Cape Town (Afrikaans: Kaapstad, [ˈkɑːpstat]; Xhosa: iKapa) is a
coastal city in South Africa. It is the second-most populous urban
South Africa after Johannesburg. It is also the capital and
primate city of the
Western Cape province.
As the seat of the Parliament of South Africa, it is also the
legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the
Cape Town metropolitan municipality. The city is famous for its
harbour, for its natural setting in the Cape Floristic Region, and for
such well-known landmarks as
Table Mountain and Cape Point. As of
2014[update], it is the 10th most populous city[clarification needed]
in Africa and home to 64% of the Western Cape's population. 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. The city was named the
World Design Capital for 2014 by the
Council of Societies of Industrial Design. In 2014,
Cape Town was named the best place in the world to visit by both the
American New York Times and the British Daily Telegraph.
Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town, as the oldest urban area
in South Africa, was first developed by the Dutch East
(VOC) as a victualling (supply) station for Dutch ships sailing to
East Africa, India, and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck's arrival on 6
April 1652 established the first permanent European settlement in
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.
2.2 Flora and fauna
3.2 Atlantic Seaboard
3.3 West Coast
3.4 Northern Suburbs
3.5 Southern Suburbs
3.6 South Peninsula
3.7 Eastern Suburbs
3.8 Cape Flats
7.1 Tourism marketing
8 Communications and media
9.1 Sports events
10.1 Tertiary education
11.6 Integrated Rapid Transit (IRT)
12 Twin towns – sister cities
13 See also
16 External links
History of Cape Town
History of Cape Town and Timeline of Cape Town
History of Cape Town
Jan van Riebeeck
Jan van Riebeeck in
Table Bay by Charles Bell
Table Bay, 1683, by Aernout Smit, with ships of the Dutch East India
Company, c. 1683
A model of
Cape Town as it would have appeared in 1800.
The earliest known remnants in the region were found at Peers Cave in
Fish Hoek and date to between 15,000 and 12,000 years ago. Little
is known of the history of the region's first residents, since there
is no written history from the area before it was first mentioned by
Bartolomeu Dias in 1486 who was the first European
to reach the area and named it "Cape of Storms" (Cabo das Tormentas).
It was later renamed by John II of
Portugal as "Cape of Good Hope"
(Cabo da Boa Esperança) because of the great optimism engendered by
the opening of a sea route to
India and the East. Vasco da Gama
recorded a sighting of the
Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope in 1497. In the late 16th
century, Portuguese, French, Danish, Dutch and English but mainly
Portuguese ships regularly stopped over in
Table Bay en route to the
Indies. They traded tobacco, copper and iron with the
exchange for fresh meat.
Jan van Riebeeck
Jan van Riebeeck and other employees of the Dutch East India
Company (Dutch: Verenigde Oost-indische Compagnie, VOC) were sent to
the Cape to establish a way-station for ships travelling to the Dutch
East Indies, and the
Fort de Goede Hoop
Fort de Goede Hoop (later replaced by the Castle
of Good Hope). The settlement grew slowly during this period, as it
was hard to find adequate labour. This labour shortage prompted the
authorities to import slaves from
Indonesia and Madagascar. Many of
these became ancestors of the first Cape
Under Van Riebeeck and his successors as VOC commanders and later
governors at the Cape, an impressive range of useful plants were
introduced to the Cape – in the process changing the natural
environment forever. Some of these, including grapes, cereals, ground
nuts, potatoes, apples and citrus, had an important and lasting
influence on the societies and economies of the region.
The Dutch Republic being transformed in Revolutionary France's vassal
Batavian Republic, Great Britain moved to take control of its
colonies. Britain captured
Cape Town in 1795, but the Cape was
returned to the Dutch by treaty in 1803. British forces occupied the
Cape again in 1806 following the Battle of Blaauwberg. In the
Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814,
Cape Town was permanently ceded to
Britain. It became the capital of the newly formed Cape Colony, whose
territory expanded very substantially through the 1800s. With
expansion came calls for greater independence from Britain, with the
Cape attaining its own parliament (1854) and a locally accountable
Prime Minister (1872). Suffrage was established according to the
non-racial, but sexist Cape Qualified Franchise.
The discovery of diamonds in
Griqualand West in 1867, and the
Witwatersrand Gold Rush
Witwatersrand Gold Rush in 1886, prompted a flood of immigrants to
South Africa. Conflicts between the
Boer republics in the interior
and the British colonial government resulted in the Second
Boer War of
1899–1902, which Britain won. In 1910, Britain established the Union
of South Africa, which unified the
Cape Colony with the two defeated
Boer Republics and the British colony of Natal.
Cape Town became the
legislative capital of the Union, and later of the Republic of South
In the 1948 national elections, the National Party won on a platform
of apartheid (racial segregation) under the slogan of "swart gevaar".
This led to the erosion and eventual abolition of the Cape's
multiracial franchise, as well as to the Group Areas Act, which
classified all areas according to race. Formerly multi-racial suburbs
Cape Town were either purged of unlawful residents or demolished.
The most infamous example of this in
Cape Town was District Six. After
it was declared a whites-only region in 1965, all housing there was
demolished and over 60,000 residents were forcibly removed. Many
of these residents were relocated to the
Cape Flats and Lavender Hill.
Under apartheid, the Cape was considered a "
Coloured labour preference
area", to the exclusion of "Bantus", i.e. Africans.
School students from Langa,
Gugulethu and Nyanga in
Cape Town reacted
to the news of protests against Bantu Education in Soweto in June 1976
and organised gatherings and marches which were met with resistance
from the police. A number of school buildings were burnt down.
