|Coordinates: 33°55′31″S 18°25′26″E / 33.92528°S 18.42389°E|
|GMP per capita (2011)||US$19,656|
Cape Town is South Africa's oldest city. It serves as the country's legislative capital, being the seat of the South African Parliament. It is the country's second-largest city (after Johannesburg) and the largest in the Western Cape. The city is part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality.
The city is known for its harbour, its natural setting in the Cape Floristic Region, and for landmarks such as Table Mountain and Cape Point. In 2014, Cape Town was named the best place in the world to visit by The New York Times and similarly by The Daily Telegraph in 2016.
Located on the shore of Table Bay, the City Bowl area of Cape Town is the oldest urban area in the Western Cape, with a significant cultural heritage. It was founded by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck's arrival on 6 April 1652 established the VOC Cape Colony, the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony. Until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the development of Johannesburg, Cape Town was the largest city in southern Africa.
The city has a long coastline on the Atlantic Ocean, which includes False Bay, and extends to the Hottentots Holland mountains to the east. The Table Mountain National Park is within the city boundaries and there are several other nature reserves and marine-protected areas within, and adjacent to, the city, protecting the diverse terrestrial and marine natural environment.
The earliest known remnants of human occupation in the region were found at Peers Cave in Fish Hoek and have been dated to between 15,000 and 12,000 years old.
Little is known of the history of the region's first residents, since there is no written history from the area before it was first mentioned by
In 1497, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama recorded a sighting of the Cape of Good Hope.
In 1510, at the Battle of Salt River, the Portuguese admiral Francisco de Almeida and sixty-four of his men were killed and his party was defeated by the !Uriǁ’aekua ("Goringhaiqua" in Dutch approximate spelling) using specially trained cattle. The !Uriǁ’aekua were one of the so-called Khoekhoe clans who inhabited the area.
In the late 16th century French, Danish, Dutch and English, but mainly Portuguese, ships regularly continued to stop over in Table Bay en route to the Indies. They traded tobacco, copper, and iron with the Khoekhoe clans of the region in exchange for fresh meat and other essential travelling provisions.
In 1652, Jan van Riebeeck and other employees of the United East India Company (Dutch: Verenigde Oost-indische Compagnie, VOC) were sent to the Cape Colony to establish a way-station for ships travelling to the Dutch East Indies, and the Fort de Goede Hoop (later replaced by the Castle of Good Hope). The settlement grew slowly during this period, as it was hard to find adequate labour. This labour shortage prompted the local authorities to import enslaved people from Indonesia and Madagascar. Many of these people are ancestors of modern-day Cape Coloured communities.
Under Van Riebeeck and his successors, as VOC commanders and later governors at the Cape, a wide range of agricultural plants were introduced to the Cape. Some of these, including grapes, cereals, ground nuts, potatoes, apples and citrus, had a large and lasting influence on the societies and economies of the region.
Britain captured Cape Town in 1795, but it was returned to the Dutch by treaty in 1803. British forces occupied the Cape again in 1806 following the Battle of Blaauwberg when the successor state to the Batavian Republic, the Kingdom of Holland, allied with France during the Napoleonic Wars.
During the 1850s and 1860s, additional plant species were introduced from Australia by the British authorities. Notably rooikrans was introduced to stabilise the sand of the Cape Flats to allow for a road connecting the peninsula with the rest of the African continent and eucalyptus was used to drain marshes.
In 1859 the first railway line was built by the Cape Government Railways and a system of railways rapidly expanded in the 1870s. The discovery of diamonds in Griqualand West in 1867, and the Witwatersrand Gold Rush in 1886, prompted a flood of immigration into South Africa. In 1895 the city's first public power station, the Graaff Electric Lighting Works, was opened.
Conflicts between the
As the 19th century came to an end, the economic and political dominance of Cape Town in the Southern Africa region during the 19th century started to gave way to the dominance of Johannesburg and Pretoria in the 20th century.
