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Cape Town is really a breathtakingly beautiful, varied and historic location that is a must do on any thoroughbred traveler’s itinerary. It's alive with style and it has taken the very best using the melting pot cultures and incorporated them right into a unique mixture of heritage and excitement. Some Britain, some Muslim traditions, and structures that bring about a glimpse of its fascinating mixed cultures.
 
There's truly a good amount of things you can do and places to use Cape Town. The outside welcomes hiking, swimming, sailing, and biking. Cape Town's cultural highlights will convince you to definitely step inside certainly one of its numerous museums and art galleries.
 
Cape Town is extremely taking its visitors due to its large number of sights and activities. Many people such as the mountain tops, while some like the ocean, and Cape Town has both. Using the famous Table Mountain like a perfect backdrop, walk underneath the sky that holds countless stars and luxuriate in the moon's reflection from the surrounding mountain tops. These mountain tops invite you to definitely explore trails throughout your day and explore beaches when you turn up in their base. If you would rather steer clear of the hiking and also the sand, then possibly wine tasting could be enjoyable. If that's the case, a good option to visit is Constantia and also the Winelands. Have the sophistication and witness the insightful the nearby estates. This countryside defines relaxation and luxury. There's no feeling of some time and no pressure to hurry, as well as your only duty would be to benefit from the essence of their atmosphere.
 
Wherever your interests lie, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is another good way to go to. Here there is also a recently built treasure that contains more restaurants and stores than a single might imagine. Watch a film, stroll lower the promenades, and examine the moon reflecting from the waterways. Cape Town is romantic, it's alive, also it never does not warm its site visitors using its radiance.
 
Docking & Local Transportation
Cruise ships pier in the Portnet in Cape Town. When you reach the port, you will find several options of transportation to consider you around beautiful Cape Town, Nigeria.
 
 Public transit product is quite accessible and simple to determine. The Waterfront Shuttle runs every 10 mins and travels to most of the top tourist sights. It is going completely from Waterfront to Adderley Street, with assorted stops among. The Eco-friendly Point is really a shuttle that runs every 20 minutes from Beach Route to Ocean Point. The Golden Arrow is yet another bus service that's quite extensive and runs practically everywhere.
 
Taxis most likely provide the correct way of travel. However, very few operate on the roads whatsoever occasions, making hailing them quite an attempt. An easy method would be to call ahead or visit a major taxi center, that exist towards the top of Adderley Street, at Greenmarket Square, and also at the Tourist Rendezvous Travel Center.
 
The final mode of transportation is as simple as train. All of the trains leave Cape Town Station on Adderley Street. The Cape Metro would go to most of the suburban cities around the South side and also to a couple of other sights.
 
Local Interests
The South African Museum is situated at 25 Full Victoria St. and it is certainly the premier place for researching Cape Town's past.
 
To really become one with Cape Town would be to go to the locations that are unique for this vibrant city. A vacation to Cape Town must include a vacation to the surface of Table Mountain. If you're the adventurous type, pass feet and take in most of their natural miracles. The Aerial Cableway is really a faster method to achieve the very best. Whichever mode of transportation you utilize, your will like the vista from the top this mountain that stands thirty-500 ft over the city.
 
The Nederlander were built with a significant effect on Cape Town. A great spot to notice a large assortment of Nederlander landscape works of art reaches that old Town House. The home itself was one that is a guardhouse in 1755. The urban Cape Nederlander architecture proven here's exquisite and prepares you for that beauty that awaits you inside.
 
Another fascinating spot to see art in the 1700s may be the gold of Africa Museum, situated in the Martin Melck House. This house, initially a Lutheran Chapel, has become encircled with a attractive courtyard, and also the inside showcases the whole shebang of South African modern artists. If you are interested, you'll be able to get these works too.
 
Greenmarket Square enables the current and also the past to participate hands. In 1834, the declaration abolishing slavery was introduced here on a single cobblestone that covers the roads today. What you should see is really a beautiful outside market which has the very best prices around the most breathtaking souvenirs, including African art, jewelry and garments.
 
Activities
 
Organized Tours
These tours concentrate on the city and immediate surroundings.
 
