Check Email | My Account | Contact Us

Search for on the web shopping
Wed, 26 Jan, 2022
contact us
education frontpage
a-z of references
general knowledge
plants & animals

Top links
- Sudoku
- Collectibles
City of Cape Town
Stad Kaapstad
Isixeko SaseKapa
Cape Town: Seal
( In detail) ( In detail)
City motto: Spes Bona ( Latin: Good Hope)
Satellite view of Cape Town
Province Western Cape
Mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo
- % water
1,644 km²
- Total (2004)
- Density
ranked 104
Established 1652
Time zone SAST ( UTC+2)
Calling code 021
Cape Town ( Afrikaans: Kaapstad /ˈkɑːpstɑt/; Xhosa: iKapa) is the third most populous city in South Africa. Cape Town is widely regarded as one of the world's most beautiful cities. It is built on a portion of the Cape Peninsula, on the Atlantic Ocean, and has dozens of peaks rising thousands of feet in height both in and around its various suburbs.As the oldest city in South Africa, Cape Town is known affectionately as the Mother City. It is the legislative capital of South Africa, as well as capital of the Western Cape province. Cape Town is famous for its harbour which was constructed by a process of land reclamation, as well as its location at the northern end of the Cape Peninsula and generaly known as the Cape of Good Hope. Its central area is dominated by Table Mountain, so named after its flat top. The Castle of Good Hope, the historical centre of the city which was built on the original shoreline, is located at 33°55′33″S, 18°25′37″E.Cape Town is a major trade centre for South Africa. Situated on the South-western corner of the African continent, it is an important base for trade with other countries in Africa and on other continents.Cape Town is the tourism capital of South Africa, receiving the largest number of tourists of any South African city.The area is famous for its unique plant life: fynbos (an Afrikaans word meaning "fine bush"), a shrubby, evergreen vegetation type similar to other winter rainfall shrublands, in which proteas are prominent and characteristic and which occurs nowhere else but the Cape coastal belt, the adjacent mountains and some isolated inland mountain tops. Fire is a necessary stage in the lives of almost all fynbos plants.It is also famous for the fine wines produced locally.When leaving Cape Town, one first passes the suburbs, townships, and Cape Town International Airport. Further out one passes through the winelands of the Boland and the Cape Fold mountain ranges. After getting over the mountains one enters the Karoo in the north-east or the coast regions in the north and east.

Jump to Page Contents

Pay as you go
No monthly charges. Access for the price of a phone call Go>


Flat rate dialup access from only 4.99 a month Go>

Surf faster from just 13.99 a month Go>

Save Even More
Combine your phone and internet, and save on your phone calls
More Info>

