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Museums and places of interest

The Museum Meander incorporates a number of museums around Cape Town under the Iziko Museums umbrella (http://www.museums.org.za/iziko). This includes the famous Castle of Good Hope, the Slave Lodge, South African Museum, Planetarium, and even a Fossil Park. Check out the Iziko website for directions and info on all these museums. Don’t forget about the District Six Museum http://www.districtsix.co.za/frames.htm to learn more about the political history of the country, and Cape Town.

The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest building in South Africa. It was built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company, better known as the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie). It is a pentagonal shaped fort that replaced the small clay and timber fort built in 1652 by Commander Jan van Riebeeck.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on Rhodes Drive, Newlands has over 5000 different species of plants. It’s very educational, great for getting close to nature, for having a nice picnic or just plain relaxing on their large green lawns. It’s advised to visit the gardens when the weather is good. It has ample safe parking and during winter and summer the Gardens offer live open air music concerts.

Another interesting place is the Afrikaanse Taal Monument (language monument) just outside the town of Paarl. It’s located on what has been labled as the largest single rock above ground in the world. It was built in 1965 to commemorate the Afrikaans language (one of the three official languages of the Western Cape). Due to its unique location it also has amazing views of the Cape Peninsula.

Township tours

Township tours will give you a real insight into urban African living. These tours will take you into the heart of the townships where you will experience the high density low-income lifestyles of some Cape Town residents. You can choose to visit the townships of Langa (oldest township in South Africa), Guguletu or Khayelitsha (largest township in Western Cape). The vibe and food is often unbeatable and will give you a deeper understanding and appreciation for Cape Town living.

It is interesting to some, fascinating to others, but can also be scary to some. Do not go into a township without proper guidance. There are many companies offering township tours, and it is strongly advised that you only go with one of them on pre-organised tours. See your nearest visitor information centre for further information on these types of tours, or check out http://www.owls.co.za/english/townships.htm or http://www.ziboneletours.com for more info.

Day trips

Weekend trips

 

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