The Western Cape is a region of the Republic of South Africa (RSA). Because of it's beauty, it's mild (almost mediterranean) climate and the absence of Malaria it is a nice place to stay.
Many of the richer (usually white) South Africans work and live in Jo-burg but got a residence in the Western Cape as well. We've talked with many South African citizens who retired in this area.
The Wineland is an area north-east of Cape Town. It is well known for it's (surprise surprise) wineries.
Franschoek is located not a 50 minutes drive away from Cape Town. There are so many things you can do there. The main reason why we went there the first time was that someone told us that there are excellent restaurants. And they were right.
You can find some of the best wineries there, most of them are open to the public and you can visit them. Some are even quite old with beautiful manor houses in cape dutch architecture.
The Hottentots-Holland nature reserve is just around the corner with beautiful walks and views on the winelands.
Paarl is not as beautiful as we were told it is. The town is dominated by the wine industry. The surronding mountains are for sure worth a visit.
The Stellenbosch university creates a very special feeling in this town which makes it different from any other we've visited. Close to Stellenbosch is the Jonkershoek valley a Nature Reserve with a mountainbike trail.
The Overberg lies east of Cape Town on the way to the Garden Route. Most visitors simply drive through on their way to Knysna although one should stop and have a look at the beautiful landscape.
The Overberg region (which means "over the mountain") was the second to be occupied by the first white settlers.
De Hoop is a nature reserve to the east of the Cap Aghulas.
It includes wetlands with indegnious birdlife, plains with
for example Cape mountain Zebras, Baboons, Antilopes and
mountains where the Cape Vulture can bee seen.
The costal line includes a marine nature reserve, that is a breeding area of whales. If you're lucky you can see whales right from the beach.
Because the road to De Hoop is not tarred, and it takes about an hour to get there driving on gravel, De Hoop is usually not overcrowded.
Swellendam is the second oldest town in southern Africa (the oldest of course is Cape Town).
It is famous for it's Drostdy which really is worth a visit. If you like have a look at the Bontebok National Park, where the Bontebok was rescued which had been driven almost to extinction.
The little Karoo is a semi desert. Some say that the most important tourist attractions are the Kangoo caves and the ostrich farms but in my humble opinion it is the landscape of the Little Karoo itself. The Kangoo Caves are worth a visit and you can do guided tours. Ostriches can be seen almost everywhere.
The Karoo is a desert that covers a large area of South Africa. We entered the Karoo from Prince Albert via the Swartberg Pass, then turned east to visit Meiringspoort. At the time we were there the road was destroyed by heavy rainfall that flooded away and destroyed most bridges.
We saw that the road was closed and thought about returning the way we came when another driver stopped, left his car, removed the road sign and drove on. My former girlfriend and me looked at each other and decided to go on. It was a beautiful road and although most of the bridges were detroyed we were able to cross the rivers by simply driving through.
There is not much to say about Simons Town except that there is a Harbour of the South African Naval Service, but south of Simons Town is a small area called "The Boulders". You can find a beach there and a breeding area of the Jackass Penguin. Go get your bathing suite and if you're lucky you can swim together with the penguins.
The Cape of Good Hope lies in a national park that covers most of the cape peninsula.
Although it is not the southernmost point of Africa (that is Cape Aghulas), it is supposed to be the point where Atlantic- and Indian Ocean meet. When going there be aware of the quite agressive Baboons, that steel food. Never ever try to feed them!
Cape Town is supposed to be one of the world most beautiful cities (the others I was told are: San Francisco, Vancouver and Sidney). Cape Town is special because it combines urban living (Theatres, Jazz clubs, live concerts, markets, shopping malls) with the opportunity of doing outdoor activities (abseiling the Table mountain, kloofing, paragliding).
The Greenmarket square is famous for the rural art that is sold there, but I found it to sell only tourist stuff. Nevertheless stop there have a look around sit down in a caffee and have a look at all the peoples running around, doing business and trying to spend their living: blacks, colored, indians, whites even some chinese; a true melting pot with almost all racial beauty of the world.
The first place to visit is the V&A (Victoria and Alfred) Waterfront. It is not only the biggest shopping mall in town but there's also the "Two Oceans" aquarium and an I-Max Cinema.
The major part plays the Table Mountain which (together with Devil's Peak, Lion's Head and Signal Hill) surrounds the city bowl. Most of the time it is covered with clouds the so called "Table Clothes" The Table Mountain can bee seen from almost everywhere in the city and dominates the scenery. You can walk up the Table Mountain. I was told that there are 100 different ways to reach the top, or take the cable car like most of the people do. Because of the Table Clothes there is no garanty that you will have a fascinating view from the top. So better wait for the meterelogical service to tell that there is no "Southeaster".
The Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden lies on the other side of the Table Mountain and is not only a garden but a place for life concerts. We were able to see the Dalai Lama speeking during a life concert on a conference of the Parliament of world religions.
The Wilderness park with almost jungle like forest is great for trecking. When doing the Kingfisher trail go early in the morning because otherwise you'll have to share the trail with many other treckers. If you're lucky (like we were) you can see the Knysna Lourie.
Mc Gregor is a small town famous for the renovated Cape Dutch buildings. It is also a starting point for the Boesmanskloof trail. We had a wonderful time staying there in an old farm building and walking around appreciating the landscape.
There is not much to say about this town except that we went there to buy some stuff in the giant shopping mall close to the N2 and that we drove through on our way to the Overberg or Betty's Bay. The Sir Lowry's Pass east of Somerset West is the entrance to the Overberg region.
Hout Bay is a small town south of Cape Town and the northern entrance of the scenic route "Chapman's Peak Drive". There are excellent restaurants at the harbour, that are well known for their fresh fish. Once a week there is a market in Hout Bay where you can buy handmade clothes, furniture and paintings. If you're visiting Hout Bay be sure visit the "World of Birds", a bird sanctuary.