The Fountains Hotel is situated in the South African city of Cape Town. Warmed by the African sun, beautiful Cape Town is dominated by the famous, towering Table Mountain, so named because of its distinctive flat top which is not unlike a table top.
The city is on a peninsula of soaring, rocky heights and lush valleys. At the edge of this peninsula, the Indian and Atlantic Oceans converge.
Immense natural beauty and the fast pace and bright lights of a great urban centre with friendly people melt effortlessly here. Firmly positioned on the international map, Cape Town offers a myriad things to do and places to see, whatever your tastes, inclinations or budget.
Things to do in Cape Town within walking distance of the Fountains Hotel:
The Castle of Good Hope
Built between 1666 – 1679, the Castle of Good Hope – situated in the heart of Cape Town – is the oldest building in South Africa. It is a pentagonal fort with a moat and bastions at each corner, each named after the titles of the Prince of Orange. The Castle houses a military museum with three linked themes: the military history of the Cape, the military history of the Castle and the history of the Cape’s past and present regiments. It also houses the William Fehr Collection of paintings and antiques, and visitors can dine or relax with a refreshing drink at a restaurant on the premises.
The charming Company Gardens is situated off Upper Adderley Street in the city centre. Established by Jan van Riebeeck in 1652 as a vegetable garden to supply fresh produce to passing ships, it is the oldest garden in South Africa. Today it contains a wide variety of indigenous and exotic plants, shrubs and trees, an aviary and a restaurant. Its sundial dates back to 1787 and its bell tower to 1855. Below the restaurant is a saffron pear tree, the oldest cultivated tree in South Africa, believed to have been planted shortly after Van Riebeeck established a settlement here.
Things to do in Cape Town located within short driving distance from the Fountains Hotel:
The Cableway and Table Mountain
Table Mountain is a World Heritage Site and Cape Town’s most unique and certainly most identifiable landmark. Its summit soars 1 086m above sea level and can be reached by means of a revolving cable car. Visitors can marvel at the awe-inspiring 360° view of Cape Town while enjoying a meal or refreshing drink at the restaurant, or wandering the rocky trails lined with beautiful fynbos.
The V&A Waterfront
Situated in the midst of the working Table Bay Harbour, the famous Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is one of South Africa’s leading tourist destinations and a favorite with locals who love to work, play, shop – and also live – there. Original buildings have been renovated and new ones have been built, all in Victorian style, contributing to the timeless charm and appeal of this shopping and residential complex. Visitors can enjoy world-class shops, a variety of fascinating museums, an excellent selection of restaurants, pubs and coffee shops, craft markets, historical walking tours, cinemas (including an Imax!) and theatres, outdoor entertainment, helicopter trips and much more. The Waterfront is home to some of the Cape’s most renowned hotels, making it a superb venue for conferences. One can also visit South Africa’s largest aquarium, the Two Oceans Aquarium, which represents some 300 aquatic species. An information centre, good security and ample and convenient parking add to the Waterfront’s popularity.
From the V&A Waterfront, catamarans and historic vessels depart daily to Robben Island. A national monument, Robben Island is one of the most significant historical sites in South Africa. First used by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a refreshment station, it later became an asylum and leper colony. The Island was then controlled by the Army and Navy, after which it fell into the hands of the Department of Correctional Services in 1960. It gained notoriety as a gaol for those considered dangerous to the previous government. One such prisoner – the Island’s most famous ‘resident’ – is Nelson Mandela, who called the Island ‘home’ for more than two decades. A limited number of tourists can now visit Robben Island every day, where they can go on guided tours of the prison and the museum. There are also walking and cycling tours during which visitors can have a closer look at the wildlife and the splendid views of Cape Town from the Island.
Kirstenbosch is a beautiful botanical garden, world-famous for its indigenous plants (over 5000 species) and for its magnificent setting on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Visitors can stroll the vast grounds or admire the view whilst picnicking on the rolling lawns. During the summer season, Sunday evening concerts take place there. This summer concert series is a great favorite among locals. There is a delightful restaurant renowned for its Sunday breakfasts and teas, as well as a shop where one can buy postcards and plants.
Nearby is Groot Constantia, the farm originally allocated to Governor Simon van der Stel and the Cape’s oldest homestead. At the Manor House, visitors can admire furniture and antiques dating to the mid-1700s. In the Wine Museum, a rare selection of wine drinking and storage vessels dating from between 500BC and the 19th Century can be seen. Visitors can also enjoy cellar tours, purchase wine from the Estate and dine here.
Hout Bay and its traditional, working harbour with rustic fishing boats and the constant activity of fishermen plying their trade, is located about 22km from Cape Town’s city centre. The Hout Bay harbour boasts the world-famous Mariners’ Wharf, consisting of a harbour-front emporium of live lobster and fish markets, seafood bistros and restaurants, shell, souvenir, art and nautical-style shops, an old wine and liquor store, and a pearl-in-an-oyster outlet. Visitors can enjoy round-the-bay boat trips, watch the antics of the cape fur seals in the summer months and enjoy Hout Bay’s moon-shaped beach.
Good Hope Nature Reserve
Good Hope Nature Reserve is another must-visit destination. Situated on the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula, this nature reserve boasts 7 750 hectares of indigenous flora and fauna. Visitors can look out for baboon, bontebok, zebra, Cape grysbok, steenbok, grey rhebok, eland, springbok, grey mongoose and over 150 species of bird. In the reserve, at the end of the Table Mountain chain, is world-famous Cape Point, the dramatic and visually awe-inspiring promontory, and a restaurant where one can dine in style where the two oceans are said to meet.
Cape town’s famous golden beaches
Cape Town’s many clean, natural beaches, spectacularly located between sea and mountain, are considered to be among the most beautiful in the world. From False Bay to the Atlantic Coast, sun-worshippers, nature lovers and water sports enthusiasts alike are spoilt for choice!
Just 10 minutes from the city centre, Clifton and Camps Bay are sheltered from the southeaster wind, and are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, beach walks and sundowners. Surfing spots abound, as well as excellent spots for scubadiving, boardsailing and fishing. For those afraid to brave the invigorating sea temperatures of the Atlantic coast, a scenic drive to False Bay offers warmer waters at popular Muizenberg, Kalk Bay or Simonstown. For ‘naturalists’ wanting to get a little closer to the elements, Sandy Bay, a nature reserve, is also an unofficial nudist beach.
With the exception of Boulders Beach in False Bay, home to the African Penguin, entrance to all Cape Town’s lovely beaches is absolutely free.