The Western Cape
||South Africa, situated at the southern end of Africa is an exciting
mix of first and third world cultures. Well known for its natural
scenery it has some of the worlds best wildlife reserves. A stable
post-apartheid government, led by President Thabo Mbeki, has led
to South Africa becoming a popular travel destination.
|In the southwest lies the Western Cape Province bounded by the
Indian and Atlantic oceans. Cape Town, its capital, lies on the
Cape Peninsula, described by Sir Francis Drake as ‘the
fairest Cape in all the world’. It is indeed one of the
most beautiful capes on earth. Among much splendour the Cape boasts
its own floral kingdom known as fynbos, beautiful endless beaches
and is home to the rare African Jackass Penguins.
||Cape Town, a city renowned for its vibrancy, is made
up of a mixed community of about 4 million people. Bounded by the
Atlantic Ocean on three sides and Table Mountain in the centre,
the city is naturally surrounded by spectacular scenery. Its mild
Mediterranean climate makes for warm summers and mild winters.
a first world infrastructure and excellent educational facilities
it is an outstanding study or holiday destination.|
|People have occupied the Western Cape for more than
a million years; hence the region boasts a rich archaeological past.
For probably the last 100,000 years or more it was the home of San
(Bushmen) hunter gatherers. The San left a rich heritage of rock
paintings portraying their beliefs but also a pictorial account
of their world, including the arrival, about 2000 years ago, of
Khoekoe herders with sheep and cattle. Because the Western Cape
is a winter rainfall area it was unsuited to the summer crops of
Bantu speaking agro-pastoralists and when the Dutch East India Company
established a refreshment station at the Cape in the 1600s it was
occupied only by the San and Khoi.
||In their art, the San depicted the arrival of the
Dutch as well. However, these indigenous people of ancient descent
could not compete with the technology of European settlers.
they lost their long-held access to grazing and hunting land and
by the early 1700’s, decimated by poverty and disease, most
laboured in the employ of the DEIC or local farmers. Today the region
is still populated by descendants of the Khoisan, but also those
of European and Asian settlers and slaves, and more recently by
people from all over Africa. It makes for a melting pot of cultures
and a fascinating travel destination.
"By any standard, the Cape Town region of South Africa is
one of the most beautiful and compelling places to visit on the planet.
Here, in addition to a city with fascinating historical sites, excellent
museums, vibrant markets and a handsomely restored waterfront, I encountered
mountain wilderness, rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, lush gardens,
beautiful wine estates, superior hotels and some of the warmest, most
welcoming people I've ever met."
Travel Editor, Richard Busch