South African period
In 1910, Britain established the
By the time of the
Prior to the mid-twentieth century, Cape Town was one of the most racially integrated cities in South Africa. In the 1948 national elections, the National Party won on a platform of apartheid (racial segregation) under the slogan of "swart gevaar" (Afrikaans for "black danger"). This led to the erosion and eventual abolition of the Cape's multiracial franchise.
In 1950, the apartheid government first introduced the
The earliest of the Cape Flats forced removals saw the expulsion of Black South Africans to the
Under apartheid, the Cape was considered a "
Cape Town has been home to many leaders of the anti-apartheid movement. In Table Bay, 10 km (6 mi) from the city is Robben Island. This penitentiary island was the site of a maximum security prison where many famous apartheird-era political prisoners served long prison sentences. Famous prisoners include activist, lawyer and future president Nelson Mandela who served 18 of his 27 years of imprisonment on the island, as well as two other future presidents, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma.
In one of the most famous moments marking the end of apartheid,
Nobel Square in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront features statues of South Africa's four Nobel Peace Prize winners: Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela.
Cape Town faced a severe water shortage from 2015 to 2018.
Since the 2010s, Cape Town and the wider Western Cape province have seen the rise of a small secessionist movement. Support for parties "which have formally adopted Cape independence" was around 5% in the 2021 municipal elections.
Geography and the natural environment
Cape Town is located at latitude 33.55° S (approximately the same as Sydney and Buenos Aires and equivalent to Casablanca and Los Angeles in the northern hemisphere) and longitude 18.25° E.
Table Mountain, with its near vertical cliffs and flat-topped summit over 1,000 m (3,300 ft) high, and with Devil's Peak and Lion's Head on either side, together form a dramatic mountainous backdrop enclosing the central area of Cape Town, the so-called City Bowl. A thin strip of cloud, known colloquially as the "tablecloth" ("Karos" in Afrikaans), sometimes forms on top of the mountain. To the immediate south of the city, the Cape Peninsula is a scenic mountainous spine jutting 40 km (25 mi) southward into the Atlantic Ocean and terminating at Cape Point.
There are over 70 peaks above 300 m (980 ft) within Cape Town's official city limits. Many of the city's suburbs lie on the large plain called the Cape Flats, which extends over 50 km (30 mi) to the east and joins the peninsula to the mainland. The Cape Town region is characterised by an extensive coastline, rugged mountain ranges, coastal plains and inland valleys.
The extent of Cape Town has varied considerably over time. It originated as a small settlement at the foot of Table Mountain and has grown beyond its city limits as a metropolitan area to encompass the entire Cape Peninsula to the south, the Cape Flats, the Helderberg basin and part of the Steenbras catchment area to the east, and the Tygerberg hills, Blouberg and other areas to the north. Robben Island in Table Bay is also part of Cape Town. It is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and False Bay to the south. To the north and east, the extent is demarcated by boundaries of neighbouring municipalities within the Western Cape province.
There are two internationally notable landmarks, Table Mountain and Cape Point, at opposite ends of the Peninsula Mountain Chain, with the Cape Flats and False Bay to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The landscape is dominated by sandstone plateaux and ridges, which generally drop steeply at their margins to the surrounding debris slopes, interrupted by a major gap at the Fish Hoek–Noordhoek valley. In the south much of the area is a low sandstone plateau with sand dunes. Maximum altitude is 1113 m on Table Mountain. The Cape Flats (Afrikaans: Kaapse Vlakte) is a flat, low-lying, sandy area, area to the east the Cape Peninsula, and west of the Helderberg much of which was wetland and dunes within recent history. To the north are the Tygerberg hills and the Stellenbosch district.
