Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town has emerged as Africa's most dynamic metropolis. A melting pot of all of the various ethnic groups that comprise modern South Africa, the seaside burg exudes an incredible creative verve that flows through the local fashion, dining, and art scenes. The port is a short cab ride from the city center, and smaller boats dock at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, which has a dramatic view of Table Mountain.
What We Love
Bo-Kaap: The residents of this Cape Malay Quarter are mostly descendants of the African and Asian slaves brought here by the Dutch. Today the neighborhood is known for the vibrantly painted houses, historic mosques, and restaurants serving Cape Malay cuisine.
Township Crafts: Unusual artworks and decorative items are made from discarded materials in the old townships around Cape Town — everything from miniature animals and automobiles to stylish handbags and electric guitars.
Best Known For
Table Mountain: Reached via aerial cableway, the flat-topped mount offers stupendous views and hiking trails through microclimates and mini habitats.
Cape of Good Hope: It's not just history that greets you at the bottom end of Africa — baboons, penguins, antelope, and zebra also inhabit the national park that includes the cape.
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Who It's Best For
Beach Bums: From the hip shores of Clifton and Camps Bay to the secluded sands of Scarborough and the penguins of Boulders Beach, Cape Town offers a wide variety of beaches on both the Atlantic and False Bay.
Photographers: Around every corner there's something new and interesting to snap — intricate architecture, unusual flowers, African wildlife, drop-dead gorgeous beaches, and what seems like a million different angles of Table Mountain.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Changeable Weather: It can get awful windy in late spring and summer (November to February) and surprisingly cold in winter (May to August).
The Water is Cold: Sure it looks inviting. But given its southern latitude, the ocean on the Atlantic side of Cape Town runs pretty chilly.
Joe Yogerst is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Travel + Leisure.