The Mother City

Table Mountain, Cape Town
Credit: none

Cape Town, South Africa, at the tip of Africa, is a fantastic place to visit. Don't just take my word for it though, according to the New York Times, Cape Town is at the top of their list of 52 places to visit in 2014. To the locals, Cape Town is known as the Mother City, as this is where the first Europeans landed and started a settlement. Nestled between the iconic Table Mountain, one of the 7 new natural wonders of the world, and the ocean, the city will embrace and welcome you to a vibrant, colorful and dynamic community.

As part of the World Design Capital of the Year program, the central theme behind the city's successful bid, 'Live Design. Transform Life.' focuses on the role that design can play in social transformation. This theme sets the tone for the program of design-inspired events and projects taking place throughout 2014.

In Cape Town there is always something to do. The City and the surrounding area has a multitude of activities and places to see. Here are some of my recommendations:

  • Fantastic beaches. Clifton is a favorite, but if you want some warmer water, visit the beach at the Strand, as the water temperature is considerably higher. Also try horse-riding at Noordhoek.
  • Table Mountain National Park is great, take the cable car to the top, have some lunch and enjoy the view.
  • Wine. Cape Town and the surrounding areas such as Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl are home to countless wine farms. Enjoy a leisurely drive and stop at the various farms for wine-tastings.
  • Shopping. If shopping is your thing, you'll find many treasures in Cape Town. While all the big international brands are represented, there are many fantastic local designers and artists. Take a walk up Long Street and explore. The V & A Waterfront is a must. A working harbor and shopping destination in one fantastic location.
  • Heritage. Cape Town has some lovely architecture and various museums. Visit the Castle of Good Hope, oldest building in the country.
  • Robben Island. Take a boat trip and visit the jail where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated. Worth it.

General Tips:

There are many other attractions within a few hours' drive from Cape Town, which includes game farms with some or all of the Big Five. If you venture outside of Cape Town, rent a car as public transport is very limited. In the city, the MyCiti bus transport system works pretty well. Uber has also started offering a service here, which makes it fairly easy to order a taxi.

The best time of year to visit is probably in Spring, around October or November. Otherwise late summer, around March or April. December and January is also good, but it can be hot or windy or both!

Like many other cities, Cape Town has its challenges and problems, many of which we are trying to address through projects which form part of the World Design Capital 2014 program. It is a cosmopolitan city with a very diverse mix of cultures and experiences and well worth a visit.

Hope to see you here!