Cape Town was home to many leaders of the anti-apartheid movement. On
Robben Island, a former penitentiary island 10 kilometres (6 miles)
from the city, many famous political prisoners were held for years. In
one of the most famous moments marking the end of apartheid, Nelson
Mandela made his first public speech since his imprisonment, from the
Cape Town City Hall
Cape Town City Hall hours after being released on 11
February 1990. His speech heralded the beginning of a new era for the
country, and the first democratic election, was held four years later,
on 27 April 1994. Nobel Square in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
features statues of South Africa's four
Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize winners:
Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu,
F. W. de Klerk
F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela. Since
1994, the city has struggled with problems such as drugs, a surge in
violent drug-related crime and more recently gang violence. At the
same time, the economy has surged to unprecedented levels due to the
boom in the tourism and the real estate industries.
Gini coefficient of 0.67,
Cape Town has the highest rate of
equality in South Africa.
Cape Town's "
City Bowl" viewed from
Table Mountain in May (late
Cape Town is located at latitude 33.55° S (approx. the same as Sydney
Buenos Aires and equivalent to
Los Angeles in the
northern hemisphere) and longitude 18.25° E. Table Mountain, with its
near vertical cliffs and flat-topped summit over 1,000 m
(3,300 ft) high, and with Devil's Peak and Lion's Head on either
side, together form a dramatic mountainous backdrop enclosing the
central area of Cape Town, the so-called
City Bowl. A thin strip of
cloud, known colloquially as the "tablecloth", sometimes forms on top
of the mountain. To the immediate south, the
Cape Peninsula is a
scenic mountainous spine jutting 40 kilometres (25 mi) southwards
into the Atlantic Ocean and terminating at Cape Point. There are over
70 peaks above 300 m (980 ft) within Cape Town's official
city limits. Many of the city's suburbs lie on the large plain called
the Cape Flats, which extends over 50 kilometres (30 mi) to the
east and joins the peninsula to the mainland. The
Cape Town region is
characterised by an extensive coastline, rugged mountain ranges,
coastal plains, inland valleys and semi-desert fringes.
Robben Island in the
Western Cape a World Heritage
Site in 1999.
Robben Island is located in Table Bay, some 6 km
Bloubergstrand in Cape Town, and stands some 30m above sea
Robben Island has been used as prison where people were
isolated, banished and exiled to for nearly 400 years. It was also
used as a leper colony, a post office, a grazing ground, a mental
hospital, and an outpost.
Currently visitors can only access the island via the Robben Island
Museum boat service, which run three times daily until the beginning
of the peak season (1 September). The ferries depart from the Nelson
Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront. The boat ride over to
Robben's Island can be rough and cold, depending what time of day you
Cape Town has a warm
Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csb),
with mild, moderately wet winters and dry, warm summers. Winter, which
lasts from the beginning of June to the end of August, may see large
cold fronts entering for limited periods from the Atlantic Ocean with
significant precipitation and strong north-westerly winds. Winter
months in the city average a maximum of 18.0 °C (64 °F)
and minimum of 8.5 °C (47 °F)  Total annual rainfall
in the city averages 515 millimetres (20.3 in). Summer, which
lasts from early December to March, is warm and dry with an average
maximum of 26.0 °C (79 °F) and minimum of 16.0 °C
(61 °F). The region can get uncomfortably hot when the Berg
Wind, meaning "mountain wind", blows from the
Karoo interior for a
couple of weeks in February or early March. Late spring and early
summer generally feature a strong wind from the south-east, known
locally as the south-easter or the Cape Doctor, so called because it
blows air pollution away. This wind is caused by a high-pressure
system which sits in the South Atlantic to the west of Cape Town,
known as the South Atlantic High.
Cape Town receives 3,100 hours of
sunshine per year.
Water temperatures range greatly, between 10 °C (50 °F) on
the Atlantic Seaboard, to over 22 °C (72 °F) in False Bay.
Average annual Ocean temperatures are between 13 °C
(55 °F) on the Atlantic Seaboard (similar to Californian waters,
San Francisco or Big Sur), and 17 °C (63 °F) in
False Bay (similar to Northern
Mediterranean temperatures, such as
Nice or Monte Carlo).
As of 2018
Cape Town is experiencing a water crisis, following a
drought that began in 2015, which is said to be the worst that the
region has experienced in one hundred years. As of
5 March 2018[update] the city has projected that 'Day Zero'
will be reached on 15 June 2018, when most of the city's water
will be shut off, and residents will have to queue to collect a water
ration of 25 litres (5.5 imp gal; 6.6 US gal) per
person, per day.
Climate data for
Cape Town (1961–1990)
Record high °C (°F)
Mean maximum °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Mean minimum °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source: World Meteorological Organization, NOAA, South African
weather service, eNCA
Flora and fauna
Biodiversity of Cape Town
Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos
Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos growing in
Table Mountain National Park.
Located in a CI
Biodiversity hotspot as well as the unique Cape
Floristic Region, the city of
Cape Town has one of the highest levels
of biodiversity of any equivalent area in the world. These
protected areas are a World Heritage Site, and an estimated 2,200
species of plants are confined to
Table Mountain – more than exist
in the whole of the
United Kingdom which has 1200 plant species and 67
endemic plant species. Many of these species, including a
great many types of proteas, are endemic to the mountain and can be
found nowhere else.
It is home to a total of 19 different vegetation types, of which
several are completely endemic to the city and occur nowhere else in
the world. It is also the only habitat of hundreds of endemic
species, and hundreds of others which are severely restricted or
threatened. This enormous species diversity is mainly because the city
is uniquely located at the convergence point of several different soil
types and micro-climates.
Table Mountain has an unusually rich biodiversity. Its vegetation
consists predominantly of several different types of the unique and
rich Cape Fynbos. The main vegetation type is endangered Peninsula
Sandstone Fynbos, but critically endangered Peninsula Granite Fynbos,
Peninsula Shale Renosterveld
Peninsula Shale Renosterveld and
Afromontane forest occur in smaller
portions on the mountain.
Unfortunately, rapid population growth and urban sprawl has covered
much of these ecosystems with development. Consequently,
Cape Town now
has over 300 threatened plant species and 13 which are now extinct.
The Cape Peninsula, which lies entirely within the city of Cape Town,
has the highest concentration of threatened species of any continental
area of equivalent size in the world. Tiny remnants of critically
endangered or near extinct plants often survive on road sides,
pavements and sports fields. The remaining ecosystems are
partially protected through a system of over 30 nature reserves –
including the massive
Table Mountain National Park.