The Helderberg area of Cape Town, previously known as the "Hottentots-Holland" area, is mostly residential, but also a wine-producing area east of the Cape Flats, west of the Hottentots Holland mountain range and south of the Helderberg mountain, from which it gets its current name. The Helderberg consists of the previous municipalities of Somerset West, Strand, Gordons Bay and a few other towns. Industry and commerce is largely in service of the area. After the Cape Peninsula, Helderberg is the next most mountainous part of Cape Town, bordered to the north and east by the highest peaks in the region along the watershed of the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland Mountains, which are part of the Cape Fold Belt with
To the east of the Hottentots Holland mountains is the valley of the Steenbras River, in which the Steenbras Dam was built as a water supply for Cape Town. The dam has been supplemented by several other dams around the western Cape, some of them considerably larger. This is almost entirely a conservation area, of high biodiversity. Tygerberg hills, Blouberg hill, Durbanville are a few of the suburbs that make up the northern areas of Cape Town. In current popular culture these areas are often referred to as being beyond the "boerewors curtain," a play on the term "iron curtain."
UNESCO declared Robben Island in the Western Cape a World Heritage Site in 1999. Robben Island is located in Table Bay, some 6 km (3.7 mi) west of Bloubergstrand in Cape Town, and stands some 30m above sea level. Robben Island has been used as a prison where people were isolated, banished, and exiled for nearly 400 years. It was also used as a leper colony, a post office, a grazing ground, a mental hospital, and an outpost.
The Cape Peninsula is a rocky and mountainous peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean at the south-western extremity of the continent. At its tip is Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. The peninsula forms the west side of False Bay and the Cape Flats. On the east side are the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland mountains. The three main rock formations are the late-Precambrian Malmebury group (sedimentary and metamorphic rock), the Cape Granite suit, comprising the huge Peninsula, Kuilsrivier-Helderberg, and Stellenbosch batholiths, that were intruded into the Malmesbury Group about 630 million years ago, and the Table Mountain group sandstones that were deposited on the eroded surface of the granite and Malmesbury series basement about 450 million years ago.
The sand, silt and mud deposits were lithified by pressure and then folded during the Cape Orogeny to form the Cape Fold Belt, which extends in an arc along the western and southern coasts. The present landscape is due to prolonged erosion having carved out deep valleys, removing parts of the once continuous Table Mountain Group sandstone cover from over the Cape Flats and False Bay, and leaving high residual mountain ridges.
At times the sea covered the Cape Flats and Noordhoek valley and the Cape Peninsula was then a group of islands. During glacial periods the sea level dropped to expose the bottom of False Bay to weathering and erosion, with the last major regression leaving the entire bottom of False Bay exposed. During this period an extensive system of dunes was formed on the sandy floor of False Bay. At this time the drainage outlets lay between Rocky Bank Cape Point to the west, and between Rocky Bank and Hangklip Ridge to the east, with the watershed roughly along the line of the contact zone east of Seal Island and Whittle Rock.: Ch2
Cape Town has a warm Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csb), with mild, moderately wet winters and dry, warm summers. Winter, which lasts from the beginning of June to the end of August, may see large cold fronts entering for limited periods from the Atlantic Ocean with significant
Summer, which lasts from December to March, is warm and dry with an average maximum of 26 °C (79 °F) and minimum of 16 °C (61 °F). The region can get uncomfortably hot when the
Water temperatures range greatly, between 10 °C (50 °F) on the Atlantic Seaboard, to over 22 °C (72 °F) in False Bay. Average annual ocean surface temperatures are between 13 °C (55 °F) on the Atlantic Seaboard (similar to Californian waters, such as San Francisco or Big Sur), and 17 °C (63 °F) in False Bay (similar to Northern Mediterranean temperatures, such as Nice or Monte Carlo).
