Cosmopolitan, commercial, port, colonial … so we could define Cape Town, the second most important metropolis in South Africa after Johannesburg. With a very interesting recent history nowadays it is presented as a perfect destination to learn about culture, traditions and even be in contact with nature. In this article we tell you about our adventure in Cape Town!
Cape Town, a bit of history
The history of this city began 12,000 years ago, but little is known about that time. We can start talking about what was written by the navigators who passed through the area, such as the case of the Portuguese Bartolome Diaz and Vasco da Gama in 1486 and 1497 respectively.
A century and a half later the Dutch East India Company, commanded by Jan Van Riebeeck, settled in the region as a station for ships traveling to the Indies. The nascent city took a long time to develop because nobody wanted to live there. This was “solved” by the importation of slaves from Madagascar and Indonesia, whose descendants formed the first mestizo community.
Cape Town was controlled by Holland until 1780, when it passed into British hands. During the following years it was a “going and coming” of agreements and transfers of command until finally the territory was annexed to England.
Already in the last century, Afrikaans Apartheid policy was established in the country and Cape Town was declared as “preferably mestizo labor zone”. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned 10 kilometers from the coast on Robben Island, and in 1990 he delivered his speech from the balcony of the local municipal building.
Where is Cape Town?
Cape Town or “capetaun” in Spanglish, is located in South Africa. A country that, as the name suggests, is in southern Africa. Let’s go one step further and almost, you almost fall off the map.
Surely the brain is doing chiribitas trying to place this city at some point at random.
Sesame Street taught us a lot about the secret life of the frog Gustavo but the black continent forgot a little bit so, I make it easy with this kind of African geography for ESO / COU alumni.
What does Cape Town mean?
Its name refers to the cape next to which it is located, the Cape of Good Hope.
There are a few years old, the Portuguese navigators, discovered that, once past this end, the world did not end as they imagined but could continue sailing.
They spent another handful of years and the Dutch, who were also very skilled in the subject of ships and controlled maritime trade better than Amazon online sales, began to frequent this route.
To get to India or Asia, and take everything they could, they had to make several stops along the way to fill the pantry, stretch their legs, visit the relative of each port, frequent the coffee shop of the time, etc.
One of the places chosen to plant a supply camp was, look where, the land that today occupies Cape Town.
Here were the tulips at ease until the English got between the eyebrows and this area and began the Christs among them. War goes, war is coming.
To all this, let’s remember that we are in Africa and its native population is neither Dutch nor British. All the ethnic groups that inhabited these lands met the same fate as the Indians of America or the Central and South American tribes … The white man is always so nice … 😣
In the nineteenth century they discovered that this wild land kept inside it a new “Dorado”, gold mines and diamonds at tutti plain. Imagine, they were few whites and the grandmother gave birth. That was filled with Europeans with a desire for wealth.
The mines were located further north, in the area that today occupies Johannesburg. This finding caused a massive emigration to that region and Cape Town lost much economic importance.
The whites continued to take it for granted and decided to create a law of racial segregation that separated whites from blacks in all walks of life.
This system of horror was known as Apartheid, which means separation in the Afrikaans language , and was applied to all of South Africa and Namibia.
What to see in Cape Town?
Learning a bit of history is necessary to know a place before or during the stay. In your tour you can remember these data according to where you are. We recommend that you visit the following places:
The city stretches on the slope of this mountain, natural wonder of the world. You can see it from almost anywhere in the metropolis or, if you want, explore it closely. Climb using the cable car and know its rich biodiversity through its trails. In addition, you can have a complete view of Cape Town from the top.
Towards the southwest this peninsular mountain range of 60 kilometers of extension is located and that it contains a reserve and natural park. In total the peninsula has 7750 hectares and protects 250 species of birds, among other animals. It has a funicular and spaces to enjoy a picnic. Do not forget to look out at the southern end to see the Cape of Good Hope.
The old prison where Mandela spent 27 years is located in a completely isolated place, 10 kilometers from the coast. It is now a museum and you can get there by ferry.
It is the most colorful neighborhood in Cape Town, along the Signal Hill hillside; its houses are painted in vibrant colors and will attract your attention. It is a historical enclave that protects the Malay culture. Do not forget to visit its museum and the Islam Nurul Mosque.
In case you did not know, South Africa in general and Cape Town in particular is one of the largest wine producers in the world. The cultivation began in the colonial period and thanks to the climate the quality of the product is very difficult to overcome.
Within a radius of 200 kilometers around Cape Town we find vineyards that allow us to learn more about the production, as well as enjoy a quiet and relaxed environment.
Museums of Cape Town
In the heart of the city is the National Art Gallery, which exhibits pieces of South African contemporary art.
Nearby you can visit the Museum of Slavery, the Museum of Natural Sciences, and the planetarium and, to learn about Apartheid, the District Six Museum.