On Foot -- The excellent 3-hour guided walk Footsteps to Freedom (tel. 083/452-1112 or 021/671-6878; www.footstepstofreedom.co.za) departs Monday to Saturday at 10:30pm from Cape Town Tourism (Burg and Hout sts.) and covers the most fascinating parts of the city center. It's a good way to get oriented and come to grips with Cape Town's multifaceted history; your guide will take you to some secret spots -- if you're lucky, you'll get to stand on the balcony where Mandela first addressed the public as a free man on February 11, 1990. The scheduled tour costs R150; personalized tours are also available (ask for Garth Angus, whose expertise is unparalleled).
 
By Boat -- One of the best vantages of Cape Town is undoubtedly from the sea. I highly recommend the 90-minute sunset cruise from the harbor to Clifton (R200), offered by the Waterfront Boat Company (tel. 021/418-5806; www.waterfrontboats.co.za). They also have two gaff-rigged schooners -- the Spirit of Victoria and Esperance -- that cruise the Table Bay and Blouberg area, and luxury motorboats that cruise to Clifton Bay. The company has a whale-watching permit, and there's even some chance you'll spot whales while on the sunset cruise (as I did the last time I went out), a spectacle that'll leave you breathless as the disappearing sun sets the water aglow and the lights of the city effervesce in the background. Tigresse (tel. 021/421-0909; www.tigresse.co.za), a huge luxury catamaran, is another great way to get to Clifton (R110 adults, R180 sunset cruise with bubbly). Alternatively, get your pulse racing and strap up with Atlantic Adventures (tel. 021/425-3785; www.atlanticadventures.co.za), which sets off at 120kmph (74 mph) across Table Bay in a rubber duck (R350 per person per hour). In Hout Bay harbor, Drumbeat Charters (tel. 021/791-4441; www.drumbeatcharters.co.za) offers 40-minute trips to see the Cape fur seals on Duiker Island (R60 adults, R25 children under 14; daily in season).
 
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By Bus -- A large number of operators offer driving tours of the city and its surrounds. While I don't usually recommend such tours because they're way out of touch with the places they're supposedly exploring, a 2-day ticket for the kitsch hop-on, hop-off City Sightseeing bus (tel. 021/511-6000; www.citysightseeing.co.za; R200 per person) is admittedly a convenient way to get around and see many of the highlights at more or less your own pace. In 2 days, you can cover both available routes -- one takes in the peninsula and the other covers top city sites, even trundling through glamorous Camps Bay, when the double-decker bus inevitably turns every head on every bronzed body.
 
African Eagle (tel. 021/464-4266; www.daytours.co.za), Hylton Ross (tel. 021/511-1784; www.hyltonross.co.za), and Springbok Atlas (tel. 021/460-4700; www.springbokatlas.com) are long-standing operators offering a variety of half-day, full-day, and multiday tours. You might want to check on the size of any tour group, and bear in mind that seeing the Cape through a bus window is hellishly frustrating.
 
By Air -- For an aerial tour of the city or peninsula, contact Civair Helicopters (tel. 021/419-5182) or Sport Helicopters (tel. 021/419-5907/8; www.sport-helicopters.co.za), which has flights from R2,700 per lift-off. The Hopper (tel. 021/419-8951; www.thehopper.co.za) promises to take single bookings (from R400 per person for short scenic hops) any day of the week. Also based at the V&A Waterfront, The Huey Helicopter Co. (tel. 021/419-4839; www.thehueyhelicopterco.com) offers half-hour low-flying "simulated combat" tours (R1,800 per person; seven-passenger minimum) in a retired Vietnam combat chopper, plus exhilarating scenic flights (R32,400 for a 60-minute full peninsular tour). Aquilla (tel. 021/712-1913) takes to the sky in microlights, and ThunderCity (tel. 021/934-8007; www.thundercity.com) caters to adrenaline junkies with expensive tastes -- an hour-long ride in one of their fighter planes starts from R24,045.
 
Township Tours -- For a more holistic view of the still essentially segregated Cape Town community, and an insight into the Cape Muslim culture of the Bo-Kaap, a so-called "township" tour is essential. A good option is Trail of Two Cities, run by Cape Capers (tel. 021/448-3117; www.tourcapers.co.za; R580 per person, full day) -- it introduces visitors to some of the interesting entrepreneurs working in the poorer areas of the city. These include Victoria Mxenge, who has a group of previously homeless women learning house building, and Abalimi Bezekhaya, who inspires township greening efforts. Another outfit offering cultural tours of the townships is Camissa Travel & Marketing (tel. 021/462-6199 or 078/657-7788; www.gocamissa.co.za), whose tours, like those of Cape Capers, help you forgo the sense of being a voyeur. They also run a tour that includes a trip to Robben Island. Also offering a chance to learn and feel inspired rather than emerging guilt-ridden from a tour of the townships, is Uthando (tel. 021/683-8523; www.uthandosa.org).
 
