age hunter-gatherers found in the area of modern day Cape Town indicate that this area was inhabited by prehistoric people as much as 600 000 years ago. Most well known of these prehistoric hunter-gatherer is probably the the San (Bushmen) which relied almost solely on what the seashore had to offer for their food. About 2000 years ago the San was displaced by the Khoikhoi from the north, bringing with them their herds of cattle and sheep. By the time the first Europeans settled into the Table Bay area the Khoikhoi was the dominant tribe in the area.

The first European settlement in the Cape Town area was in the form of a supply station established in1652 by the Dutch East India Company at the newly christened Cape of Good Hope. This supply station quickly evolved into a colonial settlement. With the growth of the settlement the Khoi-San was driven away and slaves had to be imported from Madagascar, India, Ceylon, Malaya, and Indonesia to help build the colonial settlement.

By the early 18th century the Western Cape Khoikhoi population had completely disintegrated and the influx of German and French religious refugees swelled the European population. At that time slavery had become the economic backbone of the colony. By 1750 Cape Town had become a town with over 1000 buildings and 2500 inhabitants.

In order to secure this strategic sea route to the east, Britain quickly grabbed Cape Town in 1795. This was not welcomed by the Calvinist Dutch Burghers but for the substantial Muslim Slave population this was good news as the British soon ordered the abolition of slavery. The British also allowed freedom of religion resulting in the first Mosque built in Dorp Street in the Bo-Kaap.

By the 19th century Cape Town had a Seaport of major significance and department stores, banks and insurance company buildings became evident everywhere. Victoria road was built from City to Sea Point and a Suburban railway line to Wynberg laid. As slavery was abolished convict labor had to be imported from the colonial frontier in the Eastern Cape to build the city.

Cape Town became the legislative capital of the union in1910. By 1945 the increasing industrialization had attracted an influx of black workers which were housed in the locations of Guguletu and Nyanga. Three years later the National Party came to power and they introduced a policy that favored coloureds over blacks for employment.

The Langa township of Cape Town became a stronghold of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) . On April8,1960 the PAC organized a peaceful anti-pass demonstration in Cape Town. The police opposed the demonstration killing three demonstrators and wounding many. As a result of this incident the government declared a state of emergency and consequently anti-apartheid groups such as the PAC & ANC was banned. In 1966 the government introduced the group areas act. As a result of this act coloured communities were removed from district six to the desolate Cape Flats. Here gangsterism took root which is still prelevant today in the Cape Flats.

In 1986 the government scrapped influx control and blacks poured into Cape Town seeking work and erecting shanty towns. The influx was so great that Cape Town soon became one of the fasting growing cities in the world. In 1990 Mandela was released and soon a non-racial democracy was established in South Africa

Cape Town Geography

The centre of Cape Town is located at the northern end of the Cape Peninsula. Table Mountain forms a dramatic backdrop to the City Bowl, with its plateau over 1,000 m (3,300 ft) high; it is surrounded by near-vertical cliffs, Devil's Peak and Lion's Head. Sometimes a thin strip of cloud forms over the mountain, and owing to its appearance, it is colloquially known as the "tablecloth". The peninsula consists of a dramatic mountainous spine jutting southwards into the Atlantic Ocean, ending at Cape Point. There are over 70 peaks above 1,000 feet (300 m) (the American definition of a mountain) within Cape Town's official city limits. Many of the suburbs of Cape Town are on the large plain of the Cape Flats, which joins the peninsula to the mainland. The Cape Flats lie on what is known as a rising marine plain, consisting mostly of sandy geology which shows that at one point Table Mountain itself was an island.

Cape Town Tourism

Cape Town is not only the most popular international tourist destination in South Africa, but also one of Africa's most popular international tourist destinations. This is due to its good climate, natural setting, and well-developed infrastructure. The city has several well-known natural features that attract tourists, most notably Table Mountain, which forms a large part of the Table Mountain National Park and is the back end of the City Bowl. Reaching the top of the mountain can be achieved either by hiking up, or by taking the Table Mountain Cableway. Cape Point is recognised as the dramatic headland at the end of the Cape Peninsula. Many tourists also drive along Chapman's Peak Drive, a narrow road that links Noordhoek with Hout Bay, for the views of the Atlantic Ocean and nearby mountains. It is possible to either drive or hike up Signal Hill for closer views of the City Bowl and Table Mountain.

Cape Town Attractions

Golf Tours in Cape Town
Golf in Cape Town

With a golf tour you will enjoy the picturesque beauty that Cape Town is famous for while playing golf on the best golf courses South Africa has to offer. When you are not playing golf you will get the opportunity to explore the region extensively and get to know the history and beauty of Cape Town. With trips to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held captive for 27 years, and up Table Mountain to enjoy the unhindered views of Cape Town and the Peninsula, a golf tour is the best way for the golf lover to experience the best Cape Town has to offer.


Shopping in Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the ideal place for a bit of retail therapy, with visitors often mesmerised by the sheer variety of goodies to be purchased. And the experience need not be expensive as one of the best things about shopping here is the enjoyment to be had from browsing itself. The city's intricate streets, enticing markets and glamorous malls offer a splendid way to while away the entire day.

Make sure to visit retail havens such as the Victoria Wharf at the V&A Waterfront complex and Cavendish Square in the Southern Suburbs. One should not, of course, forget the enormous Tyger Valley Centre and the Somerset Mall - a short drive from the city centre.

