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Western Cape

© SA Tourism© SA TourismThe Western Cape is an anomaly. Perched right at the tip of the continent and straddling two oceans, it is completely unlike anywhere else in Africa - probably the world. With its hot summers and cool rainy winters, it's just perfect for the production of fruit, grain and - most important - wine.

Yes, this is wine country. Rippling green vineyards stretch out towards distant purple mountains while ancient oaks guard sleepy, white-gabled homesteads. Time moves to the rhythm of the grape - slow in ripening and frenetic in picking season. There are so many wine farms to choose from, you may want to just give up trying to plan, and take a guided tour. The pleasure continues with shopping sprees at the scenic V&A (Victoria and Alfred) Waterfront in Cape Town or you could go wild on seafood on the West Coast or eating oysters in Knysna.

There’s more than food and wine, though. You could head off to the beach, or hike in the mountains. Frolic among the daisies, catch a fish or paddle a kayak off Cape Town to see the seals and penguins. You can learn to surf, jump off a mountain or out of a plane, fly upside down in an aerobatic plane, ride a horse through a vineyard, stopping for a quick taste, of course, or clamber up Table Mountain and watch the sun set. You could also hire a mountain bike and explore the pine plantations - or De Hoop Nature Reserve, where you may also see whales. But if you’re really keen on whale watching, you should plan a walk along the cliff top in Hermanus or go out on a boat in Plettenberg Bay.

If you’re of a curious nature, you could go to Cape Point and decide for yourself if you can see the line where the two oceans allegedly meet, or head further east to Cape Agulhas to the official meeting point at the southernmost extremity of the continent. On a summer Sunday afternoon, locals and visitors alike pack a picnic and hang out with their friends on the lawns at world famous Kirstenbosch gardens waiting for the sunset concert to begin.

You could also hire a car and drive up Route 62 to the Garden Route and you still won't have seen half of what this lovely province has to offer.

Cape Town, the major urban centre in the Western Cape, is a magical city and, of course, a major tourist attraction. Further up the coast, the small city of George is the de facto capital of the Garden Route and a veritable magnet for golfers. Knysna and Plettenberg Bay are the most popular destinations on this scenic coast and, further inland, the Karoo town of Oudtshoorn offers visitors the wonderful Cango Caves and a chance to see ostriches.

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