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Discovering Culture and History on a South African Holiday

Sep 3, 2008
With close to 2 million visitors a year, South Africa's capital city, Cape Town, is fast becoming one of the largest tourist hotspots in the world. The country's great exchange rate offers a great value holiday for your money, and coupled with the fact that it's in the same time zone as the UK - so British tourists don't suffer the effects of jet lag - have both contributed to the popularity of South Africa; not to mention the stunning scenery and attractions within Cape Town.

For those travelling to Cape Town, a visit to the Cape Winelands is an absolute must as the region is one full of breathtaking vistas and majestic mountain backdrops, while also being steeped in rich culture and history. Rolling vineyards and quaint Cape Dutch homesteads await visitors, as well as award-wining wine farms offering some of the region's best wines - the perfect accompaniment to the delicious dishes that are available.

The wine farms of Stellenbosch are the closest in distance to Cape Town and are within a 45 minute drive of the city centre. This is the most well known wine region and home to the first official wine route in the area, founded in 1971. A variety of cellars, producing some of the country's most acclaimed wines are located in the town. Stellenbosch is also a university town and the oak-lined Dorp Street is home to museums and galleries, as well as many student cafes and restaurants, leaving you with a plethora of cultural and historical attractions to explore during your visit.

Wine tasting, cellar tours and stopping to enjoy the scenic beauty at the various wine farms could easily take a day or more, so it is advisable to have a rough idea of where you would like to go before you set out. Many of the wine estates have become very tourist orientated in recent years, offering guided tours, gift shops and restaurants while at some of the small estates you may end up sitting in a rustic cellar sipping wines with the wine maker himself!

With the current, favourable exchange rate, fine dining in Cape Town is something everyone can enjoy, with a plethora of restaurants and cafes (often run by top international chefs) offering delicious dishes at a great price - from fresh Mediterranean flavours to exotic Asian spices, local Cape Malay dishes and traditional African meals. Being a city that's surrounded by the ocean, it goes without saying that Cape Town specialises in seafood restaurants, with crayfish, giant prawns and fresh sushi being just a few popular dishes in the region. Juicy steaks and African venison accompanied by sun ripened, seasonal vegetables are also mainstays of menus across Cape Town. As well as the delicious food on offer, more often than not, the location of the restaurant itself will offer superb views and a memorable ambiance.

Of course, it's not just the wining and dining that travellers visit Cape Town for. Table Mountain is Cape Town's most prominent feature and is a world famous landmark. Sculpted from sandstone, this huge mountain is visible from almost everywhere in the city. 600,000 tourists ascend the 1086 metres of the mountain by cable car annually to enjoy the unparalleled views of Cape Town and the beaches that surround it and it's a must for any visitor to the city.

The V & A Waterfront is South Africa's most visited attraction. Situated in the working harbour of Cape Town, the Waterfront offers a myriad of shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities. Lit up beautifully at night with Table Mountain looking down on the harbour, the Waterfront is a great place to sit with a cocktail and take in the scenery and stunning ocean views that South Africa is famous for. A number of restaurants and cafes, offering everything from light snacks to fine dining, line the Waterfront.

So whether you're going to enjoy the wine, the culture or the scenery, South Africa holidays offer something for everyone and, as the weather gets colder in the UK, it's the perfect time to consider a trip to Cape Town as summer in South Africa is just beginning.
About the Author
Adam Singleton writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.
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