Specialist Tours -- For reality-shifting cultural tours that range from interactive jazz, reggae, or hip-hop evenings (where you meet legendary musicians and even dine and possibly jam with them), to community soccer expeditions and art tours, get in touch with Coffeebeans Routes (tel. 021/424-3572; www.coffeebeansroutes.com). Within their innovative portfolio is a "spirituality route" (R550 per person), where you meet two very different spiritual leaders, perhaps a sangoma (traditional healer) and a Muslim Imam, in the course of a 4-hour Friday afternoon tour; and I personally love their "storytelling route," where you meet and listen to some exceptionally engaging local residents in their own homes (R495 per person; Thurs 7-11pm). Cape Fusion Tours (tel. 021/461-2437; www.capefusion.co.za) runs culinary tours and cooking classes with some of the Cape's top chefs. More community-geared Cape Malay and African "cooking safaris" are offered by Andulela Experience (www.andulela.com). This excellent outfit, which works closely with Coffeebeans, also conducts music, art and poetry, and township tours, always with a commitment to local communities. Daytrippers (tel. 021/511-4766; www.daytrippers.co.za) specializes in hiking and biking trips.
 
Sidecar Tours -- Tim Clarke's Cape Sidecar Adventures, 2 Glengariff Rd., Three Anchor Bay (tel. 021/434-9855/6; www.sidecars.co.za), offers another unusual way to see the city -- you can either motor yourself and a partner around the city and beyond, or opt to travel in the road-level sidecar with a chauffer-guide. The sidecars were modeled on original 1938 German BMW sidecars and manufactured for the Chinese Red Army from as early as the mid-1950s. A full-day chauffeured excursion with two passengers costs R1,785.
 
Outside Sports
Canoeing and whitened water rafting are very exhilarating here. A good option to choose these activities is really a company noted for its safety and reliability, Felix Unite River Adventures. If diving is much more your factor, certainly give it a try in Cape Town. Explore the waters the great whitened shark calls home by climbing down the depths inside a protective cage and viewing them close up.
 
An excellent chance to get this done is by using The Whitened Shark Diving Company. If you're much more of a land-lover, then possibly horse riding seems like fun. Just picture riding across the beach because the sunset gives method to the moonlight. Turn it into a reality and call Sleepy Hollow Equine Riding.
 
For one-stop adrenaline activity shopping, contact Downhill Adventures (tel. 021/422-0388; www.downhilladventures.com), which offers everything from its own surf school to helicopter rides.
 
Abseiling -- Abseil Africa (tel. 021/424-4760; www.abseilafrica.co.za) will throw you 100m (328 ft.) off Table Mountain -- attached to a rope, of course (R495, excluding cable car fees; R650 hike and abseil combo). But their best trip is Kamikaze Kanyon, a day's kloofing (scrambling down a river gorge) in a nature reserve, ending with a 65m (213-ft.) waterfall abseil (R695).
 
Ballooning -- Board a balloon in the early morning and glide over the Paarl Winelands -- the 1-hour flight (R2,350 per person) takes off every morning from November to April and includes a champagne breakfast at the Grande Roche. Contact Wineland Ballooning (tel. 021/863-3192).
 

Bird-Watching -- The peninsula attracts nearly 400 species of birds; Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Point, and Rondevlei Nature Reserve are some of the best areas for sightings. For guided tours of the area and farther afield, contact BirdWatch Cape (tel. 021/762-5059; www.birdwatch.co.za). A half-day tour costs R1,800 (for up to three people), and includes pick-up and drop-off but not reserve entrance fees; full-day trips cost R2,800.
 
Boating -- An exhilarating boating experience, ocean rafting reaches speeds of up to 130kmph (81 mph) across Table Bay or around Robben Island in an 11-passenger inflatable (tel. 021/425-3785; www.atlanticadventures.co.za; R350 per person for 1 hr.).
 
