Some geologists believe that the area we know today as Cape Town once formed part of an island that lay just offshore at the extreme southwestern tip of the African continent. Evidence includes a stretch of below sea-level land known as the Cape Flats, which extends from Woodstock - a popular bathing beach in Table Bay in Victorian times - to Muizenberg, about 30 kilometres south of the city in False Bay. Shells recovered from this sandy corridor also support the island theory, before the tides receded and the island united with mainland Africa.
Imagine the view mainland landlubbers may have enjoyed of majestic Table Mountain rising some 3,000 feet sheer from the Atlantic Ocean, with oft-stormy seas separating island from mainland. Today, Cape Town forms an integral part of the South African landscape and the Cape Peninsula is a wonderland of nature that officially starts from Kommetjie in the west and Fish Hoek in the east. This magnificent isthmus continues south and embraces the Atlantic Ocean on its western flank and beautiful False Bay along its eastern shoreline. Spectacular Cape Point forms the southern boundary as the African Continent meets the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean.
Keep heading south from here and you will eventually arrive in Antarctica. The Cape Peninsula is a proclaimed nature reserve, which means no development can ever spoil it. Cape Point at the southern-most tip of the peninsula is where Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias stepped ashore in 1488, proclaiming it "The Cape of Good Hope" as he pursued a route to the east for King and Country.
With beauty in abundance, the Cape Peninsula has an unusually rich biodiversity. Its vegetation consists predominantly of several different types of unique Cape Fynbos, with the crown-like king protea topping the list of floral stunners. The Cape Peninsula forms only a tiny portion of Africa, but it is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora. Majestic mountains and pristine beaches at their feet complete the spectacular landscape along the southwestern-most tip of Africa.
Hout Bay (in English, it means 'Wood Bay') is a picturesque resort and fishing port that lies 25 kilometres (16 miles) south of the city of Cape Town. Surrounded by magnificent mountains on all but one side, Hout Bay backs onto the famous Table Mountain National Park to the north and majestic Chapman’s Peak range to the south. The dramatic... read more »
Kostas Limitsios / <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en">CC BY</a>
Situated on the western side of Cape Town's False Bay is the delightful sheltered cove of Boulders Beach. Crystal clear water meets soft white sand in a series of little "covelets" between enormous, weather worn granite boulders which date back half a billion years.
Boulders is undoubtedly one of Cape Town's finest beaches, but that isn't why... read more »
Lennon Fletcher / <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en">CC BY</a>
St James Beach
Camps Bay is without doubt Cape Town's premiere beach. Located in an upmarket suburb of this South African city, the beach here is as spectacular as it is popular. The palm fringed stretch of white sand that make up Camps Bay sits between the towering Lion's Head and equally imposing Twelve Apostles. This is the Atlantic coast and the ocean here... read more »
SkyPixels / <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.en">CC BY</a>
Sitting right next door to Cape Town's other premiere beach (Camps Bay) is Clifton beach. The backdrop here is equally stunning with one of Cape Town's best known mountains, Lion's Head, rising up directly behind and the Twelve Apostles looming to the south. The sugar-white sand that forms Clifton is dived up into four, just about distinct,... read more »
Gary Bembridge / <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en">CC BY</a>
Adele Van Schalkwyk
Paternoster is a small, laid back fishing village within a stones throw (well, 150km) of Cape Town. With its attractive cluster of whitewashed cottages and long sweep of pristine sand it is little surprise this is a popular weekend getaway spot for Capetonians. If you are a fan of seafood and like long walks on white sand beaches, watching the sun... read more »
Gorillabutter / <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.en">CC BY</a>