Posted in Geography, Nature, Travel, Wildlife

Around the World: Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa is a country of extraordinary qualities. Affectionately known as the “Rainbow Nation,” the country is breathtakingly scenic, historically significant, ethnically diverse and is the only country in the world which contains two countries within it.

But today we take a closer look at the coastal city of Cape Town, long considered one of the most beautiful cities in the nation, and perhaps the world. The city comes with a fascinating history as well, which you can explore here. History aside, the sights and sounds of Cape Town are spectacular. In 2014, The New York Times and The Telegraph named Cape Town the world’s best place to visit. The reasons? Read on.

Naturally Astonishing

Cape Town sits just beyond the flat-topped plateau known as Table Mountain, which is about two miles of flat surface with steep cliffs on either side. The plateau is a mind-blowing 260-million years old (compared to the 40-million-year-old Himalayas), and also among the New 7 Wonders of the World of Nature. Also neighboring the city center are the mountains Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head. Together, these form the City Bowl, which consists of Cape Town itself. Table Mountain is often enveloped in low-forming clouds, which locals call the mountain’s “tablecloth”.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain National Park is home to 8200 plant species, of them 1400 unique to the area. It’s no wonder that the protected sites around the city — including Cape Floral Kingdom — are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Animals such as the table mountain ghost frog are only found in the particular square mileage of Table Mountain. But other animals such as mongooses, porcupines, tortoises and dassies can be found there as well. The goat-like Tahr is indigeneous to India, but many of the species began breeding on Table Mountain beginning in the 1930s.

And the African penguin, which is known for its donkey-like braying sound, can be found only on the coasts of southern Africa, and is a popular sight among tourists.

The Human Angle

Cape Town has one of the youngest populations under the age of 25 for its over 3 million residents. It is also the most entrepreneurial city in the nation, with people there 190% more likely to pursue starting a new business, versus the rest of South Africa. Perhaps their natural surroundings have had an effect?

An aerial view of Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Roger de la Harpe/Corbis via National Geographic.

An unforgettable experience

Cape Town features other notable places. One such place is the Robben Island Museum, which marks the site where former President Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. The city is also well-known for its harbor (below), Cape Point, its friendly population, Mediterranean-like climate and an overall cosmopolitan feel in its multicultural and multiheritage elements.

With so much to do and see in Cape Town, the city is naturally a tourist magnet.

The city of Cape Town, South Africa. Photo via ExpatCapeTown.com.

Thought it might not be so surprising that such grandeur and splendor exists in the world, it’s worth a revisit and reminder that indeed our world is actually magnificent. It’s a little comforting, don’t you think, that natural beauty and scenery and brilliance still exists?

Stay inspired,

C x N

Sources: National Geographic, Cape Town Tourism, Cape Town Magazine, Sites Atlas, South African History Online
Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons (A panorama of Cape Town)
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