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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 
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ABOUT CAPE TOWN

SOUTH AFRICA

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Cape Town has won the Best City in Africa and the Middle East in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers Choice Awards twice. Other Awards include:

  • Africa's Leading Destination – World Travel Awards 2010, 2009, 2008

  • Best destination – Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards 2009

  • World's Number Two City – Travel+Leisure Magazine July 2009

  • Best Destination, Africa - World Travel Awards May 2008

  • Best City To Live In, Africa & Middle East – Mercer Quality Of Living Survey 2008

  • One Of The World’s Most Sustainable Cities - Ethisphere Institute, Sept 2008"

Warmed by the African sun, Cape Town is dominated by a towering, table-shaped mountain, set on a peninsula of soaring, rocky heights and lush valleys, where two oceans converge - Indian and Atlantic. The city is also famous for the "table cloth" of cloud that rolls over Table Mountain. Seeing it in real life is on many people's Top Ten Things to do in their Lifetime.

Cape Town offers a myriad of things to do and places to see, whatever your tastes, inclinations or budget. Immense natural beauty and the fast pace and bright lights of a great urban center meld effortlessly. And don't forget those gorgeous beaches!

Projects available in Cape Town include

A LITTLE ABOUT CAPE TOWN
Cape Town (‘Kaapstad’ in Afrikaans, and ‘iKapa’ in Xhosa) is the third most populated city in South Africa, forming part of the metropolitan municipality of the City of Cape Town. It is the provincial capital of the Western Cape as well as the legislative capital of South Africa, where National Parliament and many government offices are located.

Cape Town is famous for its harbour as well as its natural settings in the Cape floral kingdom, including well-known landmarks such as Table Mountain and Cape Point. It has been regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful cities and the most popular destination for tourism!

The city has a population of 2.95 million. Cape Town's land area of 2,499 sq km (965 sq mi) is larger than other South African cities, resulting in a comparatively lower population density of 1,158 people per sq km (2,999/sq mi).

South Africa is a multi-lingual country and until recently the two 'official' languages were English and Afrikaans. The majority of people in Cape Town are English-speaking, but even the Afrikaners can speak English, because English is a required subject at school. Similarly, most English-speakers in South Africa can speak Afrikaans. [Afrikaans is like a cross between Dutch and German.]

Climate
The Cape Peninsula has a Mediterranean climate with well-defined seasons.
Summer temperatures are mild, with an average maximum of about 26°C (79°F). Winter lasts from May to September. The months are cool, with an average minimum temperature of 7°C (45°F). Most of the city’s annual rainfall occurs in wintertime, but due to the mountainous topography of the city, rainfall amounts for certain areas can vary dramatically. The Peninsula gets frequent strong South-Easterly winds, locally known as the ‘Cape Doctor’, because it blows away pollution and cleans the air!

SOME OF THE MANY ATTRACTIONS IN CAPE TOWN

       Table Mountain - The top of Table Mountain offers spectacular views in all directions and gives a birds eye view of the city. The upper cable car station is situated at 1,067 metres and the revolving cablecar makes sure that your trip up and down gives you a good look in all directions. Everyone climbs the mountain!

       Beaches - Cape Town has some of the best beaches in the world to offer, so if you're a sand-and-sea lover be sure to take some time out to relax and soak up the sun. From the family beaches on the False Bay coastline to the trendy Clifton beaches on the Atlantic Seaboard - you're sure to find a stretch of sand that suits your fancy. For some photos of one of Cape Town's beautiful beaches and a delightful story of the day the whales came into False Bay beach, please Click here

       V&A Waterfront - For shopping, dining and entertainment the V&A Waterfront is a hotspot for tourists and locals alike. Still a working harbour, the Waterfront is an example of creative architecture and restoration and has become South Africa's most visited tourist attraction. Enjoy a drink at one of the many waterside pubs and restaurants, shop till you drop, or relax and enjoy the variety of live entertainment that is always on offer. There are also a number of harbour cruises and sundowner cruises that depart from the Waterfront.

          Robben Island - The famous Robben Island, whose prison was once home to former South African president Nelson Mandela as well as many other black political freedom fighters, is now a World Heritage Site and provides stunning views across the bay with Table Mountain as its backdrop. A trip to the island is an unforgettable experience and offers a glimpse into the life and times of the apartheid era. Daily tours to the island include the ferry trip there and back, an island tour and a tour of the prison with a former political prisoner as your guide. Allow three and a half hours for the trip (this includes the 1/2 hour ferry trip each way) and book in advance. Ferries leave at regular intervals throughout the day from the Clock Tower Precinct at the V&A Waterfront.

       Arts & Culture - With a huge array of not-to-be-missed drama, music, African markets etc, Cape Town definitely provides a full cultural experience. The many backpacker’s lodges and tourist information centres dotted around the city will gladly help you with giving updated “What’s on” news for the Cape area. It’s a good bet that you will find all of these in the city’s famous ‘Long Street’, as well as the Good Hope Center & other venues. Just ask around…Cape Town folk are VERY friendly!!

       Cape Point At the tip of the Cape Peninsula you will find Cape Point within the Cape Peninsula National Park. The treacherous cliffs forming the most southwestern tip of Africa are some of the highest in the world and mark the spot where the cold Benguela current on the West coast and the warm Agulhus current on the East coast merge. Inside the reserve you will find a variety of animals including buck, baboons and Cape Mountain Zebra as well as over 250 species of birds and indigenous flora that is found nowhere else in the world. Take a scenic drive, stop at one of the many picnic spots and tidal pools and travel to the Lighthouse lookout by funicular or on foot for spectacular views.

       Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens - The beautiful Kirstenbosch gardens cover an area of 528 hectares with 36 hectares of cultivated garden. The gardens are a celebration of South African flora - showcasing only indigenous South African plants. Fynbos, proteas, cycads and rolling lawns are intermingled with streams and ponds and well-laid out pathways for easy walking. A great variety of birds inhabit the gardens and the sweeping views from the upper slopes are spectacular. Whether for a casual stroll, a more strenuous walk or a lazy picnic, the gardens are a must-see when visiting Cape Town.

       Boulders Penguin Colony is home to a growing colony of the vulnerable African Penguin. Wooden walkways allow visitors to view the penguins in their natural habitat and there is also a new information center. Children love the penguins and their antics and Boulders Beach is also worth a stop for safe and enjoyable swimming.

       Castle of Good Hope - Constructed between 1666 and 1679, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest building in South Africa and has been exceptionally well preserved. Inside the walls of the pentagonal castle you will find a combination of cultural and military history dating back to the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck to the Cape in 1652. Guided tours will introduce you to the dungeons, the dolphin pool and the blacksmith. The Castle is open daily from 9am to 4pm. The Key Ceremony takes place on weekdays at 10 am and the Change of Guards at 12 o'clock.

       Rhodes Memorial, which nestles at the base of Devil's Peak, provides spectacular views towards both Table Bay and False Bay and the Hottentots Holland mountains in the far distance. A visit is worthwhile if only for the panoramic views - at the same time stop for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea at the popular outdoor tea-room.

ACTIVITIES IN CAPE TOWN
Adrenaline Activities -
Enjoy exciting and “real” adventures with an adrenaline twist!

  • Abseiling

  • Sandboarding

  • Deep-sea Angling

  • ‘Kloofing’ (insanely jumping off very high cliffs into pools of water!)

  • Paragliding

  • Helicopter flips

  • Bungee jumping (just up the coast)

  •  …..and a LOT, LOT more!!!!
     

      Township Tours - A visit to one of the many townships surrounding the city is an experience that will open your eyes to the way in which the biggest portion of Cape Town's population are living. Despite difficult circumstances and poor living conditions, you will experience the vibrancy and spirit of the South African people. Take a township tour of Langa, the oldest township in South Africa or Khayelitsha, the second largest township in South Africa. Township tours will usually be co-led by a resident in the area, showcase local industry and community projects and include a visit to a township bar or 'shebeen'.

       Two Oceans Aquarium - Located in the V&A Waterfront, the Two Oceans Aquarium makes for a fascinating and exciting visit for the whole family. Offering a variety of display tanks, interactive experiences, a touch pool and the highly popular predators tank.

      Cape Winelands - Wine lover or not, a visit to the Cape Winelands is an absolute must as the region is one of breathtaking vistas and majestic mountain backdrops while being steeped in rich culture and history. Rolling vineyards and quaint Cape Dutch homesteads await you, as well as award-wining wine farms offering some of the country's best wines.

     Relaxing drives: Drives are a very popular leisure activity in South Africa, because the roads are generally wide, in good condition, relatively empty and a pleasure to drive on. People often go for drives on a Sunday afternoon to a favourite hotel or restaurant for afternoon tea and scones, or to the top of a pass just to look at the view, or to a national park to watch the baboons - there's always a good reason to go for a drive!

       World of Birds - The World of Birds in Hout Bay is a bird and wildlife sanctuary with over 3000 birds in natural surroundings. Visitors are able to walk through the aviaries and experience close-up encounters with cranes and guineafowl, monkeys and meerkats, owls and eagles. The sanctuary also cares for injured birds and is a breeding center for threatened species.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF CAPE TOWN
Cape Town was originally developed as a rest stop for Dutch ships sailing to Eastern Africa, India and the Far East more than 200 years before the construction of the Suez Canal in 1869. Jan van Riebeek’s arrival on 6 April 1652 established the first European settlement in South Africa. The city quickly outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope and was the largest city until the growth of Johannesburg and Durban.

In February 1990 President de Klerk announced the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Nelson Mandela. This led to a negotiation for 'a new and just constitution' for South Africa. It was the end of apartheid. After 27 years in jail, Mandela walked free on the 11th February and that evening spoke to a huge crowd that had gathered in the center of Cape Town.

Because Cape Town had always opposed apartheid, it 'evolved' without trauma into the new South Africa. It retained a sense of stability and enjoyed unprecedented development, driven by tourism, boding well for the future. Tourism fuelled development of the city, led by the V&A Waterfront area. A theme park, casino and convention center followed. Numerous hotels opened and shopping centres expanded. More museums and cultural tours and events helped the city to celebrate its rich diversity.

List of ALL PROJECTS in South Africa
 

   

Sand-boarding in Cape Town - adventure and fun!
Sand-boarding at it’s best in Cape Town!

List of ALL PROJECTS in South Africa

Accommodation & Living in Cape Town Video
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Famous Table Mountain backdrop to the city below
View of Table Mountain across the city


Volunteers taking time out to enjoy the views


Colourful Bo-Kaap, a popular district in the center of the city


One of Cape Town’s pristine white beaches


Cape Town’s Music


The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront with a backdrop of Table Mountain

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