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Satellite image of
Cape Town and Table Mountain
Main article: List of
Cape Town suburbs
Cape Town's urban geography is influenced by the contours of Table
Mountain, its surrounding peaks, the
Durbanville Hills, and the
expansive lowland region known as the Cape Flats. These geographic
features in part divide the city into several commonly known groupings
of suburbs (equivalent to districts outside South Africa), many of
which developed historically together and share common attributes of
language and culture.
An aerial panoramic of Cape Town's
City Bowl taken from above Signal
Hill looking north.
City Bowl is a natural amphitheatre-shaped area bordered by Table
Bay and defined by the mountains of Signal Hill, Lion's Head, Table
Mountain and Devil's Peak.
The area includes the central business district of Cape Town, the
harbour, the Company's Garden, and the residential suburbs of De
Waterkant, Devil's Peak, District Six, Zonnebloem, Gardens, Bo-Kaap,
Higgovale, Oranjezicht, Schotsche Kloof, Tamboerskloof, University
Walmer Estate and Woodstock.
Camps Bay viewed from Lion's Head
Panoramic view of
Hout Bay from Chapman's Peak, with Chapman's Peak
Drive visible at the base of the mountain
The Atlantic Seaboard lies west of
Cape Town and Table Mountain, and
is characterised by its beaches, cliffs, promenade and hillside
communities. The area includes, from north to south, the
neighbourhoods of Green Point, Mouille Point, Three Anchor Bay, Sea
Point, Fresnaye, Bantry Bay, Clifton, Camps Bay, Llandudno, and Hout
Bay. The Atlantic Seaboard has some of the most expensive real estate
South Africa particularly on Nettleton and Clifton Roads in
Clifton, Ocean View Drive and St Leon Avenue in Bantry Bay, Theresa
Bakoven and Fishermans Bend in Llandudno.
Camps Bay is home
to the highest concentration of multimillionaires in
Cape Town and has
the highest number of high-priced mansions in
South Africa with more
than 155 residential units exceeding R20 million (or $US1.8
The West Coast suburbs lie along the beach to the north of the Cape
Town city centre, and include Bloubergstrand, Milnerton, Tableview,
West Beach, Big Bay, Sunset Beach, Sunningdale and Parklands, as well
as the exurbs of Atlantis and Melkbosstrand. The
Koeberg Nuclear Power
Station is located within this area and maximum housing density
regulations are enforced in much of the area surrounding the nuclear
The Northern Suburbs are Afrikaans-speaking, and include Bellville,
Kanonberg, Bothasig, Brooklyn, Burgundy Estate, Durbanville, Edgemead,
Elsie's River, Factreton, Goodwood, Kensington, Maitland, Monte Vista,
Panorama, Parow, Richwood, Table View, and Welgemoed. The Northern
Suburbs are home to
Tygerberg Hospital, the largest hospital in the
Western Cape and second largest in South Africa
Main article: Southern Suburbs, Cape Town
The Southern Suburbs hug along the eastern slopes of Table Mountain,
southeast of the city centre. This area has mixed languages but is
predominantly English-speaking, and includes, from north to south,
Rondebosch, Pinelands, Thornton, Newlands, Mowbray, Observatory,
Bishopscourt, Claremont, Lansdowne, Wynberg, Plumstead, Hout Bay,
Ottery, and Bergvliet. West of Wynberg lies Constantia which, in
addition to being a wealthy neighbourhood, is a notable wine-growing
region within the
City of Cape Town. Constantia not only offers a
luscious suburban living lifestyle, but also attracts tourists for its
well-known wine farms and Cape Dutch architecture.
Wave breaking on the rocky beach of Kommetjie
The South Peninsula is generally regarded as the area south of
False Bay and Noordhoek on the Atlantic Ocean, all the
way to Cape Point. Until recently quite rural, the population of the
area is growing quickly as new coastal developments proliferate and
larger plots are subdivided to provide more compact housing. It
includes Capri Village, Clovelly, Fish Hoek, Glencairn, Kalk Bay,
Kommetjie, Masiphumelele, Muizenberg, Noordhoek, Ocean View,
Scarborough, Simon's Town, St James, Sunnydale and Sun Valley. South
Africa's largest naval base is located at
Simon's Town harbour, and
close by is Boulders Beach, the site of a large colony of African
The Eastern Suburbs lie southeast of the Afrikaans-speaking
neighbourhoods in the Northern Suburbs, beyond the airport, and
notably are the site of several new subsidized housing projects and
are also Afrikaans-speaking. Communities include Fairdale,
Brackenfell, Kraaifontein, Kuils River, Blue Downs, Belhar, Delft,
Main article: Cape Flats
Cape Flats (Die Kaapse Vlakte in Afrikaans) is an expansive,
low-lying, flat Afrikaans-speaking area situated to the southeast of
the central business district of Cape Town. From the 1950s the area
became home to people the apartheid government designated as non-White
and has been described by some as 'Apartheid's dumping ground'.
Race-based legislation such as the
Group Areas Act
Group Areas Act and pass laws
either forced non-white people out of more central urban areas
designated for white people and into government-built townships in the
Flats or made living in the area illegal, forcing many people
designated as Black and
Coloured into informal settlements elsewhere
in the Flats.
Since then the Flats have been home to much of the population of
Greater Cape Town. This area includes the neighbourhoods of Mitchell's
Plain, Athlone, Elsie's River, Hanover Park, Bishop Lavis, Manenberg,
Strandfontein, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Langa, and Khayelitsha.
Main article: Helderberg
Helderberg consists of Somerset West, Strand,
Gordons Bay and a
few other towns. The district takes its name from the imposing
Helderberg Mountain, which is
Afrikaans for "clear mountain", and
culminates at a height of 1,137 metres (3,730 feet) as The Dome.
City of Cape Town
Cape Town City Hall
Cape Town City Hall as seen from the Grand Parade in front of the
Table Mountain is visible in the background.