Unlike other parts of the country the city does not have many thunderstorms, and most of those that do occur, happen around October to December and March to April.
|Climate data for Cape Town (1961–1990)|
|Record high °C (°F)||45.2
|Mean maximum °C (°F)||33.6
|Average high °C (°F)||26.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||20.4
|Average low °C (°F)||15.7
|Mean minimum °C (°F)||10.3
|Record low °C (°F)||7.4
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||15
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||5.5||4.6||4.8||8.3||11.4||13.3||11.8||13.7||10.4||8.7||4.9||6.3||103.7|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||337.9||297.4||292.9||233.5||205.3||175.4||193.1||212.1||224.7||277.7||309.8||334.2||3,094|
|Average ultraviolet index||12||11||8||5||3||2||2||4||6||8||10||12||7|
A 2019 paper published in PLOS One estimated that under Representative Concentration Pathway 4.5, a "moderate" scenario of climate change where global warming reaches ~2.5–3 °C (4.5–5.4 °F) by 2100, the climate of Cape Town in the year 2050 would most closely resemble the current climate of Perth in Australia. The annual temperature would increase by 1.1 °C (2.0 °F), and the temperature of the coldest month by 0.3 °C (0.54 °F), while the temperature of the warmest month would be 2.3 °C (4.1 °F) higher. According to Climate Action Tracker, the current warming trajectory appears consistent with 2.7 °C (4.9 °F), which closely matches RCP 4.5.
Moreover, according to the 2022 IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Cape Town is one of 12 major African cities (Abidjan, Alexandria, Algiers, Cape Town, Casablanca, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Durban, Lagos, Lomé, Luanda and Maputo) which would be the most severely affected by future sea level rise. It estimates that they would collectively sustain cumulative damages of USD 65 billion under RCP 4.5 and USD 86.5 billion for the high-emission scenario RCP 8.5 by the year 2050. Additionally, RCP 8.5 combined with the hypothetical impact from marine ice sheet instability at high levels of warming would involve up to 137.5 billion USD in damages, while the additional accounting for the "low-probability, high-damage events" may increase aggregate risks to USD 187 billion for the "moderate" RCP4.5, USD 206 billion for RCP8.5 and USD 397 billion under the high-end ice sheet instability scenario. Since sea level rise would continue for about 10,000 years under every scenario of climate change, future costs of sea level rise would only increase, especially without adaptation measures.
Sea surface temperatures
Cape Town's coastal water ranges from cold to mild, and the difference between the two sides of the peninsula can be dramatic. While the Atlantic Seaboard averages annual sea surface temperatures around 13 °C (55 °F), the
In summer False Bay is thermally stratified, with a vertical temperature variation of 5 to 9˚C between the warmer surface water and cooler depths below 50 m, while in winter the water column is at nearly constant temperature at all depths. The development of a thermocline is strongest around late December and peaks in late summer to early autumn.: 8 In summer the south easterly winds generate a zone of upwelling near Cape Hangklip, where surface water temperatures can be 6 to 7 °C colder than the surrounding areas, and bottom temperatures below 12 °C.: 10
In the summer to early autumn (January–March), cold water upwelling near Cape Hangklip causes a strong surface temperature gradient between the south-western and north-eastern corners of the bay. In winter the surface temperature tends to be much the same everywhere. In the northern sector surface temperature varies a bit more (13 to 22 °C) than in the south (14 to 20 °C) during the year.
Surface temperature variation from year to year is linked to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation. During El Niño years the South Atlantic high is shifted, reducing the south-easterly winds, so upwelling and evaporative cooling are reduced and sea surface temperatures throughout the bay are warmer, while in La Niña years there is more wind and upwelling and consequently lower temperatures. Surface water heating during El Niño increases vertical stratification. The relationship is not linear. Occasionally eddies from the Agulhas current will bring warmer water and vagrant sea life carried from the south and east coasts into False Bay.
Flora and fauna
Located in a Conservation International biodiversity hotspot as well as the unique Cape Floristic Region, the city of Cape Town has one of the highest levels of biodiversity of any equivalent area in the world. These protected areas are a World Heritage Site, and an estimated 2,200 species of plants are confined to Table Mountain – more than exist in the whole of the United Kingdom which has 1200 plant species and 67 endemic plant species. Many of these species, including a great many types of proteas, are endemic to the mountain and can be found nowhere else.