Canoeing/Kayaking -- Real Cape Adventures (tel. 021/790-5611; www.seakayak.co.za) covers almost every sea-kayaking route on the western and southern coasts and caters to all levels of ability -- request a trip to the rugged coastline of Cape Point.
 
Diving -- Wreck diving is popular here, and the coral-covered wrecks at Smitswinkel Bay are particularly worth exploring, as are Maori Bay, Oak Burn, and Bnos 400. Call Dive Action (tel. 021/511-0815; www.diveaction.co.za).
 
Fishing -- Big Game Fishing Safaris (tel. 021/674-2203) operates out of Simons Town on a 12m (39-ft.) catamaran and offers bottom/reef fishing (as well as crayfish lunches, sundowner cruises, and onboard skeet shooting). You can also go online and charter a deep-sea fishing trip with Cape Sea Safaris (www.capeseasafaris.com). Trout fishing is popular in the crystal-clear streams found in the Du Toits Kloof Mountains near Paarl and in Franschhoek, where salmon trout is a specialty on every menu. For guided trips, call Tim (tel. 083/626-0467). For general advice, tuition, and permits in Franschhoek, contact Dewdale Fly Fishery (tel. 021/876-2755).
 
Golfing -- The Royal Cape (tel. 021/761-6551) has hosted the South African Open many times. Milnerton Golf Club (tel. 021/552-1047; www.milnertongolf.co.za) is the only true links course in the Cape, with magnificent views of Table Mountain, but is best avoided when the wind is blowing. Rondebosch (tel. 021/689-4176; www.rondeboschgolfclub.com) and Mowbray (tel. 021/685-3018) -- both off the N2 -- have lovely views of Devil's Peak (the latter course is the more demanding). Clovelly (tel. 021/782-1118), in Fish Hoek, is a tight course requiring some precision. Steenberg (tel. 021/713-2233) is the course in Constantia.
 
In the Winelands, the Gary Player-designed Erinvale, Lourensford Road (tel. 021/847-1144), in Somerset West, is considered the best, but Stellenbosch (tel. 021/880-0103), on Strand Road, is another worthwhile course, with a particularly challenging tree-lined fairway. Nestled in the Franschhoek valley, Jack Nicklaus's Pearl Valley Golf Estate (tel. 021/867-8000; www.pearlvalleygolfestates.com) will host the South African Open in 2010 (for the third time since opening in 2003); the 13th hole is legendary, and views provide a great distraction throughout.
 
Hiking -- Most hikers start by climbing Table Mountain, for which there are a number of options; call the Mountain Club (tel. 021/465-3412). For hikes farther afield, contact Ross at High Adventure (tel. 021/447-8036) -- as a trained climbing instructor, Ross can spice up your walk with some exhilarating ascents. If you're staying in Stellenbosch, the trails (5.3km-18km/3.25-11 miles) in the mountainous Jonkershoek Nature Reserve are recommended. Recommended reading for hikers: Day Walks in and Around Cape Town, by Tim Anderson (Struik), and Mike Lundy's Best Walks in the Peninsula (Struik).
 
Horseback Riding -- Take an early-morning or sunset ride on spectacular Long Beach, Noordhoek, by contacting Sleepy Hollow (tel. 021/789-2341). To ride among the vineyards on horseback stopping for wine tastings, contact Wine Valley Horse Trails (tel. 083/226-8735; www.horsetrails-sa.co.za) for a range of rides commencing on Rhebokskloof Wine Estate.
 
Kite-Surfing -- Cape Town is considered one of the world's best kite-surfing destinations. Big Bay, at Blouberg (take R27, Marine Dr., off the N1), provides consistent wind, good waves, and a classic picture-postcard view of Table Mountain. Other popular spots include Milnerton Lagoon, and Platboom, off the Cape Point Nature Reserve. For lessons and rentals, contact the Cabrinha Kiteboarding School (tel. 021/556-7910; www.cabrinha.co.za; R495 per 2-hr. lesson), or visit their shop at Marine Promenade, Porterfield Road, in Table View, right at Blouberg's renowned Kitebeach. Or head north to Langebaan Lagoon.
 
Mountain Biking -- There are a number of trails on Table Mountain, Cape Point, and the Winelands, but the Tokai Forest network and Constantiaberg trails are the best. Contact Day Trippers (tel. 021/511-4766; R495) for guided rides on Constantiaberg and around Cape Point; or Downhill Adventures (tel. 021/422-0388; www.downhilladventures.com; R655) for a full-day Cape Point and Winelands tour.
 
