Two Oceans Tours

Cape Town Tours - Garden Route Tours

Cape Town Tours, South African Tours & Safaris - Specialising in the Western Cape and Garden Route areas

 

 

HISTORICALLY

Cape Town was originally developed as a victualling station for Dutch ships sailing to Eastern Africa, India, and the Far East more than 200 years before the construction of the Suez Canal in 1869. Jan van Riebeeck's arrival on 6 April 1652 established the first permanent European settlement in sub-Saharan Africa. Cape Town quickly outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope. It was the largest city in South Africa until the growth of Johannesburg and Durban.There is no certainty as to when humans first occupied the area prior to the first visits of Europeans in the 15th century. The earliest known remnants in the region were found at Peers cave in Fish Hoek and date to around 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 Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1486.

Vasco da Gama recorded a sighting of the Cape of Good Hope in 1497, and the area did not have regular contact with Europeans until 1652, when the Netherlands' under 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. The city grew slowly during this period, as it was hard to find adequate labour. This labour shortage prompted the city to import slaves from Indonesia and Madagascar; many of whom would come to form the first of the Cape Coloured communities.

The British successfully gained outright control of Cape Town in 1795, during the Battle of Muizenberg. Under the terms of a peace agreement negotiated after the war, the Cape was returned to the Dutch in 1803. The war resumed later that year, and British forces re-occupied the Cape, after winning the Battle of Blaauwberg in 1806. In the 1814 peace treaty which ended the war in Europe, the Cape was permanently incorporated into the British Empire. As the territory under British control grew even larger outward from the city, it became the capital of the newly formed Cape Colony.

TODAY

According to the South African National Census of 2001, the population of Cape Town is 2,893,251 people. There are 759,767 formal households, of which 87.4% have a flush or chemical toilet, and 94.4% have refuse removed by the municipality at least once a week. 80.1% of households use electricity as the main source of energy. 16.1% of households are headed by one person. Coloured people account for 48.13% of the population, followed by Black Africans at 31%, Whites at 18.75%, and Asians at 1.43%.

41.4% of Cape Town residents speak Afrikaans at home, 28.7% speak Xhosa, 27.9% speak English, 0.7% speak Sotho, 0.3% speak Zulu, 0.1% speak Tswana and 0.7% of the population speaks a non-official language at home. 76.6% of residents are Christian, 10.7% have no religion, 9.7% are Muslim, 0.5% are Jewish and 0.2% are Hindu. 2.3% have other or undetermined beliefs.

Cape Town is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Africa due to its good climate, natural setting, and relatively 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 taking the 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.

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. Beaches located on the Atlantic Coast tend to have very cold water as the water is mostly glacial melt from Antarctica. The water at False Bay beaches is often warmer by up to 10 °C (18 °F). 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 particularly vibrant strip of restaurants and bars accessible to the beach at Camps Bay. Boulders Beach near Simon's Town is known for its colony of African penguins. 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 one of the city's most popular shopping venues, with several hundred shops and the Two Oceans Aquarium. Part of the charm of the V&A, as it is locally known, is that the Port continues to operate and visitors can watch ships enter and leave. 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 Bay, Simon's Town and the Cape Fur Seal colonies on Seal and Duiker Islands.