Cape Town's local government is the
City of Cape Town, which is a
Cape Town is governed by a 221-member city
council. The city is divided into 111 electoral wards; each ward
directly elects one member of the council, whilst the other 110
councillors are elected by a system of party-list proportional
representation. The Executive Mayor and Executive Deputy Mayor are
chosen by the city council.
In the local government elections of 18 May 2011, the Democratic
Alliance (DA) won an outright majority, taking 135 of the 221 council
seats. The African National Congress, the national ruling party,
received 73 seats. As a result of this victory Patricia de Lille,
the DA mayoral candidate, was inaugurated as Executive Mayor on 1
Population density in Cape Town
Geographical distribution of home languages in
Cape Town (2011)
No population or no language dominant
Note: Census figures (1996–2011) cover figures after 1994 reflect
Cape Town metropolitan municipality reflecting post-1994
reforms. Sources: 1658-1904, 1950-1990,
1996, 2001, and 2011 Census;
2007, 2014 Census estimates.
According to the South African National Census of 2011, the population
Cape Town metropolitan municipality – an area
that includes suburbs and exurbs not always considered as part of Cape
Town – is 3,740,026 people. This represents an annual growth
rate of 2.6% compared to the results of the previous census in 2001
which found a population of 2,892,243 people. :54 The sex ratio is
96, meaning that there are slightly more women than men.:55 42.4%
of the population described themselves as "Coloured", 15.7% as
"White", 38.6% as "Black African", 1.4% as "Indian or
Asian":56–59and 1.9 as "Other".
In 1944, 47% of the city's population was White, 46% was Coloured,
less than 6% was Black African and 1% was Asian. Of those
residents who were asked about their first language, 35.7% spoke
Afrikaans, 29.8% spoke Xhosa and 28.4% spoke English. 24.8% of the
population is under the age of 15, while 5.5% is 65 or older.:64
Of those residents aged 20 or older, 1.8% have no schooling, 8.1% have
some schooling but did not finish primary school, 4.6% finished
primary school but have no secondary schooling, 38.9% have some
secondary schooling but did not finish Grade 12, 29.9% finished Grade
12 but have no higher education, and 16.7% have higher education.
Overall, 46.6% have at least a
Grade 12 education.:74 Of those
aged between 5 and 25, 67.8% are attending an educational
institution.:78 Amongst those aged between 15 and 65 the
unemployment rate is 23.7%.:79 The average annual household income
There are 1,068,573 households in the municipality, giving an average
household size of 3.3 people.:80 Of those households, 78.4% are in
formal structures (houses or flats), while 20.5% are in informal
structures (shacks).:81 94.0% of households use electricity for
lighting.:84 87.3% of households have piped water to the dwelling,
while 12.0% have piped water through a communal tap.:85 94.9% of
households have regular refuse collection service.:86 91.4% of
households have a flush toilet or chemical toilet, while 4.5% still
use a bucket toilet.:87 82.1% of households have a refrigerator,
87.3% have a television and 70.1% have a radio. Only 34.0% have a
landline telephone, but 91.3% have a cellphone. 37.9% have a computer,
and 49.3% have access to the Internet (either through a computer or a
Main article: Economy of the Western Cape
Main entrance to the
Cape Town International Convention Centre
Cape Town is the economic hub of the
Western Cape Province, South
Africa's second main economic centre and Africa's third main economic
hub city. It serves as the regional manufacturing centre in the
Western Cape. In 2011 the city's GDP was US$56.8 billion with a
GDP per capita
GDP per capita of US$15,721. In the five years preceding 2014 Cape
Town GDP grew at an average of 3.7% a year. As a proportion of GDP the
agriculture and manufacturing sectors have declined whilst finance,
business services, transport and logistics have grown reflecting the
growth in specialised services sectors of the local economy. Fishing,
clothing and textiles, wood product manufacturing, electronics,
furniture, hospitality, finance and business services are industries
in which Cape Town's economy has the largest comparative advantage.
Between 2001 and 2010 the city's Gini coefficient, a measure of
inequality, improved by dropping from 0.59 in 2007 to 0.57 in 2010
only to increase to 0.67 by 2011/12.
Cape Town has recently enjoyed a booming real estate and construction
market, because of the 2010 World Cup as well as many people buying
summer homes in the city or relocating there permanently. Cape Town
hosted nine World Cup matches: Six first-round matches, one
second-round match, one quarter final and one semifinal. The central
business district is under an extensive urban renewal programme, with
numerous new buildings and renovations taking place under the guidance
Cape Town Partnership.
Cape Town has four major commercial nodes, with
Cape Town Central
Business District containing the majority of job opportunities and
office space. Century City, the Bellville/TygerValley strip and
Claremont commercial nodes are well established and contain many
offices and corporate headquarters as well. Most companies
headquartered in the city are insurance companies, retail groups,
publishers, design houses, fashion designers, shipping companies,
petrochemical companies, architects and advertising agencies. The
most notable companies headquartered in the city are food and fashion
retailer Woolworths, supermarket chain
Pick n Pay Stores
Pick n Pay Stores and
Shoprite, New Clicks Holdings Limited, fashion retailer Foschini
Group, isp MWEB, Mediclinic International, etv, multi-national
mass media giant Naspers, and financial services giant Sanlam.
Other notable companies include
Belron (vehicle glass repair and
replacement group operating worldwide),
manufactures and supplies medical imaging equipment for the diagnosis
of breast cancer),
Ceres Fruit Juices
Ceres Fruit Juices (produces fruit juice and other
fruit based products),
Coronation Fund Managers
Coronation Fund Managers (third-party fund
management company), ICS (was one of the largest meat processing and
distribution companies in the world),
Vida e Caffè
Vida e Caffè (chain of coffee
Capitec Bank (commercial bank in the Republic of South
Africa). The city is a manufacturing base for several multi-national
companies including, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Levi
Strauss & Co., Adidas,
Bokomo Foods, and Nampak.