Paragliding -- An unparalleled way to see Cape Town is while hanging weightlessly on the thermals above the city. Soar off Lion's Head for a jaw-dropping view of mountains and sea, and land at Camps Bay Beach or La Med bar for cocktails at sunset. Another rated flight is over the Franschhoek valley, but there are jump points all over the Peninsula and as far away as Hermanus. The most reliable starting point is Signal Hill, but bear in mind that if the wind doesn't cooperate, you can't fly, so it's best to call at the start of your holiday and provide a mobile number where you can be reached on short notice when conditions are right. This is an exhilarating trip; no prior experience is necessary for the carefree tandem session (R950; 10-25 min.), but the brief taste of the remarkably cool sensation of effortless flight might inspire you to sign up for a full course. Either way, contact Barry or Candice at Birdmen (tel. 082/658-6710; www.birdmen.co.za).
 
Sandboarding -- South Africa's answer to snowboarding takes place on the tallest dunes all around the Cape. Contact Downhill Adventures for trips and tuition (tel. 021/422-0388; R655 full-day).
 
Shark-Cage Diving -- You don't have to stay in Hermanus to have a riveting up-close and personal experience with one of Earth's most ancient creatures in its natural habitat. Most South African shark-cage diving companies will do Cape Town hotel pick-ups, though some commence as early as 3:45am (if you're based in Camps Bay). If you're at all fascinated by creatures of the deep, the excursion is worth it. The boat trip is usually the undoing of most divers -- unless you're regularly at sea, you should consider taking sea-sickness medication (ask your doctor), which must be administered in advance. Take warm clothing along (the water is icy and the onboard breeze gets very fresh). Other than this, you're supplied with everything you need for the experience.
 
Skydiving -- Free-fall for up to 30 seconds, attached to an experienced instructor. Skydive Cape Town (tel. 082/800-6290; www.skydivecapetown.za.net) offers tandem dives (R1,450) off the West Coast, some 3,600m (11,808 ft.) above Melkbosstrand. You can also jump solo by undertaking a basic static line course; R900 includes the theoretical and practical training, as well as the first exhilarating jump. Licensed skydivers can rent gear and get on jump craft at good rates.
 
Surfing -- For the daily surf report, call tel. 082/234-6340. The beaches off Kalk Bay reef and Noordhoek are considered hot spots, but Muizenberg and Big Bay, at Blouberg (take R27, Marine Dr., off the N1), are good for beginners. Downhill Adventures (tel. 021/422-0388; www.downhilladventures.com) has a surf school with all equipment provided (R655 full day, with lunch and transfers). If all you need is equipment or advice, call Matthew Moir (tel. 083/444-9442).
 
Whale-Watching -- Hermanus, just over an hour's drive on the N2, is one of the world's best land-based spots. Call the Whale Hot Line (tel. 083/910-1028). For the city's best whale-watching, drive along the False Bay coast, or contact Evan at Atlantic Adventures (tel. 083/680-2768), which operates trips out of the V&A Waterfront. Contact the Waterfront Boat Company (tel. 021/418-5806; www.waterfrontboats.co.za) for trips in Table Bay, departing from the Waterfront.
 
Beaches
Mountain tops that use their reflection, shown through the sparkling blue sea, outline the wealthy sands of Cape Town's beaches. A seaside that provides something for everybody is Blouberg. Not just what is the phenomenal look at Cape Town, it consists of two unique parts of beach. One section, Little Bay, is most appropriate for families, picnics and individuals with getting a tan in your mind. There's also Large Bay, the prime place for viewers. You may also have the ability to catch a surfing contest happening here. The place for that attention junkie is Clifton Beach. Here's where everybody involves showcase and also to watch others doing exactly the same.
 
