About South Africa
South Africa is an incredible destination - it is the kind of destination that will touch all of your senses in a myriad of ways, and once all is said and done you probably won't be the same again. Our incredible diversity is a key attraction - from the deserts of the Kgalagadi to the lush green forests of Tsitsikamma to the unspoilt beaches of the Wild Coast to the vibrant nightlife of Cape Town - we really do have it all.
South Africa is mercurial in nature, one moment you'll be exploring the origins of ancient man, the next you're cage-diving with Great White Sharks and the next you're drinking traditional beer in a lively township shebeen. South Africa is a destination where you can experience it all..
As a people, we are known for our humanity - we may have come from a past filled with separation and struggle but our future is one of unity and possibility. In true African spirit, we understand the value of a warm South African welcome, and we can't wait to welcome you to our Rainbow Nation - in 11 official languages.
There are nine spectacular provinces for you to explore - nine incredible diverse parts of the country that will open up your sense of possibility in ways you never thought possible. We have a sensational climate (with over 300 days of sunshine per year in some parts). We are also extremely proud of our superb infrastructure - excellent roads, a great variety of accommodation options and world-class service. South Africa truly is a ground-breaking destination for explorers and adventurers who want to experience life in all its fullness. We're a destination that allows you to scratch below the surface and experience endless possibilities, and to walk away the richer for having been here.
Courtesy: South African Tourism
About Cape Town
Cape Town is the second largest city in South Africa, but the most loved by tourists (and residents).
Cape Town is situated on a small peninsula that juts out into the sea, flanked by the Indian Ocean on the east and Atlantic Ocean on the west. It was described by Sir Francis Drake as the Fairest Cape in the 1500s, but is also known as the Cape of Good Hope.
This small area of land is part of the Cape Floristic Kingdom, the smallest but richest of the world's six floral kingdoms. The larger areas of the Table Mountain National Park, and in particular the compact area of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, is a botanist's heaven.. The fauna in the Cape Peninsula is similarly diverse, from the more than 250 species of birds, including the penguins at Boulder's Beach to the Chacma baboons at Cape Point.
Sand, Swim and Surf
There are many beaches around the Peninsula, all with their own personalities, from the white sand sunset beaches of Clifton and Camp's Bay with the overlooking stretch of the Twelve Apostles peaks, to the sweep of the False Bay coast with the standout beaches there being Fish Hoek and Muizenberg, a surfer's delight. You might want to combine the best of the wave and the wind by learning how to kitesurf. Keeping with the aquatic bent, don't miss the Two Oceans Aquarium, a homage to the best of cold and warm water seas at the meeting point of our oceans, and a short walk from the conference hotel. .
For the fine diners, opportunities for your palate abound. The Cape region is home to 8 of the 10 best restaurants in the country. Some of these are in Cape Town itself, others are within a 1 hour radius in the winelands. Franschhoek is great example of the latter – a small, quaint town of French heritage in wine country, a place where art, wine, and fine food meet.
Between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, your palate will not want for any better combinations of food and wine. In fact, this is a good time to talk about the Winelands then. Close to Cape Town there are an astonishing number of large and small boutique wine farms offering beautiful and affordable wines in a historical area that has developed over the last 3 centuries, all within 30-60 minutes from the city centre. These farms are scattered all over the Stellenbosch, Franschoek, Paarl and Durbanville area. And if you want it even closer, the oldest vineyards are actually in a suburb of the city just behind Table Mountain in the Constantia Valley. Established in 1659, this wine farm region has produced wines that have been mentioned in the works of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Charles Baudelaire. Don't miss the memorable dessert wine Vin du Constance of Klein Constantia. Whatever you like, however you like it, the Cape Winelands has something for you.
For a drink or a quick bite to eat with a view, anywhere along the Camp's Bay strip is a good bet – a restaurant or bar overlooking the beach and watching the sun go down over the ocean is hard to beat. There are also several great places along the Mouille Point strip and you can walk there from the Waterfront.
Explore and Extreme
One cannot visit Cape Town and not go up Table Mountain, now one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature. Go to Blaauwberg beach, or any beach on the west coast, for the classic view of the mountain across the bay, or take a trip up the cableway to the top (better yet, walk) to see Cape Town like it was meant to be seen. The University of Cape Town takes advantage of this splendour and is situated on the slopes of Table Mountain opposite to the city. This location led to it recently being voted 3rd in the most beautiful universities in the world. Perhaps even better, go up Lion's Head (just next to Table Mountain) one evening for a picnic at the top – a vigorous but quick walk will get you to the top in less than an hour. Best on the night of a full moon, there'll be lots of people up there watching the sun set and moon rise. It has a gorgeous view of Table Mountain, the City Bowl, Table Bay, and the spread of beaches at the foot of the Twelve Apostles.
There are loads of adventure sports in and around the Cape Town area that will keep the young at heart entertained – like skydiving, paragliding, abseiling, hiking, kiteboarding, bungee jumping, and quad biking.
Another landmark is Robben Island, a prison island in the middle of Table Bay where our beloved Nelson Mandela, the first President of a democratic South Africa, spent most of his 27 years in prison. This World Heritage monument represents the endurance of the human spirit. Standing on the island, it is hard not to be humbled by the strength of a belief in a brighter future while living in a bound present, all the while staring at freedom across the bay.
If you prefer driving around to see the sites you can take one of the many Hop On Hop Off buses around the city. But if you have the time, take a drive along the Garden Route, taking in Hermanus, Knysna, Plettenberg bay and Nature's Valley along the way. A more beautiful route in the world you will struggle to find. If you don't want to leave the Cape Town area, a drive along Chapman's Peak or from Gordon's Bay to Betty's Bay will remind you quickly that Cape Town is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Most shops in the city centre and suburbs open between 08.00 and 17.00 to 17.30 hours. Shops in major shopping malls open at 09.00 and close at 19.00 hours or later. Government agencies still keep to traditional weekday only hours. In terms of shopping centres, the closest to the conference venue and hotels is the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, which is a reasonably sized shopping area with a tourist leaning. De Waterkant / Cape Quarter is a niche shopping and eating district quite close by in Green Point, with some nightlife attached. Other large shopping centres near the city are Canal Walk and Cavendish Square.