Much of the produce is handled through the
Port of Cape Town
Port of Cape Town or Cape
Town International Airport. Most major shipbuilding companies have
offices and manufacturing locations in Cape Town. The Province is
also a centre of energy development for the country, with the existing
Koeberg nuclear power station
Koeberg nuclear power station providing energy for the Western Cape's
Western Cape is an important tourist region in South Africa; the
tourism industry accounts for 9.8% of the GDP of the province and
employs 9.6% of the province's workforce. In 2010, over
1.5 million international tourists visited the area.
With the highest number of successful Information Technology companies
Cape Town is an important centre for the industry on the
continent. Growing at an annual rate of 8.5% and an estimated worth of
R77 billion in 2010 nationwide the IT industry in
Cape Town is
becoming increasingly important to the city's economy.
The city was recently named as the most entrepreneurial city in South
Africa, with the percentage of Capetonians pursuing business
opportunities almost three times higher than the national average.
Those aged between 18 and 64 were 190% more likely to pursue new
business, whilst in Johannesburg, the same demographic group was only
60% more likely than the national average to pursue a new
Panorama of the
Cape Town city centre
Cape Town is not only a popular international tourist destination in
South Africa, but Africa as a whole. This is due to its mild 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
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.
Clifton Beach is one of Cape Town's most famous beaches and is a
significant tourist destination in its own right.
Many tourists also visit Cape Town's beaches, which are popular with
local residents. Due to the city's unique geography, it is
possible to visit several different beaches in the same day, each with
a different setting and atmosphere. Though the Cape's water ranges
from cold to mild, the difference between the two sides of the city is
dramatic. While the Atlantic Seaboard averages annual water
temperatures barely above that of coastal California around
13 °C (55 °F), the
False Bay coast is much warmer,
averaging between 16 and 17 °C (61 and 63 °F) annually.
This is similar to water temperatures in much of the Northern
Mediterranean (for example Nice). In summer,
False Bay water averages
slightly over 20 °C (68 °F), with 22 °C
(72 °F) a common high. Beaches located on the Atlantic Coast
tend to have very cold water due to the
Benguela current which
originates from the Southern Ocean, whilst the water at False Bay
beaches may be warmer by up to 10 °C (18 °F) at the same
moment due to the influence of the warm Agulhas current, and the
surface warming effects of the South Easter wind. It is a common
False Bay is part of the Indian Ocean, with Cape
Point being both the meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans,
and the southernmost tip of Africa. The oceans in fact meet at the
actual southernmost tip, Cape Agulhas, which lies approximately 150
kilometres (93 miles) to the south east. The misconception is fuelled
by the relative warmth of the
False Bay water to the Atlantic Seaboard
water, and the many confusing instances of "Two Oceans" in names
synonymous with Cape Town, such as the Two Oceans Marathon, the Two
Oceans Aquarium, and places such as Two Oceans wine farm.
Both coasts are equally popular, although the beaches in affluent
Clifton and elsewhere on the Atlantic Coast are better developed with
restaurants and cafés, with a strip of restaurants and bars
accessible to the beach at Camps Bay. The Atlantic seaboard, known as
Cape Town's Rivera, is regarded as one of the most scenic routes in
South Africa. The majestic slopes of the Twelve Apostles to the
unspoilt boulders and white sand beaches of Llandudno, which the route
Hout Bay - a diverse bustling suburb with a harbour and a
seal island. This fishing village is flanked by the luscious
Constantia valley and the picturesque Chapmans Peak drive. Boulders
Simon's Town is known for its colony of African
Surfing is popular and the city hosts the Red Bull Big
Wave Africa surfing competition every year.
The city has several notable cultural attractions. The Victoria &
Alfred Waterfront, built on top of part of the docks of the Port of
Cape Town, is the city's most visited tourist attraction. It is also
one of the city's most popular shopping venues, with several hundred
shops and the Two Oceans Aquarium. The V&A also hosts the
Nelson Mandela Gateway, through which ferries depart for Robben
Island. It is possible to take a ferry from the V&A to Hout
Simon's Town and the
Cape fur seal
Cape fur seal colonies on Seal and Duiker
Islands. Several companies offer tours of the Cape Flats, a mostly
Coloured township, and Khayelitsha, a mostly black township.
Cape Town is noted for its architectural heritage, with the highest
density of Cape Dutch style buildings in the world. Cape Dutch style,
which combines the architectural traditions of the Netherlands,
France and Indonesia, is most visible in Constantia, the old
government buildings in the Central Business District, and along Long
Street. The annual
Minstrel Carnival, also known by
Afrikaans name of Kaapse Klopse, is a large minstrel festival held
annually on 2 January or "Tweede Nuwe Jaar" (Afrikaans: Second New
Year). Competing teams of minstrels parade in brightly coloured
costumes, performing Cape Jazz, either carrying colourful umbrellas or
playing an array of musical instruments. The Artscape Theatre Centre
is the largest performing arts venue in Cape Town.
The city also encloses the 36 hectare Kirstenbosch National Botanical
Garden that contains protected natural forest and fynbos along with a
variety of animals and birds. There are over 7,000 species in
cultivation at Kirstenbosch, including many rare and threatened
species of the Cape Floristic Region. In 2004 this Region, including
Kirstenbosch, was declared a
UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cape Town's transport system links it to the rest of South Africa; it
serves as the gateway to other destinations within the province. The
Cape Winelands and in particular the towns of Stellenbosch,
Franschhoek are popular day trips from the city for sightseeing and
Whale watching is popular amongst tourists:
southern right whales and humpback whales are seen off the coast
during the breeding season (August to November) and Bryde's whales and
killer whale can be seen any time of the year. The nearby town of
Hermanus is known for its Whale Festival, but whales can also be seen
in False Bay. Heaviside's dolphins are endemic to the area and can
be seen from the coast north of Cape Town; dusky dolphins live along
the same coast and can occasionally be seen from the ferry to Robben
The only complete windmill in
South Africa is Mostert's Mill, Mowbray.
It was built in 1796 and restored in 1935 and again in 1995.