It is home to a total of 19 different vegetation types, of which several are endemic to the city and occur nowhere else in the world. It is also the only habitat of hundreds of endemic species, and hundreds of others which are severely restricted or threatened. This enormous species diversity is mainly because the city is uniquely located at the convergence point of several different soil types and micro-climates.
Table Mountain has an unusually rich biodiversity. Its vegetation consists predominantly of several different types of the unique and rich Cape
Cape Town reached first place in the 2019 iNaturalist City Nature Challenge in two out of the three categories: Most Observations, and Most Species. This was the first entry by Capetonians in this annual competition to observe and record the local biodiversity over a four-day long weekend during what is considered the worst time of the year for local observations. A worldwide survey suggested that the extinction rate of endemic plants from the City of Cape Town is one of the highest in the world, at roughly three per year since 1900 – partly a consequence of the very small and localised habitats and high endemicity.
|This article is part of a series on the|
Cape Town is governed by a 231-member city council elected in a system of
In the 2021 Municipal Elections, the Democratic Alliance (DA) kept its majority, this time diminished, taking 136 seats. The African National Congress lost substantially, receiving 43 of the seats. The Democratic Alliance candidate for the Cape Town mayoralty, Geordin Hill-Lewis was elected mayor.
The Old Cape Town City Hall as seen from the Grand Parade in front of the building.
The Cape Town Civic Centre, the central offices of the City of Cape Town.
- South Africa's national parliamentbuilding is located in Cape Town.
Cape Town has nineteen active sister city agreements
- Aachen, Germany
- Accra, Ghana
- Atlanta, United States of America
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Bujumbura, Burundi
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Haifa, Israel
- Hangzhou, China
- Houston, United States of America
- Huangshan, China
- Izmir, Turkey
- Los Angeles, United States of America
- Malmö, Sweden
- Miami-Dade County, United States of America
- Monterrey, Mexico
- Munich, Germany
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Shenzhen, China
- Varna, Bulgaria
- Wuhan, China
2022 invasion of Ukraine
The City of Cape Town has expressed explicit support for Ukraine during the
|Note: Census figures (1996–2011) cover figures after 1994 reflect the greater Cape Town metropolitan municipality reflecting post-1994 reforms. Sources: 1658–1904, 1936, 1950–1990, 1996, 2001, and 2011 Census; 2007, 2018 Census estimates.|
According to the
Of those residents aged 20 or older, 1.8% have no schooling, 8.1% have some schooling but did not finish primary school, 4.6% finished primary school but have no secondary schooling, 38.9% have some secondary schooling but did not finish
The total number of households grew from 653,085 in 1996 to 1,068,572 in 2011, which represents an increase of 63.6%.
In 2011 over 70% of cross provincial South African migrants coming into the Western Cape settled in Cape Town; 53.64% of South African migrants into the Western Cape came from the Eastern Cape and 20.95% came from Gauteng province.
According to the 2016 City of Cape Town community survey, there were 4,004,793 people in the City of Cape Town metro. Out of this population, 42.6% identified as Black African, 39.9% identified as Coloured, 16.5% identified as White and 1.1% identified as Asian.
During the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa, local media reported that increasing numbers of wealthy and middle-class South Africans have started moving from inland areas to coastal regions of the country, most notably Cape Town, in a phenomenon referred to as "semigration." Declining municipal services in the rest of the country and the South African energy crisis are other cited reasons for semigration.
The city's population is expected to grow by an additional 400,000 residents between 2020 and 2025 with 76% of those new residents falling into the low-income bracket earning less than R 13,000 a month.
In the 2015 General Household Survey 82.3% of respondents self identified as Christian, 8% as Muslim, 3.8% as following a traditional African religion and 3.1% as "nothing in particular."