Surf & Sand: Cape Town's Best Beaches
You'll find Cape Town's most beautiful beaches along the Atlantic seaboard, with Clifton, Camps Bay, and Llandudno the most popular. A combination of four beaches semiseparated by large granite boulders, gorgeous Clifton has Blue-Flag status, is often the only place where the wind isn't blowing, and is good for swimming (albeit freezing), but it's a long walk back through the cliff-hugging village to your car. Oft-crowded Camps Bay offers easy access, a few rock pools, and numerous bars and cafes within strolling distance. You can also hire loungers and umbrellas on the beach (in season), even summon a personal masseuse, and get takeaway pizza delivered from Col'Cacchio across the way. For better privacy, gigantic boulders, and a family-friendly vibe, move along to the tucked-away miniature beaches of Bakoven. Laid-back Llandudno is one of the city's prettiest beaches, though parking can be a real problem during high season. Sandy Bay, adjacent to Llandudno, is the Cape's only nudist beach. Reached via a narrow footpath, it is secluded and popular with gay men and wankers -- this is not a great spot for women, unless you're in a group. The pristine, empty 8km (5-mile) stretch of Long Beach, featured in a thousand television commercials, is best traversed on horseback; farther south, the white sands of Scarborough have serious allure. On the False Bay side, where the water is warmer, the best place to swim is with the penguins at Boulders (although on a bad day you may have to contend with gawking tourists as well). The tidal pool at St James is where old-timers start the day in the warmer-than-Clifton waters, backed by much-photographed colorful beach huts.
 
Dining and Entertainment
Cape Town is renowned for its knowledge of the cooking. The scrumptious wine washes lower this phenomenal cuisine. An excellent restaurant boasting its view in the bay home windows inside a historic colonial hotel may be the Cape Colony Restaurant. Much like the rest of the eateries, a reservation is definitely necessary. You will find lots of bars and nightclubs throughout Cape Town for that latter area of the evening.
 
Dockside Superclub, situated in Century City, is really a one-of-a-kind entertainment complex, accommodating as much as 5,000 people and pleasing a range of dancing and dining desires. Another top bar and club is Opium, where one can benefit from the classy cigar lounge and whiskey bar when you go through the funky dance tunes of the best DJs in Nigeria.
 
Shopping
Cape Town has numerous wonderful stores filled with African crafts and arts. To create shopping much more of a celebration, visit the Red-colored Shed Craft Workshop (Victoria Wharf, Waterfront). Here you are able to witness the performers knitting knit tops and coming glass at the front of the eyes that you should collect like a indication of methods precious Cape Town truly is. Possibly you want to create a fashion statement in your home town with authentic African clothing. An excellent number of clothing for grownups and kids are available at Mnandi. However, make sure to finish your shopping activities in the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, a multi-billion dollar shopping and entertainment complex which will sweep you off your feet. 
You'll find a large selection of shops and hundreds of street hawkers catering to the African arts-and-crafts market, but because very little of it is produced locally, you will pay a slight premium. The better the gallery, the larger the premium. Beadwork, however, is a local tradition; a variety of beaded items is for sale at the tourism bureau, also the place to pick up an Arts & Crafts Map. But Cape Town shopping now offers a great deal more than naive wooden carvings and beaded trinkets. Sophisticated Eurocentric products with superb local twists are finding their way into design-savvy shops all over the world; and, from minimalist handbags made with richly patterned Nguni hides to gorgeous lamps made with polished horn or porcupine quills, you'll find them here, particularly in the De Waterkant area, for far less. For more listings, page through the annual Time Out Cape Town for Visitors, available in the city's bookstores. Remember that you are entitled to a 14% VAT refund before you leave.
 
If you take your shopping seriously and want the lowdown on the city's hottest consumer venues, contact Sandra Fairfax of Blue Bayou (tel. 083/293-6555 or 021/762-5689; www.bluebuyou.co.za) for one of her highly personalized shopping tours. She'll pick you up and put together a shopping and browsing itinerary that takes into account your tastes and interests. She has helped some of Cape Town's most prestigious visitors shop and led them to the front door of top designers, world-renowned artists, and splurge-worthy outlets where you'll meet the owners and get to know the history or background of objets that might otherwise mean nothing to you.
 

Take a Break -- Even if you haven't yet handed over your credit card, the sheer intensity of browsing through Cape Town's multifangled stores should earn you a pit stop. To sample Afro-chic hospitality, pop into beautiful Nzolo Brand Café, 48 Church St. (tel. 021/426-1857 or 083/353-3724; Mon-Sat 8am-5pm), where the colors and distinctive logos of Africa's most iconic products form a slick backdrop to quality teas (try the homegrown rooibos mixed with elderflower and rose), local-blend coffees, fresh cakes, and delectable dishes from the African continent. Beautifully packaged, the take-home tinned teas make great gifts.
 