The most popular areas for visitors to stay include Camps Bay, Sea
Point, the V&A Waterfront, the
City Bowl, Hout Bay, Constantia,
Rondebosch, Newlands, Somerset West,
Hermanus and Stellenbosch.
In November 2013,
Cape Town was voted the best global city in The
Daily Telegraph's annual Travel Awards.
Cape Town works closely with
Cape Town Tourism to promote
the city both locally and internationally. The primary focus of Cape
Town Tourism is to represent
Cape Town as a tourist
Cape Town Tourism receives a portion of its
funding from the
Cape Town while the remainder is made up of
membership fees and own-generated funds.
Cape of Good Hope
Clifton's 4th Beach
Panoramic view across the Victoria Basin at the Victoria & Alfred
Table Mountain in the background
Bo-Kaap is one of the most visited areas in
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Groote Kerk, Cape Town
Communications and media
Several newspapers, magazines and printing facilities have their
offices in the city.
Independent News and Media
Independent News and Media publishes the major
English language papers in the city, the
Cape Argus and the Cape
Times. Naspers, the largest media conglomerate in South Africa,
publishes Die Burger, the major
Afrikaans language paper.
Cape Town has many local community newspapers. Some of the largest
community newspapers in English are the Athlone News from Athlone, the
Atlantic Sun, the Constantiaberg Bulletin from Constantiaberg, the
City Vision from Bellville, the
False Bay Echo from False Bay, the
Helderberg Sun from Helderberg, the Plainsman from Michells Plain, the
Sentinel News from Hout Bay, the Southern Mail from the Southern
Southern Suburbs Tatler from the Southern Suburbs,
Table View and
Tygertalk from Tygervalley/Durbanville.
Afrikaans language community newspapers include the
the Tygerburger. Vukani, based in the Cape Flats, is published in
Cape Town is a centre for major broadcast media with several radio
stations that only broadcast within the city. 94.5 Kfm (94.5 MHz
Good Hope FM
Good Hope FM (94–97 MHz FM) mostly play pop music. Heart FM
(104.9 MHz FM), the former P4 Radio, plays jazz and R&B,
Fine Music Radio
Fine Music Radio (101.3 FM) plays classical music and jazz. Bush
Radio is a community radio station (89.5 MHz FM). The Voice of
the Cape (95.8 MHz FM) and
Cape Talk (567 kHz MW) are the major
talk radio stations in the city. Bokradio (98.9 MHz FM) is an
Afrikaans music station. The
University of Cape Town
University of Cape Town also runs its
own radio station,
UCT Radio (104.5 MHz FM).
SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) has a small presence
in the city, with satellite studios located at Sea Point. e.tv has a
greater presence, with a large complex located at Longkloof Studios in
M-Net is not well represented with infrastructure within the
Cape Town TV is a local TV station, supported by numerous
organisation and focusing mostly on documentaries. Numerous
productions companies and their support industries are located in the
city, mostly supporting the production of overseas commercials, model
shoots, TV-series and movies. The local media infrastructure
remains primarily in Johannesburg.
Kitesurfing in Table Bay
Cape Town Stadium
Cape Cobras, Western Province Cricket
Newlands Rugby Stadium
Stormers, Western Province
Santos Football Club
Western Province Cycling
Hartleyvale Hockey Centre
Western Province Hockey
Western Province Softball
Good Hope Centre
Various indoor sports
Royal Cape Yacht Club
Royal Cape Yacht Club
Grand West Arena
Green Point Athletics Stadium
Athletics, Association football
Newlands Swimming Pool
Autshumato/Berg River Dam
Khayelitsha Rugby & Soccer stadium
Cape Town's most popular sports by participation are cricket,
association football, swimming, and rugby union. In rugby union,
Cape Town is the home of the Western Province side, who play at
Newlands Stadium and compete in the Currie Cup. In addition, Western
Province players (along with some from Wellington's Boland Cavaliers)
Stormers in the Southern Hemisphere's Super Rugby
Cape Town also regularly hosts the national team, the
Springboks, and hosted matches during the 1995 Rugby World Cup,
including the opening ceremony and game, as well as the semi-final
between New Zealand and England that saw
Jonah Lomu run in four tries.
Association football, which is better known as soccer in South Africa,
is also popular. Two clubs from
Cape Town play in the Premier Soccer
League (PSL), South Africa's premier league. These teams are Ajax Cape
Town, which formed as a result of the 1999 amalgamation of the Seven
Stars and the
Cape Town Spurs
Cape Town Spurs and resurrected
Cape Town was also the location of several of the matches of the FIFA
2010 World Cup including a semi-final, held in South Africa. The
City built a new 70,000 seat stadium (
Cape Town Stadium) in the
Green Point area.
In cricket, the
Cape Cobras represent
Cape Town at the Newlands
Cricket Ground. The team is the result of an amalgamation of the
Cricket and Boland
Cricket teams. They take part in
the Supersport and Standard Bank Cup Series. The Newlands Cricket
Ground regularly hosts international matches.
Cape Town has had Olympic aspirations. For example, in 1996, Cape Town
was one of the five candidate cities shortlisted by the
IOC to launch
official candidatures to host the 2004 Summer Olympics. Although the
games ultimately went to Athens,
Cape Town came in third place. There
has been some speculation that
Cape Town was seeking the South African
Olympic Committee's nomination to be South Africa's bid city for the
2020 Summer Olympic Games. That however was quashed when the
International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee awarded the 2020 games to Tokyo.
Further information: List of sports events in Cape Town
The city of
Cape Town has vast experience in hosting major national
and international sports events.
Cape Town Cycle Tour is the world's largest individually timed
cycle race – and the first event outside Europe to be included
in the International Cycling Union's Golden Bike Series. It sees over
35,000 cyclists tackling a 109 km (68 mi) route around Cape
Absa Cape Epic
Absa Cape Epic is the largest full-service mountain bike
stage race in the world.