In recent years,[
|Top publicly traded companies|
in the Cape Town/Stellenbosch
region for 2021
(ranked by market capitalisation)
with Metropolitan and
|Source: JSE top 40|
The city is
In 2008 the city was named as the most entrepreneurial city in South Africa, with the percentage of Capetonians pursuing business opportunities almost three times higher than the national average. Those aged between 18 and 64 were 190% more likely to pursue new business, whilst in Johannesburg, the same demographic group was only 60% more likely than the national average to pursue a new business.
With the highest number of successful information technology companies in Africa, Cape Town is an important centre for the industry on the continent. This includes an increasing number of companies in the space industry. Growing at an annual rate of 8.5% and an estimated worth of R77 billion in 2010, nationwide the high tech industry in Cape Town is becoming increasingly important to the city's economy. A number of entrepreneurship initiatives and universities hosting technology startups such as Jumo, Yoco, Aerobotics, Luno, Rain telecommunication and The Sun Exchange are located in the city.
The city has the largest film industry in the Southern Hemisphere generating R5 billion (US$476.19 million) in revenue and providing an estimated 6,058 direct and 2,502 indirect jobs in 2013. Much of the industry is based out of the Cape Town Film Studios.
Most companies headquartered in the city are insurance companies, retail groups, publishers, design houses, fashion designers, shipping companies, petrochemical companies, architects and advertising agencies.
Other notable companies include
The city of Cape Town's Gini coefficient of 0.58 is lower than South Africa's Gini coefficient of 0.7 making it more equal than the rest of the country or any other major South Africa city although still highly unequal by international standards. Between 2001 and 2010 the city's Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality, improved by dropping from 0.59 in 2007 to 0.57 in 2010 only to increase to 0.58 by 2017.
The Western Cape is a highly important tourist region in South Africa; the tourism industry accounts for 9.8% of the GDP of the province and employs 9.6% of the province's workforce. In 2010, over 1.5 million international tourists visited the area.
Many tourists also visit Cape Town's beaches, which are popular with local residents. It is possible to visit several different beaches in the same day, each with a different setting and atmosphere. Both coasts are popular, although the beaches in affluent
The city has several notable cultural attractions. The
The most popular areas for visitors to stay include Camps Bay,
The City of Cape Town works closely with Cape Town Tourism to promote the city both locally and internationally. The primary focus of Cape Town Tourism is to represent Cape Town as a tourist destination.
Infrastructure and services
Most goods are handled through the Port of Cape Town or
Cape Town has four major commercial nodes, with Cape Town Central Business District containing the majority of job opportunities and office space.[
- The Alexandra Hospital is a specialist mental health care hospital in Cape Town, it provides care for complex mental health issues and intellectual disability.
- Groote Schuur Hospital is a large, government-funded, teaching hospital situated on the slopes of Devil's Peak. It was founded in 1938 and is famous for being the institution where the first human-to-human heart transplant took place. Groote Schuur is the chief academic hospital of the University of Cape Town's medical school, providing tertiary care and instruction in all the major branches of medicine. The hospital underwent major extension in 1984 when two new wings were added.
- The Hottentots Holland Hospital, also known as Helderberg Hospital, is a district hospital for the Helderberg basin located in Somerset West, and also serves surrounding areas in the Overberg district.
- Vergelegen Medi-clinic – Private hospital in Somerset West
Public primary and secondary schools in Cape Town are run by the Western Cape Education Department. This provincial department is divided into seven districts; four of these are "Metropole" districts – Metropole Central, North, South, and East – which cover various areas of the city. There are also many private schools, both religious and secular. Cape Town has a well-developed higher system of public universities. Cape Town is served by three public universities: the University of Cape Town (UCT), the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Stellenbosch University, while not based in the city itself, has its main campus and administrative section 50 kilometres from the City Bowl and has additional campuses, such as the Tygerberg Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Bellville Business Park within the city.