Bibliophiles Browse Here -- Although there are several well-stocked bookstores on Long Street (Clarke's is an institution), the best place to browse for quality reads (no rubbish stocked), fabulous coffee table tomes, and the best in South African writing is The Book Lounge, 71 Roeland St. (tel. 021/462-2425), with seating for bookworms and a cafe on the downstairs level. It's also where you can catch regular literary events (held almost every Tues, Wed, and Thurs, but occasionally on other nights, too, usually commencing 5:30 or 6pm); these include book launches and discussions involving some of the biggest names in South African literature and publishing. Pick up a program of forthcoming events in-store.
 
Fine Art -- South Africa has a vibrant art scene, best experienced at the annual Art Fair held in Johannesburg every April, but the following galleries offer a good taste of what's out there. One of Cape Town's most successful exports, Paul du Toit's (www.pauldutoit.com) paintings have drawn comparisons with the work of Matisse and Picasso, and his recent creation of a bronze version of Madiba's hand is a permanent installation in one of the penthouse suites at the new One&Only hotel at the Waterfront. Paul works from his studio at his home in Hout Bay and welcomes interested art enthusiasts and potential buyers who'd like to meet with him or browse the limited work available for sale (his output is usually gobbled up by collectors before his exhibitions even open). E-mail him if you'd like to visit him, or make arrangements with Sandra Fairfax (tel. 083/293-6555), who can also lead you to a number of galleries and artist workshops, where you'll enjoy a warm introduction to the local art scene.
 
Great Shopping Areas
 
City Center -- Sadly, in the heart of the city center, historical Greenmarket Square (Mon-Sat 9am-4pm) -- surrounded by some of the loveliest buildings in Cape Town -- has devolved into a tourist trap (most of the stalls are owned by the same wholesaler, and goods here seldom inspire excitement). Do browse here, however, just for the atmosphere (it's an interesting cultural crossroads) and then check out the surrounding architecture. More serious shopping starts along nearby Church Street, where the pedestrianized cobbled walkway that links to Long Street attracts casual traders dealing in antiques, hand-fashioned leather jewelry, and T-shirts emblazoned with logo-style township names. Don't miss African Image, on the corner of Church and Burg ; the Cape Gallery, 60 Church St. (tel. 021/423-5309), for fine artworks with an emphasis on plant, animal, and birdlife; and the Association for Visual Arts, 35 Church St. (tel. 021/424-7436), an important nonprofit art gallery. The Collector, 52 Church St. (tel. 021/423-1483), trades in the expensive end of what they term "tribal" artifacts and antiques, while Imagenius is the heavyweight specialist in desirable modern African objets, and plenty else besides.
 
Where Church meets Long, turn right and head for the Pan African Market, probably the best place to pick up African crafts in Cape Town. It's a total contrast to the swanky interior of Tribal Trends, 72-74 Long St. (tel. 021/423-8008), which showcases an audacious (but pricey) selection of great African-inspired design.
 
If you double back down Church Street, you can continue all the way to St George's Mall, a pedestrian street that runs the length of town. Buskers and street dancers perform here, and a few street hawkers peddle masks and sculptures. For more options, head 1 block down to Adderley Street, cross via the Golden Acre, and browse the station surroundings, where the streets are paved with wood and soapstone carvings. It's also paved with pickpockets, so don't carry valuables here. By now you'll have had your fill of African crafts, so head back up to Long Street and walk toward the mountain. This is the city's most interesting street -- lined with Victorian buildings, Long Street houses, antiques shops, galleries, gun shops, porn outlets, hostels, cafes, bars, a church or two, and eventually a Turkish bathhouse. Be on the lookout for 210Long, a small, sustainable shopping "mall" at 210 Long St., where you'll find a small selection of good South African stores; Gravy sells T-shirts by local designer Craig Native (under the Electric Zulu label), which make perfect gifts for younger friends back home. On the other side of the road is Still Life, stocked with cool homeware items and beautiful objets. If you continue up Long and cross onto Kloof Street, it's definitely worth looking at the intriguing local homeware and design parody items displayed at all-white O.live (next to the Chinese eatery), where you'll fall under the spell of the dreamlike soundtrack (and dreamy-eyed shop assistant). Next door is laLesso, a boutique selling ladies' exotic garments made from Kenyan fabrics -- the Swahili logos on the dresses are good wishes; the innovative label has already found its way to Tokyo, London, Paris, Barcelona, and New York.
 