This weeks hot offer
24: Series 5 24: Series 5

In association with 26.97


Sports teams and stadiums
Further education in Cape Town

History - Contents

The area today known as Cape Town was settled by the San and Khoikhoi, collectively known as the Khoisan, long before the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie; VOC) established a supply depot in Cape Town in 1652. By and large the indigenous people refused to deal with the Dutch, so the VOC imported slaves from Madagascar, India, Ceylon, Malaya, and Indonesia to deal with the colony's chronic labour shortage. Over time, with the shortage of women among the colony's settlers, settlers, slaves and the Khoisan intermarried. The offspring of these unions formed the basis of sections of today's Cape Coloured population and also helps explain the unique character of the city's Cape Malay population.During 150 years of Dutch rule, Kaapstad, as the Cape settlement became known, thrived and gained a wider reputation as the "Tavern of the Seas", a riotous port used by every sailor travelling between Europe and the Orient. By the end of the 18th century, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) was nearly bankrupt, making Cape Town an easy target for British imperialist interests in the region. Following the British defeat of the Dutch in 1806 at Bloubergstrand, 25 kilometres north of Cape Town, the colony was ceded to the British monarchy on 13 August 1814. The slave trade was abolished in 1808, and all slaves were emancipated in 1833. In 1867 District Six was developed and became a thriving community.The discovery and exploitation of diamonds and gold in the Transvaal region of South Africa in the 1870s and 1880s led to rapid change. Cape Town was soon no longer the single dominant metropolis in the country, but as a major port it too was a beneficiary of the mineral wealth that laid the foundation for an industrial society. The same wealth led to imperialist dreams of grandeur on the part of Cecil John Rhodes, the premier of the Cape Colony in 1890, who had made his millions at the head of De Beers Consolidated Mines.Following a plague, Africans were moved to two locations, one near the docks and the other at Ndabeni about 6 kilometres east of the city, an early introduction of racial segregation. This was the start of what would later develop into the townships of the Cape Flats. In 1948, the National Party stood for election on its policy of apartheid and won. In a series of bitter court and constitutional battles, the limited rights of coloureds to vote in the Cape were removed, and the apparatus of apartheid was erected. In 1966, the District Six area close to the city centre was declared a Whites-only area. This and many similar declarations under the Group Areas Act resulted in whole communities being uprooted and cast out to the Cape Flats.Under Apartheid, the Cape was considered a "Coloured labour preference area" by the government, to the exclusion of Africans. The government tried for decades to eradicate largely Xhosa squatter camps, such as Crossroads, which were the focal point for black resistance to the apartheid regime. In the last attempt between May and June 1986, an estimated 70,000 people were driven from their homes, and many killed. Even this brutal attack was unsuccessful in eradicating the townships, and the government accepted the inevitable and began to upgrade conditions.Hours after being released from prison on 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela made his first public speech in decades from the balcony of Cape Town's City Hall, heralding the beginning of a new era for South Africa. Much has improved in Cape Town since; property prices are increasing greatly and the city centre is becoming safer, with the development of loft-style apartments in grand old structures such as the Old Mutual Building and the Board of Executors building. Full integration of Cape Town's mixed population, however, remains a long way off, if it is achievable at all. Meanwhile the vast majority of Capetonians who live in the Cape Flats are still split along race lines and suffer horrendous economic, social, and health problems. Cape Town is dealing with the major problems like AIDS, Tuberculosis and violent drug-related crime in these areas, including one of the highest homicide rates in the world.

Government - Contents

Cape Town's local government is the City of Cape Town, a metropolitan municipality. Cape Town has a 200-member city council, who answer to a 28-member executive council. This in turn is presided over by a city manager and an executive mayor. The current mayor is Nomaindia Mfeketo of the ANC, the city's first black female mayor, and the current city manager is Wallace Mgoqi. An election is scheduled for 1 March 2006.

Demographics - Contents

Geographical distribution of home languages in Cape Town.
Geographical distribution of home languages in Cape Town.
As of the census of 2001, there are 2,893,251 people and 759,767 households residing in the city. The population density is 1,158/km². The household density is 304/km². The racial makeup of the city is 31.68% Black African, 48.13% Coloured, 1.43% Indian/Asian, and 18.75% White.16.1% of all households are made up of individuals. The average household size is 3.81.In the city the population is spread out with 26.6% under the age of 15, 20.0% from 15 to 24, 33.4% from 25 to 44, 15.0% from 45 to 64, and 5.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 26 years. For every 100 females there are 92.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.3 males.In the city 41.4% of residents speak Afrikaans at home, 27.9% speak English, 0.0% speak Ndebele, 28.7% speak Xhosa, 0.3% speak Zulu, 0.0% speak Sepedi, 0.7% speak Sesotho, 0.1% speak Setswana, 0.0% speak SiSwati, 0.0% speak Tshivenda, and 0.0% speak Xitsonga. 0.7% of the population speaks a non-official language at home.76.6% of residents are Christian, 10.7% have no religion, 9.7% are Muslim, 0.5% are Jewish, and 0.2% are Hindu. 2.3% have other or undetermined beliefs.4.2% of residents aged 20 and over have received no schooling, 11.8% have had some primary school, 7.1% have completed only primary school, 38.9% have had some high school education, 25.4% have finished only high school, and 12.6% have an education higher than the high school level. Overall, 38.0% of residents have completed high school.68.6% of housing units have a telephone and/or cell-phone in the dwelling, 29.5% have access to a phone nearby, and 1.9% have access that is not nearby or no access. 87.4% of households have a flush or chemical toilet. 94.4% have refuse removed by the municipality at least once a week and 1.4% have no rubbish disposal. 69.3% have running water inside their dwelling, 84.4% have running water on their property, and 98.7% have access to running water. 80.1% of households use electricity for cooking, 75.0% for heating, and 88.8% for lighting. 80.7% of households have a radio, 77.0% have a television, 21.3% own a computer, 76.4% have a refrigerator, and 45.5% have a cell-phone.19.4% of the population aged 15-65 is unemployed. Of the unemployed persons, 58.3% are Black African, 38.1% are Coloured, 0.5% are Indian/Asian, and 3.1% are White. 34.8% of Black Africans are unemployed, 15.8% of Coloureds, 7.1% of Indians/Asians, and 3.1% of Whites.The median annual income of working adults aged 15-65 is R 25,774 (,874). Males have a median annual income of R 28,406 (,270) versus R 22,265 (,347) for females. The median annual income by race is R 13,471 (,025) for Black Africans, R 23,012 (,459) for Coloureds, R 44,233 (,648) for Indians/Asians, and R 70,380 (,579) for Whites. The annual income distribution in Cape Town is:
  • No income 2.0%
  • R 12 – R 4,800 ( - 1) 4.4%
  • R 4,812 – R 9,600 (3 - ,443) 10.0%
  • R 9,612 – R 19,200 (,445 – ,886) 25.7%
  • R 19,212 – R 38,400 (,888 - ,772) 23.1%
  • R 38,412 – R 76,800 (,774 - ,543) 18.1%
  • R 76,812 – R 153,600 (,545 - ,087) 10.1%
  • R 153,612 – R 307,200 (,089 - ,174) 4.4%
  • R 307,212 – R 614,400 (,176 - ,348) 1.4%
  • R 614,412 or more (,350+) 0.8%
Statistics South Africa Census 2001