Some notable events hosted by
Cape Town have included the 1995 Rugby
World Cup, 2003 ICC
Cricket World Cup, and World Championships in
various sports such as athletics, fencing, weightlifting, hockey,
cycling, canoeing, gymnastics and others.
Cape Town was also a host city to the
2010 FIFA World Cup
2010 FIFA World Cup from 11 June
to 11 July 2010, further enhancing its profile as a major events city.
It was also one of the host cities of the 2009 Indian Premier League
Public primary and secondary schools in
Cape Town are run by the
Western Cape Education Department. This provincial department is
divided into seven districts; four of these are "Metropole"
districts – Metropole Central, North, South, and East –
which cover various areas of the city. There are also many private
schools, both religious and secular, in Cape Town.
University of Cape Town's main campus
Cape Town has a well-developed higher system of public universities.
Cape Town is served by three public universities: the University of
Cape Town (UCT), the University of the
Western Cape (UWC) and the Cape
Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).
while not in the city itself, is 50 kilometres from the
and has additional campuses, such as the
Tygerberg Faculty of Medicine
and Health Sciences and the Bellville Business Park closer to the
University of Cape Town
University of Cape Town and
Stellenbosch University are
leading universities in South Africa. This is due in large part to
substantial financial contributions made to these institutions by both
the public and private sector. UCT is an English-speaking institution.
It has over 21,000 students and has an MBA programme that is ranked
51st by the Financial Times in 2006. It is also the top-ranked
university in Africa, being the only African university to make the
world's Top 200 university list at number 146. Since the African
National Congress has come into governmental power, some restructuring
Western Cape universities has taken place and as such,
traditionally non-white universities have seen increased financing,
which has benefitted the University of the Western Cape.
Cape Peninsula University of Technology was formed on 1
January 2005, when two separate institutions –
Cape Technikon and
Peninsula Technikon – were merged. The new university offers
education primarily in English, although one may take courses in any
of South Africa's official languages. The institution generally awards
the National Diploma.
Cape Town has also become a popular study abroad destination for many
international college students. Many study abroad providers offer
semester, summer, short-term, and internship programs in partnership
Cape Town universities as a chance for international students to
gain intercultural understanding.
Cape Town International Airport
Cape Town International Airport serves both domestic and international
flights. It is the second-largest airport in
South Africa and serves
as a major gateway for travellers to the Cape region.
Cape Town has
direct flights to most cities in
South Africa as well as a number of
Cape Town International Airport
Cape Town International Airport recently opened a brand new central
terminal building that was developed to handle an expected increase in
air traffic as tourism numbers increased in the lead-up to the 2010
FIFA World Cup. Other renovations include several large new
parking garages, a revamped domestic departure terminal, a new Bus
Rapid Transit system station and a new double-decker road system. The
airport's cargo facilities are also being expanded and several large
empty lots are being developed into office space and hotels.
Cape Town International Airport
Cape Town International Airport was among the winners of the World
Travel Awards for being Africa's leading airport.
Port of Cape Town
Port of Cape Town is a major transport node in southern Africa. In
addition to moving freight it also serves as a major repair site for
ships and oil rigs.
Cape Town has a long tradition as a port city. The Port of Cape Town,
the city's main port, is in
Table Bay directly to the north of the
central business district. The port is a hub for ships in the southern
Atlantic: it is located along one of the busiest shipping corridors in
the world. It is also a busy container port, second in South Africa
only to Durban. In 2004, it handled 3,161 ships and 9.2 million
tonnes of cargo.
Simon's Town Harbour on the
False Bay coast of the
Cape Peninsula is
the main operational base of the South African Navy.
Shosholoza Meyl is the passenger rail operations of
operates two long-distance passenger rail services from Cape Town: a
daily service to and from
Johannesburg via Kimberley and a weekly
service to and from
Durban via Kimberley,
Pietermaritzburg. These trains terminate at
Cape Town railway station
and make a brief stop at Bellville.
Cape Town is also one terminus of
the luxury tourist-oriented Blue Train as well as the five-star Rovos
Metrorail operates a commuter rail service in
Cape Town and the
surrounding area. The Metrorail network consists of 96 stations
throughout the suburbs and outskirts of Cape Town.
Cape Town is the origin of three national roads. The N1 and N2 begin
in the foreshore area near the city centre.
The N1 runs ENE as a highway through Edgemead, Parow, Bellville, and
Brackenfell. It connects
Cape Town to
Paarl and the major cities in
the interior - Bloemfontein, Johannesburg,
Pretoria and Zimbabwe. An
older at-grade road, the R101, runs parallel to the N1 from Bellville.
The N2 runs ESE as a highway through Rondebosch, Guguletu,
Khayelitsha, Macassar to Somerset West. It becomes a
multiple-carriageway at-grade road from the intersection with the R44
onwards. The N2 continues east along the coast, linking
Cape Town to
the coastal cities of Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban. An older
at-grade road, the R101, runs parallel to the N1 initially, before
veering south at Bellville, to join the N2 at
Somerset West via the
Kuils River and Eerste River.
The N7 originates from the N1 at Wingfield Interchange near Edgemead.
It runs north, initially as a highway, but becoming an at-grade road
from the intersection with the M5 (Potsdam Rd) onwards. It links Cape
Town with the
Northern Cape Province
Northern Cape Province and Namibia.
