Cape Town is the oldest city in South Africa, colloquially named the Mother City. It is the legislative capital of South Africa and primate city of the Western Cape Province. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality. The Parliament of South Africa sits in Cape Town. The other two capitals are located in Pretoria (the executive capital where the Presidency is based) and Bloemfontein (the judicial capital where the Supreme Court of Appeal is located). The city is known for its harbour, for its natural setting in the Cape Floristic Region, and for landmarks such as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is home to 64% of the Western Cape’s population. It is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa. The city was named the World Design Capital for 2014 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. In 2014, Cape Town was named the best place in the world to visit by both The New York Times and The Daily Telegraph.
Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town, as the oldest urban area in South Africa, was developed by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival on 6 April 1652 established Dutch Cape Colony, the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony. Until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the development of Johannesburg, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa.
Cape Town has a warm Mediterranean climate, moderately wet winters and dry and warm summers. Winter, which lasts from the beginning of June to the end of August, may see large cold fronts entering for limited periods from the Atlantic Ocean with significant precipitation and strong north-westerly winds. Winter months in the city average a maximum of 18.0 °C (64 °F) and minimum of 8.5 °C (47 °F). Summer, which lasts from early December to March, is warm and dry with an average maximum of 26.0 °C (79 °F) and minimum of 16.0 °C (61 °F). The region can get uncomfortably hot when the Berg Wind, meaning “mountain wind”, blows from the Karoo interior for a couple of weeks in February or early March. Late spring and early summer generally feature a strong wind from the south-east, known locally as the south-easter or the Cape Doctor, so called because it blows air pollution away.
Cape Town is not only a popular international tourist destination in South Africa, but Africa as a whole. This is due to its mild climate, natural setting, and well-developed infrastructure. The city has several well-known natural features that attract tourists, most notably Table Mountain, which forms a large part of the Table Mountain National Park and is the back end of the City Bowl. Many tourists also drive along Chapman’s Peak Drive, a narrow road that links Noordhoek with Hout Bay, for the views of the Atlantic Ocean and nearby mountains. It is possible to either drive or hike up Signal Hill for closer views of the City Bowl and Table Mountain. The city has several notable cultural attractions. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, built on top of part of the docks of the Port of Cape Town, is the city’s most visited tourist attraction. It is also one of the city’s most popular shopping venues, with several hundred shops and the Two Oceans Aquarium. The Artscape Theatre Center is the largest performing arts venue in Cape Town. The city also encloses the 36 hectare Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden that contains protected natural forest and fynbosalong with a variety of animals and birds.