Tourism - Contents

The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, backed by Table Mountain with characteristic tablecloth.
The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, backed by Table Mountain with characteristic tablecloth.
Cape Town is a popular tourist destination, offering the visitor a wide variety of activities such as water sports (including diving, surfing, kite-surfing and sailing), angling, wine tasting, shopping, scenic drives, mountaineering, hiking, mountain-biking, kite-flying, hang-gliding and parasailing, boat trips, and bird- and whale-watching.[[Image:Cape Town and Robben Island seen from Table Mountain.jpg|thumb|right|300px|The central area of Cape Town as seen from Table Mountain.

When to visit
The most popular time for visitors is the summer from October to March, though some visitors from more temperate climates might find the height of summer (December and January) uncomfortably hot. The city also becomes very crowded then as the local holidaymakers descend on the city for their summer school holidays.

Main attractions
Some of the most popular tourist attractions are:
  • The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a popular shopping venue with hundreds of shops, fine hotels, a world-class marina and an aquarium
  • Table Mountain, which can be accessed either by walking or cable car
  • Cape Point
  • Robben Island
  • Kirstenbosch botanical gardens
  • Signal Hill with the Noon gun
  • Chapman's Peak Drive
  • The Cape Wine Route
  • The Beaches
The Table Mountain Cableway takes visitors to the top of Table Mountain, though it can be closed in gale-force winds. The operating status (open or closed) of the cable car is posted on a signboard at Kloof Nek.The Cape Peninsula and the region around Cape Town offer wonderful walking and hiking opportunities. Table Mountain, Lion's Head and Devil's Peak) can be accessed very easily from right in the middle of the city, and the surrounding mountain ranges offer further opportunities.The Kirstenbosch botanical gardens are one of the city's most popular attractions, with a stunning setting and a world-class botanical collection. Kirstenbosch also hosts a popular series of outdoor concerts on Sunday evenings during summer.Boat trips can be undertaken from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront to visit Robben Island. Other boat trips can be undertaken from Simon's Town (the main South African naval base) on the False Bay coast to Seal Island and Cape Point and from Hout Bay, a fishing harbour on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, to Duiker Island which has a population of 6000 seals in breeding season dropping to 1500 seals in the off season. Cruises around the Cape Point are also popular among tourists.Cape Town is famous for its beaches. Blouberg beach has the classic view of Table Mountain and is a world class spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing, mainly in the summer seasons (September to February). Other popular beaches include Camps Bay and Clifton, home to the rich and famous, and Boulders Beach, home to a colony of penguins.The annual Cape Town Minstrel Carnival or Kaapse Klopse is a minstrel festival held annually on 2nd January or 'Tweede Nuwe Jaar'. Competing teams of minstrels parade in brightly coloured costumes, either carrying colourful umbrellas or playing an array of musical instruments.