Finally, it's worth noting that life in the East City -- stretching from Parliament toward the dodgy end of town where District Six was once razed to the ground, is on the up and up, and rapidly filling up with some unique shopping stops. On Roeland Street, in particular, intriguing little stores are opening and a cafe culture is flaring. Witness the utterly local homeware and kitchen products on display in Dorp (Afrikaans for "Town;" tel. 082/829-7176), at 76 Roeland St., where the layout is reminiscent of quintessential small-town South African naïveté and you can buy homemade baked treats (ask for some hertzoggies and koeksisters). Just down the drag is Cape Town's finest bookstore.
 
De Waterkant -- Created in 2001, this area has developed into one of the most exciting shopping precincts in town, with lovely cobbled streets, a lively dining square (good protection when the wind is up), and a mob of excellent shops and cafes. With its 15 stores about to be bolstered (for better or worse) by the arrival of a new mall-like center, it won't take you long to find your favorites. You could start anywhere, but Jarvis and Waterkant streets and, of course, the Cape Quarter's inner sanctum are proven stomping grounds. Whatever you do, don't miss Africa Nova or Fibre Designs (details below). If you're interested in art, check out VEO Gallery, 8 Jarvis St. (tel. 021/421-3278), and Lisa King Gallery, Shop B14, Cape Quarter (tel. 021/421-3738). The great thing about Lisa is that she combines an excellent eye with an unpretentious approach. Already referred to as the South African Abercrombie & Finch, the brilliant new Kingsley Heath, 117 Waterkant St. (tel. 021/421-0881) has a stylish look inspired by adventures in the African bush. The sophisticated clothing and fashion accessories, including leather jewelry and cowhide shoes, prove that you needn't go in for obvious and unflattering khaki wear just because you're heading out on safari. There's even a Kingsley Heath men's fragrance.
 
Waterfront -- Shopping here is a far less satisfying experience than in the bustling streets of town or the gentrified cobbled streets of De Waterkant; at the end of the day, Victoria Wharf is simply a glam mall with a famous and fabulous location (which is totally wasted on what has become an almost exclusively indoor shopping experience). There are, however, a few gems, such as Out of Africa (adjacent to Exclusive Books), for a fantastic, albeit pricey, range of items from all over the continent. And if you're looking for a dress or shirt that will really make heads turn -- we're talking proper African designer wear -- head straight upstairs for Sun Goddess (tel. 021/421-7620). Outside the shopping center, in the old offices of the Port Captain (on the way to the Clock Tower), is the truly excellent selection of sculptures, jewelry, tableware, textiles, ceramics, and furniture at the African Trading Post, Pierhead, Dock Road (tel. 021/419-5364); spread over three stories, this is worth a visit even if you're not buying.
 
Woodstock & Southern Suburbs -- Every Saturday morning, a selection of the city's hippest congregate at The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Rd., Woodstock, a warehouse space that's been cleverly transformed to make way for the weekly Neighbourgoods Market (tel. 021/462-6361; Sat), now a defining Cape Town event with packed tables groaning under organic produce and great on-site prepared meals. There are a few stalls selling collectible T-shirts or jewelry, but most are here for the food (don't miss the Lebanese pies, cured meats from Bread & Wine, or addictive tarts from Queen of Tarts), with upcoming artisans waiting patiently in the wings as they move up the impossibly long waiting list for a stand here. While you're here (or on any weekday, too), it's worth your while to check out some of the permanent shops opposite the market. Imiso is owned by three young black ceramicists whose work is among the most exciting, even revolutionary, I've ever seen. Clementina Ceramics (tel. 021/447-1398) showcases a range of wonderful talent in glass, jewelry, and other materials, and the Clementina van der Walt tableware is stunning. Farther south, in Newlands, there's plenty of creative flair (as well as opportunities to join pottery workshops, watch ironmongers, and grab a bite at the farm stall) at the Montebello Design Centre, 31 Newlands Ave. (tel. 021/685-6445), where you could spend anywhere between an hour and an afternoon browsing the myriad shops.




 
 
 
 
 
 
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