20.02.2014

THE MOTHER OF THE ALL CITIES: CAPE TOWN

THE MOTHER OF THE ALL CITIES: CAPE TOWN, Zafer Bölükbaşı | 20.02.2014

Cape Town is located at the far tip of the world's southern hemisphere. As a result one of the first things that comes to mind when you think of Cape Town is the "Cape of Good Hope." The cape was first discovered in 1488 by the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias eastern voyage.

Cape Town is a great place to visit for people of all ages and offers a wide range of different potential experiences.

Turkish Airlines has flights every day to Cape Town with its Airbus 330 series aircraft. It takes 9 hours to fly from Istanbul to Johannesburg, where the aircraft makes a short stop both to refuel and to allow passengers to exit before continuing onto the two hour flight to Cape Town International Airport. The airport was built for the 2010 World Cup, and recently won the award for Africa's best airport.

After a long and tiring journey, in place of Turkish Airlines' smiling hostesses you'll be confronted with the friendly people of Cape Town. When you arrive in Cape Town you don't need to fill out any forms or anything. Passport control is usually pretty quick and then after grabbing your bags you'll be greeted by the warmth of the Cape Town sun. The Rand, or in currency form, ZAR is the currency of South Africa and it's about 5 ZAR to the TL. You can exchange currency at one of a few places within the airport. I recommend taking a nice cappuccino in the Vida e Caffè shop before heading out of the terminal.

From the airport to the city it's about 20km, which is about a 300 ZAR cab ride the whole way. MyCity buses are a bit cheaper than that and also take you to the city.

After checking in at your hotel and resting up a bit you should head out for dinner to The Waterfront, the most popular place in all of the African continent (most hotels have free shuttle buses to the Waterfront). Here you'll find shops of all varieties along with an equal variety of restaurant types and price ranges. I recommend making sure you try at least once Primi Piatti for pizza, Spur for meat and Ocean Basket for seafood. These restaurants are completely South African, and as a rule are very friendly to families with children. A family of four usually pays around 400 Rand for a meal, including a 10% tip. For groups of 7 or more there's no need to tip because the service charge is included in the meal.

After dinner get some rest and get ready for a big day of tourism the following day. First there are some things you need to know. It would be wrong to say "we're going to scale" one of the sights chosen as one of the 7 wonders of the world - Table Mountain. Depending on the wind and the clouds, Table Mountain will either "accept" you or not. To see whether Table Mountain is accessible or not, you can go to tablemountain.org or as the concierge at your hotel.

You can go to a certain height of Table Mountain by car, after which you'll have to take a cable car the rest of the way. This cable car has been specially designed so that you can move around in the car to look at views of the mountain the whole way up. Waiting for you at the top of the mountain is an unequaled view. In addition there's a restaurant that serves great food and a souvenir shop too. For those who are interested in photos, you know you'll probably only have one time in your life to snap whatever amazing picture strikes your fancy. Hiking enthusiasts can walk on the mountain and see the unique vegetation and climate that resides there.

You like swimming too, right?! But even then, I'm sure none of you have ever been swimming with penguins before. For this experience all you have to do is take a 30 minute journey from Cape Town to Simon's Town, one of the first settlements from Cape Town. The water is warmer than the Atlantic Ocean and you can swim with penguins over here.

Are you surf enthusiasts out there ready? The world famous waves of Muzenberg are ready to blow you away! The one thing you need to watch out for is that shark warnings do happen every so often. There are relatively cheap flights offered at the surfing school on the beach, for those who want to try the sport out for the first time.

For those who like extreme sports there's a different spot for bungee jumping. How does the world's biggest jump sound to you, after which you can even buy the DVD taken of you? For details go to http://www.faceadrenalin.com/location.asp.

Stellenbosch... after having visited this town, you'll want to spend at least a portion of the rest of your life here.  In the 3.5 years that I've lived in Cape Town, I've never met anyone who thinks differently. Peace, nature, vineyards, grapes, lovely houses, restaurants, one of the best universities in the world.... this place has everything. Make sure this is on any tour you make.

You should include these activities on your Cape Town to-do list: 

  • Climb Signal Hill and Lion's Head’.
  • Watch the sunset on Signal Hill.
  • Visit Bo-kaap, well-known for its colorful houses.
  • Shop for souvenirs in Green Market (Remember to bargain, I recommend you go in the evenings.)
  • Buy an ostrich egg as a souvenir.
  • Go to the Cape of Good Hope
  • Do Shark Diving
  • Visit Kirstenbocsh Botanic Garden
  • Visit the beaches at Camps Bay
  • Shoot photos at Chapmans Peak
  • Visit Robben Island where Mandela was held in prison.
  • Visit Butterfly World

And of course, there's no shortage of other activities.... Cape Town awaits! :)

THE CAPE OF AFRICA, CAPE TOWN

Bahar Sinem Özkesici Ünal
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TABLE MOUNTAIN

N. Müge Ünlüer
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