Highlights nearby
Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are popular historic towns within a few hours' drive of Cape Town. Whale Watching is popular, with one of the world's largest population of Southern Right Whales found off the coast of the Cape Peninsula and the surrounding areas of the Western Cape during the breeding season (August to November). Many local observation points allow sightings from close by. Hermanus is the most famous and whales often come within 100yds of the shore there but they can be seen in False Bay, as can Bryde's Whale, which occur all year. Heaviside's Dolphin is endemic to the area and can be seen from the coast north of Cape Town, especially from Lambert's Bay where boat trips run to view them. Dusky Dolphin can be seen along the same stretch of coast but is more active with a swept back dorsal fin which is distinctly two-toned. This species may be seen from the ferry to Robben Island.The Cape Wine Route includes informative tours to local wineries offering wine tasting.August and September are the best time to visit the Namaqualand region on the west coast of South Africa, because the desert comes to life after the winter rains and the wild flowers bloom in profusion.

Sports teams and stadiums - Contents

Three main team sports are played in the city: rugby, cricket and football.Cape Town boasts two soccer teams in the Premier League, Santos (based in Athlone) and Ajax Cape Town (based in Parow).The Cape Town suburb of Newlands is the home of the Western Province rugby team, one of the powerhouses in South African rugby. The current team captain is Schalk Burger. Newlands is also the base for the Stormers team, which plays in the Super 14.The Cape Cobras cricket team is based at the Newlands Cricket Ground. It is the amalgamation of the Western Province Cricket and Boland Cricket teams.The clement weather of the region allows open air sports all year round. Apart from team sports, golf and tennis are very popular and facilities for these exist all over the city. Conditions for scuba diving, surfing and both kite and board sailing are world class and attract many foreign tourists.Apart from the existing Newlands Rugby Stadium which seats 50,900 and the Newlands Cricket Stadium with a capacity of 25,000, there is the Athlone Stadium which is set to undergo an upgrade as a training venue for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. A completely new facility to seat 70,000 spectators is planned for the Green Point Track on the outskirts of the CBD. The stadium will receive a retractable roof which will open and close depending on the weather. The estimated cost of the stadium is R1.2 billion. The area around the stadium is set to undergo a transformation into a park area, similar to that of Hyde Park in London and Central Park in New York City.

Transport - Contents

To/from Cape Town
Cape Town is the meeting point of three South African national roads: the N1 to Johannesburg and Pretoria and ultimately the Zimbabwean border, the N2 to Durban and the N7 to Namibia. All these highways are motorway standard within the built-up area. Shosholoza Meyl operates daily trains to and from Pretoria via Kimberley and Johannesburg, and weekly trains to and from Durban via Kimberley, Bloemfontein and Pietermaritzburg. These trains terminate at Cape Town Railway Station, and also stop at Bellville.The city has a large port located in Table Bay directly to the north of the city centre and is a hub of the shipping routes in the Southern Hemisphere. Cape Town is South Africa's second port after Durban; in 2004 it handled 3161 ships and 9.2 million tonnes of cargo. Cape Town International Airport is the second biggest airport in South Africa and a major gateway for travellers to the Cape region. It offers a number of international flights to destinations in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America. Nearly all commercial airports in South Africa are served from here.

Within Cape Town
In addition to the national roads listed above (which are also used for local traffic) the city is served by the M3, M5, M7 and R300 freeways. There is also an extensive network of dual carriageways and main roads. Metrorail operates a large suburban rail network consisting of 96 stations. Golden Arrow Bus Services operates a network of bus routes, and minibus taxis operate throughout the metropolitan area.

Further education in Cape Town - Contents

Cape Town boasts three universities and various colleges.Both the University of Cape Town and the University of the Western Cape are located within the Cape Town metropole, while Stellenbosch University is within a 50 km reach.There is also the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, formed after the merging of the Cape Technikon and the Peninsula Technikon, which deals with National Diplomas.
Change Text Size:
[A] [default] [A]

go back print page email to a friend make us your home page

about | terms of use | contact us
© 2022