Outdoor Adventures in Cape Town
Cape Town

With the favourable climate of Africa, Cape Town is an outdoor adventurers paradise. You can Abseil, Bungee-jump, Cycle on hired road bikes or mountain bikes. Hire a Dune buggy or 4X4, Explore. You can Fish with line or spear, go big Game fishing on a deep-sea yacht, Horse-ride or Hike or Hunt in paint-ball war games, or Hire a Harley-Davidson. You can Ice-skate, Jump from a plane - singly or in tandem, Kayak or Kite-fly, flirt with a Life-saver, Mountain climb or bike, seize the Night, ride an Ostrich, Para-glide from Lion's Head to Camps Bay, Pick fruit on a fruit farm, Queue for a cue at a pool bar or go search for the re-bred Quaggas , Rollercoast at Ratanga Junction, go Rafting or canoeing on white-water winter rivers, Surfing or Spear-Fishing, Tablemountaining, go Up Up and Away in a balloon trip over the winelands, Dive with sharks at the V&A Two Oceans Aquarium or out in False Bay, Wind-surf, do X-rated Cape Town (see the smalls pages of the newspaper if your imagination fails you), Yacht, go cycle after Zebras in the Cape Point Reserve. The list is endless, choose your adventure and enjoy what Cape Town has to offer.

Sport in Cape Town

Cape Town InfoFor deep sea game fishing you will find the big game of the cape shore that is among the best in the world in particular long fin, yellow fin tuna and broad billed swordfish.

The area in and around Cape Town offers the golf enthusiasts some of the best golf courses in the world. Visit South African Golf Tours for information on courses and golf tours throughout Cape Town.

Rugby is sacred among South Africans and Springbok team members, fondly known as the ‘boks’, are national heroes.

The Royal Cape Yacht Club is situated at the docks in Table Bay, and is the starting point for the famous Cape to Rio Yacht Race, which takes place every two years.

Scuba diving is one of the largest growing sports in Cape Town and there are many areas offering excellent visibility for this exciting sport. Don’t forget your full-length wet suits, because the waters in Cape Town are notorious for their icy temperatures.

Surfing is perhaps the biggest sub-culture in the Western Cape, and some of the world's leading surfers are resident here. Competitions are held during the summer months, and you’ll find perfect waves at Kommetjie, Noordhoek, Clifton, Rocklands.

Table Mountain
Table Mountain

Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain range overlooking Cape Town and is a prominent tourist attraction. Visitors can hike or take the cable-way to the top. The main vegetation of the mountain is the unique and rich Cape fynbos, which forms part of the Cape Floral Region protected areas. These protected areas are a World Heritage Site, and an estimated 2,200 species of plants are found on the mountain alone. Amongst these species are many kinds of proteas. The Table Mountain Cableway takes passengers from the lower cable station on Tafelberg Road, about 302 m above sea level, to the plateau at the top of the mountain. The upper cable station offers views overlooking Cape Town, Table Bay and Robben Island to the north, and the Atlantic seaboard to the west and south.

Table Mountain National Park
Table Mountain National Park

Table Mountain National Park, previously known as the Cape Peninsula National Park, is a national park in Cape Town, South Africa for the purpose of protecting the natural environment of the Table Mountain Chain, and in particular the rare fynbos vegetation. The park is managed by South African National Parks. Two well-known landmarks are Table Mountain and Cape of Good Hope. The park runs approximately north-south along the range of mountains that make up the mountainous spine of the Cape Peninsula, from Signal Hill in the north, through Lion's Head, Table Mountain, Constantiaberg, Silvermine, the mountains of the southern Peninsula, terminating at Cape Point. The Table Mountain Cableway carries visitors from the Lower Cable Station on Kloof Nek Road to the top of Table Mountain, allowing visitors to avoid the fairly arduous walk up. Boulders Beach, south of Simon's Town, contains a large colony of African Penguins. Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope are very scenic, although they are neither the southernmost tip of Africa nor the meeting-place of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, as is often believed.

Robben Island
Robben Island

Robben Island is located about 11 kilometres off the coast of Cape Town and is about a kilometre wide. Robben Island is most famous for that it was here that former South African President Nelson Mandela, alongside many other political prisoners, spent decades imprisoned during the apartheid era. Today the island is a popular tourist destination and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999. It is reached by ferry from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town and is open throughout the year, weather permitting, and tours of the island and prison are led by guides who were formerly prisoners there. Robben Island Museum operates as a site or living museum. There is also a penguin colony on the island.

Towns and Suburbs of the Western Cape province of South Africa

Arniston , Albertina , Bantry Bay , Bellville , Barrydale , Beaufort West , Bloubergrant , Bloubergstrand , Brackenfell , Caledon , Ceres , Camps Bay , Cape Town , Clanwilliam , Claremont , Constantia , Constantia Park , Darling, De Rust , Durbanville , Fish Hoek , Franschhoek , Fresnaye , Gordon's Bay , Gansbaai , George , Grabouw , Green Point , Greyton , Hout Bay , Hermanus , Kenilworth , Kleinmond , Knysna , Malgas , McGregor , Melkbosstrand , Milnerton , Morreesburg , Muizenberg , Montagu , Mossel Bay , Newlands , Noordhoek , Observatory , Oudtshoorn , Paternoster, Lakeside , Langebaan , Paarl , Parow , Pinelands , Plettenberg Bay , Prince Albert , Pringle Bay , Rawsonville , Robertson , Riebeeck West , Rondebosch , Stellenbosch , Somerset West , Simon's Town , Saldanha , Sea Point , Sir Lowry's Pass , Stanford , St Helena Bay , Strand , Swellendam , Table View , Tulbagh , Uniondale, Vermont , Vredendal , Wellington , Wilderness , Worcester , Worcester , Yzerfontein

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