Cape Town - an introduction:

With its stunning scenery, fascinating history and cosmopolitan feel, it's no surprise that Cape Town is the most popular tourist destination in Africa. Situated on a peninsula which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean from South Africa's Western Cape, the whole city is dominated by the ever-present backdrop of iconic Table Mountain.

Cape Town, South AfricaCape Town could easily be the city for which the phrase 'something for everyone' was invented. The renowned beaches along the Atlantic coastline are perfect for surfing, sailing or sunbathing while nature lovers can spot everything from black rhino to penguins in the various nature reserves and wine connoisseurs will enjoy touring the numerous vineyards along the famous wine route. Back in the city centre, the huge selection of bars, restaurants, shops and galleries presents a showcase of contemporary African chic.

Top Cape Town attractions include:

  • The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront - set in Cape Town's working harbour, boasting a huge selection of shops, restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues.
  • Robben Island - home to the prison in which former president Nelson Mandela spent almost two decades for his anti-apartheid activities.
  • Rondevlei Nature Reserve - a bird sanctuary which is also home to a family of 8 hippos.
  • District Six Museum - dedicated to the events of the apartheid era, in particular the removal of over 60,000 people from their homes in District Six when it was declared a whites-only zone in the 1970s.
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens - covering 500 hectares of Table Mountain, a huge variety of indigenous flora blends into the surrounding bush.

Experience a true 'Rainbow Nation' welcome by staying in a Cape Town guest house - here are our top five:

Cape Town Guest Houses

Chartfield Guesthouse

Chartfield Guesthouse in Cape Town Chartfield Guesthouse is located in the quaint seaside village of Kalk Bay, just half an hour from the centre of Cape Town and the airport. Over a century old, the house has been lovingly restored by its present owners, a friendly family with plenty of experience in the hospitality industry.

Both the village and the guest house evoke the charm and spirit of a bygone era, offering a relaxed pace of life and plenty of style. The guestrooms display understated luxury; all are equipped with en-suite bathrooms, king-size beds, WiFi and flat screen TVs, and almost all have picture-perfect views out over the harbour.

For those in need of a little pampering, there is a wellness centre and spa just next door, and Kalk Bay boasts a number of excellent seafood restaurants.

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Sweet Ocean View

Sweet Ocean View in Cape TownA period mansion in popular Sea Point offers boutique accommodation to Cape Town's visitors. Each room in Sweet Ocean View has been individually decorated with a personal touch. The creative interior design combines original features of the house such as exposed brick and wooden beams with bright, modern colours and fabrics.

Facilities include a comfy lounge and a sunny roof terrace where guests can soak in the Jacuzzi while they take in the superb views over Sea Point and out to the Lions Head and the Atlantic Ocean. A full continental breakfast is served on the lower terrace.

The city centre, the V&A Waterfront and Green Point Stadium, as well as the famous beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay, are a few minutes away by car, while just around the corner is a kilometer of golden sand popular with walkers and joggers.

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Also in Cape Town are Sweet Ocean View's sister properties, Sweet Lemon Boutique B&B and Sweet Orange Guesthouse.

Villa Sunshine

Villa Sunshine in Cape TownIn a peaceful setting in Bantry Bay, surrounded by the natural beauties of Table Mountain, Clifton Beach and Camps Bay, is Villa Sunshine.

This charming Cape Town bed and breakfast is set in a Mediterranean-style villa on the Atlantic coast and has seven homely guestrooms, all featuring en-suite bathrooms, televisions, WiFi and complimentary tea, coffee and cookies. In addition, most rooms boast private balconies or patios, from which guests can take in the fresh Atlantic breeze.

A gourmet breakfast is included in the rates, which can be enjoyed in the stylish breakfast room or outside on the sunny terrace overlooking the salt water swimming pool. Guests also have access to a fully stocked bar and two comfortable lounges.

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Cape Oasis Guesthouse

Cape Oasis Guesthouse in Cape TownSet at the edge of the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve, just minutes from the beautiful beaches at Blouberg, the Cape Oasis Guesthouse offers visitors the chance to get close to Cape Town's varied wildlife.

The nature reserve is home to over 100 species of bird, including flamingos, pelicans, eagles and ibis, while the sand dunes along the coastline provide a good vantage point for whale watching and dolphin sightings.

Just 20 minutes from the city centre, this Cape Town guest house offers a range of clean and spacious en-suite guestrooms, including one fully equipped private apartment. A large garden lined with palm trees backs on to the reserve, and guests can enjoy views of Table Mountain and the surrounding scenery while they eat their breakfast.

Facilities include a kitchen, a BBQ area, free WiFi, a heated outdoor pool and Jacuzzi and a common room with games and a trampoline that kids will love. Active guests can try their hand at a number of watersports at the nearby lake, including windsurfing, fishing and sailing.

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Bantry Bay Guesthouse

Bantry Bay Guesthouse in Cape TownLocated in Cape Town's exclusive Bantry Bay area, just 200 metres from the sea, the Bantry Bay Guesthouse offers guests value-for-money accommodation and a homely atmosphere.

The rooms are spacious and modern, decorated in earthy tones with traditional African art throughout. Facilities include a well-equipped kitchen, a TV lounge, wireless internet access and secure parking. There is also a pleasant patio where guests can relax with a cool drink and escape the heat of the sun for a few hours.

Bantry Bay is conveniently located for Green Point Stadium and Cape Town City Centre. It is also just a couple of minutes' walk from the shops, restaurants and bars of Sea Point, as well as a 10-minute coastal walk to the beautiful Clifton Beach.

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To find out more about things to see and do in Cape Town visit www.tourismcapetown.co.za, or for information on South Africa in general, go to www.southafrica.net.

Do you own a Cape Town guest house? List your property for free on BedandBreakfastworld.com.

By Eleanor Brown

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