Cape Town, the oldest urban area in South Africa, was developed due to a mishap. Indeed, in 1647, the Harlem, a vessel, which belonged to the Dutch East India Company, was wrecked in Table Bay. The unfortunate crew had to wait for one year before being rescued. It is during this time laps that the idea of a permanent settlement took shape in the Dutch East India Company directors’ minds.
The task of building a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East for trade, exploration and colonization purposes, fell on Jan van Riebeeck. His arrival on April 6th 1652 coincides with the Dutch Cape Colony establishment, the very first permanent European settlement in South Africa.
Cape Town quickly outgrew its original purpose at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the entire Cape Colony. Until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush, which led to the amazing development of Johannesburg, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa.
There is nowhere quite like Cape Town; a melting pot of cultures, cuisines and landscapes, situated on the ocean and crowned by the magnificent Table Mountain National Park. Cape Town is not only the oldest city in South Africa, it is also one of South Africa’s most historically important cities. It was there, in the very heart of the Mother City, where the first European colonists set foot in South Africa – which also marked the beginning of the South African slave trade.
Years later, Cape Town became home to, perhaps, the world’s most famous political prisoner – Nelson Mandela – who was held on the tiny Robben Island, in Table Bay, as many other political prisoners of the apartheid government. Robben Island was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 and the prison is now a museum and can be visited all year round.
One can never be bored in Cape Town. Table Mountain offers some of the best climbing in the world, right in the city. Surfing is fantastic, as for diving, it is cold but totally worth it. Biking, kayaking and, with some chance, penguin and whale watching are some of the fun must-do activities in the region.
After years off of the international scene, Cape Town has again earned top honors in the world of tourism in 2019. Indeed, the Mother City was named Best Destination in Africa at the World Tourism Awards
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