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About Cape Town

Cape Town is also called the ‘Mother City’ because it was the first site in South Africa, where Europeans set foot in 1488 and settled there. It is a historically relevant city, where the slave trade started. It is also home to renowned president Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned on Robben Island.

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Today, Cape Town is the legislative capital of South Africa. It takes pride in its stunning nature, rich history, adventurous activities, top-class dining & winning, art galleries, hip bars, and wildlife. In terms of commerce and trade, the basic industries in the city are associated with food processing, winemaking, ship repair & maintenance, as well as manufacturing plastics, leather goods, and clothing. Sitting at Table Mountain feet, this little town has an urban edge and is worth a visit.

The Toronto to Cape Town distance is 13,094 km. So, if you are flying from Toronto, then it takes approximately 17 hours. The majority of tourists fly directly to the Cape Town International Airport because it is just a half an hour drive to the centre of the city. You will forget about the flight stress as you see the beautiful city situated between sea and mountain.

Population

After Johannesburg, Cape Town is the second largest populous city. It is home to 49% of the Western Cape’s population. Cape Town’s metro area population in 2021 is approximately 4,710,000. The residents speak Afrikaans, Xhosa, and the English language. 

History

A Portuguese named Bartholomeu Dias mentions the discovery of the Cape in 1488. In 1497, Vasco da Gama sighted the Cape when he was exploring a direct route from Europe to Asia. In 1652, Dutch East India Company sent its employees along with Jan Van Riebeck to establish a freshwater station. 

The battles between 1795 and 1814 between the Dutch and British also affected Cape Town. After Cape Town became Great Britain’s capital its development escalated and it sped even more after the discovery of diamond and gold in the Transvaal region from the 1860s to 1880s. 

Immigrants who rushed in search of diamonds and gold were trapped in the war. Britain won and British settlers forced the Dutch farmers inland as they set wineries in the valleys of Stellenbosch and Paarl. In 1910, Cape Town was the first capital of South Africa’s Union before it attained its existing status as legislative capital.

In the mid-1960s, after the implementation of apartheid in South Africa, more than 60,000 people were forced to leave the interracial District Six in Cape Town. This gave birth to the Anti-Apartheid Movement. Anti-apartheid leader, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island for some decades and was released in 1990. 

In 1994, South Africa opened doors for worldwide tourists and since then it has been booming. All thanks to its stunning scenery and the redevelopment of Albert & Victoria waterfront as an entertaining precinct.

General Weather

Cape Town experiences a Mediterranean-style climate. The summers are dry and warm, whereas winters are cool and wet. The average annual temperature is 17° with highs at 21°. Two currents influence Cape Town’s weather. The Agulhas warm current from the side of the Indian Ocean and Benguela cold current from the side of the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout Cape Town and its surroundings, the temperatures differ substantially. For example, the sea will be covered in a thick mist and you will not see the sun shining, whereas in Tamboerskloof there will be sun shining brightly in the sky.

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Best Time to Visit

The climate of Cape Town is pleasant from October to April. From December to February, it is the peak summer season and you can book your Air Canada flight ticket to Cape Town to enjoy a memorable vacation. If you plan to add hiking then choose to go in the last week of April until early June because the sky is crisp and clear. July to September is the great whale-watching months when migratory whales are seen arriving along the coast. Cape Town is less busy during winter rainfall that is from June to August, but you can enjoy wine tasting and dine at the top-class eateries.

Things to Do

  • Table Mountain – It is an iconic landmark with spectacular views. The area is suddenly swooped with clouds, which can obscure the panoramic view. Locally, this cloud cover is called ‘Tablecloth’.
  • Kirstenbosch – It is a botanical garden spread across 1,300 acres and slopes down from Table Mountain towards the Leafy southern suburbs in Cape Town. The Boomslang or the tree snake or the Tree Canopy Walkway offers the perfect environment for capturing a selfie or bird-watching. 
  • Zeitz Museum – You can see contemporary African Art’s largest collection spread across 80 galleries.
  • Boulders Beach – It is a sandy shoreline stretch located on Cape Peninsula exhibiting wild waves and rocky outcrops. The main attraction here is the hundreds of African Penguins that swim, waddle, and squawk.
  • Robben Island – The prison museum holds history and is a UNESCO heritage site. It is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years along with many other political detainees.
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  • Kalk Bay – It is a suburb area along the seafront, where you can spend an afternoon window shopping for souvenirs. 
  • Lions Head – You can drive, cycle or hike to the mountain top and enjoy a 360° view of the bay and the City Bowl. The sunsets are phenomenal, so don’t miss them! 
  • Enjoy the beaches – There are several popular beaches like the Atlantic Seaboard, Clifton Camps Bay, the False Bay, and the Llandudno, where you can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, or watch the sunset.
  • Visit wineries – Winery estates are scattered across the region. The closest one is Groot Constantia but for expansive experience head towards Franschhoek and Stellenbosch to sample award-winning wines.
  • Go to nature reserves – West Coast and Cape Point National Parks house unique bird species and large antelopes. 
  • Dine – V&A waterfront attracts more than 20 million tourists every year. You can dine at the on-trend restaurants or sit at bars offering stunning Table Mountain views or shop at the designer outlets. Besides, there are many other activities for everyone including a fine aquarium.

Airport Information

Cape Town International Airport is the nearest [17.89 km], so you can look for direct flights to Cape Town from Toronto. In 2018, the name of Cape Town International Airport was changed to Nelson Mandela International Airport. The airport has a separate terminal for domestic and international flights. It is the busiest and one of the largest airports in South Africa.

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