Travel Plans for 2011: South Africa
We recently did some research on possible destinations for our next vacations and the country that attracted our attention was South Africa. Therefore, we decided it should be on our travel wish list and hopefully we will get to visit it sometime during the next year or two.
The idea came to us back in 2010, when South Africa, the host of 2010 FIFA World Cup, was on the lips of all football fans. The World Cup has occasioned a considerable increase in the number of tourists from around the world and the famous Vuvuzela became the symbol of the country during this sporting event.
Next we had to choose which city we should visit first. We specifically searched for a place where it was possible to combine the comfort of a big city with the sense of freedom provided by the natural, wild landscapes. The result was Cape Town, the capital of Western Cape province.
Things You Should Know About Cape Town
In the following articles we will share with you the results of our research: things to know about the city, practical advices and travel recommendations.
Cape Town: view of Bantry Bay
Cape Town is a beautiful city with many attractions for tourists, a large variety of natural landscapes, but also a host to important political and administrative institutions.
Given that the capital of Western Cape province is a destination with a large number of tourists especially in the high season (roughly between September and March, during spring and summer) it is better to book your flight and accommodation in advance whether you choose to stay at a 5-star luxury hotel or at a budget hostel.
The easiest way to travel to Cape Town is obviously by plane. The city has a modern airport (Cape Town International Airport – the second largest airport in South Africa) which has recently extended its number of terminals in order to handle the growing number of tourists.
The national currency is the RAND (ZAR): 1 ZAR = 0.14 USD. Tourists should know that credit cards are accepted in most shops, restaurants and hotels. However, a large number of gas stations do not accept credit card payments. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
The local cuisine is an exotic combination of African, European and Asian influences, with a great variety of dishes. South Africans use everything from fish and seafood to beef, lamb, pork as well as a large number of fruits, vegetables and spices.
Salads are also very popular among South Africans. The green bean salad with olives and lemon dressing – a refreshing salad, which can be a real blessing after a long day of walking – is a special dish that we’ve read so much about and we can’t wait to try.
Tropical fruits such as bananas, mangoes, pineapples, coconuts and many others are used to prepare some very delicious desserts.
Places to Visit in Cape Town
The Castle of Good Hope, the oldest and most famous building in South Africa will be the first on our list. It was built by the Dutch East India Company between 1666 and 1679 and includes five bastions named Leerdam, Buuren, Catzenellenbogen, Nassau and Oranje – the main titles of Prince William III of Orange-Nassau. The main entrance keeps the 17th century Dutch classic style while the original bell which dates from 1679 still hangs in the tower, over the main entrance.
The castle now houses the Military Museum – objects from the military history of Cape Town are exposed here. The Castle of Good Hope is open to the public from Monday to Saturday between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and the price of a ticket for adults is 25 rands, 15 rands for pensioners and 10 rands for children and students.
Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town: interior view
Don’t forget to read our next article on South Africa and tell us your story about this wonderful country: just post your comments in the comment box below or send us an email using the contact form – if you have an interesting story that you want to share (a memorable travel experience, a few photos or some valuable advices) feel free to email it to us and if we find it useful for our readers we will publish it as a guest post, right here on dreamtravelerblog.com.
Posted on: March 1, 2011