There are also a number of two- and three-digit regional routes
Cape Town with surrounding areas. The R27 originates from the
N1 near the Foreshore and runs north parallel to the N7, but nearer to
the coast. It passes through the suburbs of Milnerton,
Table View and
Bloubergstrand and links the
City to the West Coast, ending at the
town of Velddrif. The R44 enters the east of the metro from the north,
from Stellenbosch. It connects
Stellenbosch to Somerset West, then
crosses the N2 to Strand and Gordon's Bay. It exits the metro heading
south hugging the coast, leading to the towns of
Betty's Bay and
Of the three-digit routes, the R300, which is informally known as the
Cape Flats Freeway, is a highway linking the N1 at
Brackenfell to the
Mitchells Plain and the
Cape Town International Airport. The
R302 runs from the R102 in Bellville, heading north across the N1
Durbanville leaving the metro to Malmesbury. The R304 enters
the northern limits of the metro from Stellenbosch, running NNW before
veering west to cross the N7 at Philadelphia to end at Atlantis at a
junction with thesR307. This R307 starts north of
Koeberg from the R27
and, after meeting the R304, continues north to Darling. The R310
Muizenberg and runs along the coast, to the south of
Mitchell's Plain and Khayelitsha, before veering north-east, crossing
the N2 west of Macassar, and exiting the metro heading to
Cape Town, like most South African cities, uses Metropolitan or "M"
routes for important intra-city routes, a layer below National (N)
roads and Regional (R) routes. Each city's M roads are independently
numbered. Most are at-grade roads. However, the M3 splits from the N2
and runs to the south along the eastern slopes of Table Mountain,
City Bowl with Muizenberg. Except for a section between
Rondebosch and Newlands that has at-grade intersections, this route is
a highway. The M5 splits from the N1 further east than the M3, and
Cape Flats to the CBD. It is a highway as far as the
interchange with the M68 at Ottery, before continuing as an at-grade
Cape Town suffers from the worst traffic congestion in South
Golden Arrow Bus Services
Golden Arrow Bus Services operates scheduled bus services throughout
Cape Town metropolitan area. Several companies run long-distance
bus services from
Cape Town to the other cities in South Africa.
Integrated Rapid Transit (IRT)
Main article: MyCiTi
Cape Town has a public transport system in about 10% of the city,
running north to south along the west coastline of the city,
comprising Phase 1 of the IRT system. This is known as the MyCiTi
MyCiTi Phase 1 includes services linking the Airport to the Cape Town
inner city, as well as the following areas: Blouberg / Table View,
Dunoon, Atlantis and Melkbosstrand, Milnerton, Paarden Eiland, Century
City, Salt River and Walmer Estate, and all suburbs of the
and Atlantic Seaboard all the way to Llandudno and Hout Bay.
MyCiTi N2 Express service consists of two routes each linking the
Cape Town inner city and
Mitchells Plain on the Cape
The service use high floor articulated and standard size buses in
dedicated busways, low floor articulated and standard size buses on
the N2 Express service, and smaller 9-metre (30-foot)
Optare buses in
suburban and inner city areas. It offers universal access through
level boarding and numerous other measures, and requires cashless fare
payment using the
EMV compliant smart card system, called myconnect.
Headway of services (i.e. the time between buses on the same route)
range from 3 mins to 20 mins in peak times to 60 minutes during quiet
Cape Town has two kinds of taxis: metered taxis and minibus taxis.
Unlike many cities, metered taxis are not allowed to drive around the
city to solicit fares and instead must be called to a specific
Cape Town metered taxi cabs mostly operate in the city bowl, suburbs
Cape Town International Airport
Cape Town International Airport areas. Large companies that
operate fleets of cabs can be reached by phone and are cheaper than
the single operators that apply for hire from taxi ranks and Victoria
and Alfred Waterfront. There are about one thousand meter taxis in
Cape Town. Their rates vary from R8 per kilometre to about R15 per
kilometre. The larger taxi companies in
Cape Town are Excite Taxis,
Cabnet and Intercab and single operators are reachable by cellular
phone. The seven seated Toyota Avanza are the most popular with larger
Taxi companies. Meter cabs are mostly used by tourists and are safer
to use than minibus taxis.
Minibus taxis are the standard form of transport for the majority of
the population who cannot afford private vehicles. Although
essential, these taxis are often poorly maintained and are frequently
not road-worthy. These taxis make frequent unscheduled stops to pick
up passengers, which can cause accidents. With the high
demand for transport by the working class of South Africa, minibus
taxis are often filled over their legal passenger allowance. Minibuses
are generally owned and operated in fleets.
Table Mountain from the harbour
Metrorail train leaving
Kalk Bay station
N2 highway, entering the
Taxi rank above
Cape Town railway station
Twin towns – sister cities
Main article: List of twin towns and sister cities in South Africa
Cape Town has nine twin towns and sister cities:
South Africa portal
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cape Town.
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Cape Town.
Official website of the
City of Cape Town
Official website of the Western Cape
Cape Town Tourism website
Cape Town Routes Unlimited (official
Western Cape Tourism website)
Cape Town, South Africa
Castle of Good Hope
Koopmans-de Wet House
South African Museum
District Six Museum
Cape Town Museum
Air Force Museum
South African Sendinggestig Museum
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa
Two Oceans Aquarium
Parks, beaches, etc.
De Waal Park
De Hel Nature Area
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Streets and squares
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park
Cape Town at Wikimedia Commons .
South Africa portal
Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality, Western
Seat: Cape Town
Sir Lowry's Pass Village
Da Gama Park
Devil's Peak Estate
Three Anchor Bay
Joe Slovo Park
Capitals of Africa
Dependent territories and states with limited recognition are in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Bangui, Central African Republic
Brazzaville, Rep. of the Congo
El Aaiún(claimed)/Tifariti(factual), Sahrawi Arab Democratic
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Jamestown, St Helena, Ascension & Tristan da Cunha2
Juba, South Sudan
Kinshasa, D.R. Congo
Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Lobamba (legislative), Swaziland
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Port Louis, Mauritius
Praia, Cape Verde
Cape Town (legislative)
Bloemfontein (judicial), South Africa
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas, Canary Islands5
São Tomé and Príncipe
Abidjan (economic), Ivory Coast
1 An unrecognised or partially-recognised nation
2 British Overseas Territory
Overseas region of France
4 Autonomous region of Portugal
5 Autonomous community of Spain
Provincial capitals of South Africa
Bhisho (Eastern Cape)
Bloemfontein (Free State)
Cape Town (Western Cape)
Kimberley (Northern Cape)
Mahikeng (North West)
Province of the Western Cape
Capital and largest city: Cape Town
Population: 5,822,734 (2011)
Land area: 129,462 km2
Cape Town timeline)
Breede River Valley