24 hours in Cape Town

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Laidback locals affectionately call it ‘the mother city’ – which says it all. Cape Town originated as a strategic calling post for the tall ships midway between west and east on the fabled spice route. The spectacular location of the city at the southernmost tip of Africa has lured settlers and travellers from around the world for centuries.

Set on the slopes of Table Mountain on a rugged coastal peninsula of iconic golden beaches and seaside resorts on the Atlantic riviera, Cape Town is renowned for the natural beauty of its landscape. Shaped by colonial Dutch, French, British, Malay, and indigenous African cultures, the fledgling settlement has grown into a ‘rainbow city’, which attracts visitors to a cultural melting-pot of art, music, cuisine, and people.

One of the trendiest tourist playgrounds on the planet, Cape Town offers visitors the best of the big outdoors from mountain to sand and sea in a metropolitan setting – along with vibrant urban attractions ranging from boutique malls at the biggest waterfront in the world to the vibrant downtown nightlife.

Rise with the birds and soar like a seagull
high above the city on a tandem paraglide at sunrise from Lion’s Head, a landmark on the city skyline, gliding from the granite mountain slopes down to the beach.

After an exhilarating start to the day,
stick to terra firma and join the locals jogging, skateboarding, and walking on the beachfront at Sea Point Promenade – or join an outdoor aerobics or tai chi class.

You’ve earned your break by now
– so head along the Atlantic seaboard to Camps Bay for a champagne breakfast at Blues or one of the al fresco cafés under the palms with a view of white sands and turquoise sea.

Travel back into the 17th century
in the leafy gardens planted by the Dutch East India Company, and visit the Iziko Slave Lodge, and Houses of Parliament which inaugurated Nelson Mandela as president in 1994.

Take a guided walk
through the cobbled streets of the Bo-Kaap, the historic Malay quarter of mosques, museums, and colourful cottages. Wait for the loud boom of the noon gun: a city tradition you can set your watch by.

It’s time for a leisurely lunch
at one of the al fresco restaurants overlooking the tugs and ferries in the harbour at the V&A Waterfront. Watch out for seals at play while you feast on fresh shellfish at Baia, Oyo, or Docks.

Catch the last ferry of the day
from the Robben Island museum at the V&A Waterfront to the Unesco World Heritage site for a guided tour of the prison where Nelson Mandela and anti-apartheid leaders were held.

Ride the cableway to the top of Table Mountain
in a rotating cable car which affords spectacular 360? views over the city bowl – and enjoy a romantic sundowner on the terrace high above the city.

Time to relax after a day’s sightseeing.
Feast on authentic African cuisine, and enjoy live local music at a downtown restaurant like Africa Café, Khaya Nyama, Mamma Afrika, Marco’s African Place, or Nyoni’s Kraal.

Time to get your dancing shoes on,
so head to Long Street. Dance the early hours away on the rooftop of The Grand Daddy Hotel on the only penthouse Airstream trailer park in the world. That’s Cape Town cool.

Cape Town, South Africa
Distance: 7,427 km
Flight Time: 11 hours, 25 minutes
Frequency: 4 flights a week via Johannesburg

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