The best places to visit in the Western Cape
The Western Cape is one of South Africa’s most beautiful regions. From the once-in-a-lifetime views atop Cape Town’s famous Table mountain to the lush vineyards and scenic views of the Stellenbosch Mountains, finding the ideal destination for your holiday is easy.
If you’re looking to head on an adventure, here’s a list of some of the Western Cape’s most interesting locations.
Bo-Kaap, Cape Town
Lined with brightly coloured houses and lively streets, Bo-Kaap is one of South Africa’s oldest living neighbourhoods and is as vibrant as it is culturally rich. Situated just a ten-minute walk away from the Cape Town city centre, the historic neighbourhood is a dynamic melting pot of Malaysian, Indian,Sri Lankan, and African culture due to being one of the first settlements of freed slaves and Muslim indentured labourers in the country.
There are several sites and activities tourists can try when visiting Bo Kaap including:
The Bo Kaap museum
Start your sight-seeing at the Bo Kaap Museum, which is located in the oldest building in Bo Kaap. The museum was built in the 1760s and was home to a wealthy Muslim family. It’s now a National Monument and is decorated and furnished in the Dutch style of the time.
The Auwal Mosque
The Auwal Mosque was built in 1794 and is the first mosque ever built in South Africa. The mosque was the first place in the country where the unique Cape Malay Muslim traditions and language wereformally taught and public prayers observed and is a defining part of the area’s geography. The mosque also houses a handwritten copy of the Quran by Robben Island prisoner Tuan Guru, who wrote it from memory while incarcerated on the outpost.
Robberg Nature Reserve, Plettenberg Bay
Robberg Nature Reserve is one of the most famous sites to see along the Western and Eastern Cape’sscenic Garden Route. The reserve is situated about 8 kilometres from the popular coastal town of Plettenberg Bay and resides on a four-kilometre-long peninsula at the foot of the Mountain of the Seal, which has rocks that have been found to date back thousands of years. Dotted by picturesque trails that are perfect for adventurous hikers as well as prolific wildlife, including various species of waterbirds and seals, visitors can enjoy breath taking views both on land and out at sea.
Boulders Penguin Colony, Simon’s Town
Wildlife lovers will revel at the Boulders Penguin Colony. Located in the quaint precinct of Simon’s Town just an hour’s drive from Cape Town, visitors can experience these charismatic creatures waddling along clean white sands across three beautiful beaches. The beaches are part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area, and tourists a charged a conservation fee that goes towards safeguarding the colony of over 2000 endangered African Penguins.
In addition to being able to view the penguins up close, visitors can paddle and swim in the clear, calm waters. Foxy Beach also has a boardwalk that passes the prime penguin-viewing sites.
Karoo National Park, Beaufort West
The Karoo National Park, which is located just outside the town of Beaufort West five hours northeast of Cape Town, is perfect for an unforgettable road trip with your loved ones. Established in 1979, is an important fossil site and forms a significant part of the Great Karoo, South Africa's largest ecosystem.Characterised by a vast expanse of red-earthed semi-desert landscapes, visitors will be able to see several plant and animal species that are endemic to the region like buffalo and rhino as well as animals that have been reintroduced to the area as part of conservation efforts such as Cape mountain zebras, kudus (a type of antelope), lions, and brown hyenas. Bird lovers will also get the chance to spot one of the breeding pairs of the rare Verreaux's Eagle. Take-in once-in-a-lifetime panoramic views from Rooivalle View Point or explore the Fossil Trail. You can also learn fascinating details about the park when you stop by the Old Schuur Interpretive Centre.
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