South Africa’s ‘Mother City’, dominated by Table Mountain and surrounded by the wild Atlantic, has unquestionably one of the most beautiful city backdrops in the world. Despite being a considerable urban hub, its surroundings are surprisingly untamed, characterized by a mountainous spine stretching between two seaboards and edged by rugged coast and dramatic beaches.
To get the best idea of Cape Town’s layout, head to the top of Table Mountain. From its summit, the city stretches below in a horseshoe formed by the mountains: Table Mountain is in the centre, with Devil’s Peak to the east and Lion’s Head and Signal Hill to the west. Straight ahead lies the City Bowl, the central business district backed by leafy suburbs. This is also the site of Cape Town’s historical heart and where all the major museums, historical buildings and sights are. Further down is the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a slick development of shopping malls and restaurants. Following the coast around to the west, you come to the modern residential districts of Green Point and Sea Point which is now dominated by the enormous Green Point stadium, which was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In the opposite direction the southern suburbs stretch west and south, dipping from the mountain’s slopes, and here, under a blanket of trees, are Cape Town’s largest mansions as well as beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.