Both the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University are leading universities in South Africa. This is due in large part to substantial financial contributions made to these institutions by both the public and private sector. UCT is an English-language tuition institution. It has over 21,000 students and has an MBA programme that was ranked 51st by the Financial Times in 2006. It is also the top-ranked university in Africa, being the only African university to make the world's Top 200 university list at number 146. Since the African National Congress has become the country's ruling party, some restructuring of Western Cape universities has taken place and as such, traditionally non-white universities have seen increased financing, which has evidently benefitted the University of the Western Cape.
The Cape Peninsula University of Technology was formed on 1 January 2005, when two separate institutions –
Water crisis of 2017 to 2018
The Cape Town water crisis of 2017 to 2018 was a period of severe water shortage in the Western Cape region, most notably affecting the City of Cape Town. While dam water levels had been declining since 2015, the Cape Town water crisis peaked during mid-2017 to mid-2018 when water levels hovered between 15 and 30 percent of total dam capacity.
In late 2017, there were first mentions of plans for "Day Zero", a shorthand reference for the day when the water level of the major dams supplying the city could fall below 13.5 percent. "Day Zero" would mark the start of Level 7 water restrictions, when municipal water supplies would be largely switched off and it was envisioned that residents could have to queue for their daily ration of water. If this had occurred, it would have made the City of Cape Town the first major city in the world to run out of water.
The city of Cape Town implemented significant water restrictions in a bid to curb water usage, and succeeded in reducing its daily water usage by more than half to around 500 million litres (130,000,000 US gal) per day in March 2018. The fall in water usage led the city to postpone its estimate for "Day Zero", and strong rains starting in June 2018 led to dam levels recovering. In September 2018, with dam levels close to 70 percent, the city began easing water restrictions, indicating that the worst of the water crisis was over. Good rains in 2020 effectively broke the drought and resulting water shortage when dam levels reached 95 percent. Concerns have been raised, however, that unsustainble demand and limited water supply could result in future drought events.
Cape Town International Airport serves both domestic and international flights. It is the second-largest airport in South Africa and serves as a major gateway for travelers to the Cape region. Cape Town has regularly scheduled services to Southern Africa, East Africa, Mauritius, Middle East, Far East, Europe and the United States as well as eleven domestic destinations. Cape Town International Airport opened a brand new central terminal building that was developed to handle an expected increase in air traffic as tourism numbers increased in the lead-up to the tournament of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Other renovations include several large new parking garages, a revamped domestic departure terminal, a new Bus Rapid Transit system station and a new double-decker road system. The airport's cargo facilities are also being expanded and several large empty lots are being developed into office space and hotels.
Cape Town is one of five internationally recognised
Cape Town has a long tradition as a port city. The Port of Cape Town, the city's main port, is in Table Bay directly to the north of the CBD. The port is a hub for ships in the southern Atlantic: it is located along one of the busiest shipping corridors in the world, and acts as a stopover point for goods en route to or from Latin America and Asia. It is also an entry point into the South African market. It is the second-busiest container port in South Africa after Durban. In 2004, it handled 3,161 ships and 9.2 million tonnes of cargo.
Simon's Town Harbour on the False Bay coast of the Cape Peninsula is the main operational base of the South African Navy.
Until the 1970s the city was served by the
The cargo vessel M/V Helena, under AW Shipping Management, takes a limited number of passengers, between Cape Town and St Helena and Ascension Island on its voyages. Multiple vessels also take passengers to and from Tristan da Cunha, inaccessible by aircraft, to and from Cape Town. In addition NSB Niederelbe Schiffahrtsgesellschaft takes passengers on its cargo service to the Canary Islands and Hamburg, Germany.
Cape Town is the origin of three
There are also a number of
Of the three-digit routes, the
Cape Town, like most South African cities, uses Metropolitan or "M" routes for important intra-city routes, a layer below National (N) roads and Regional (R) routes. Each city's M roads are independently numbered. Most are at-grade roads. The M3 splits from the N2 and runs to the south along the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, connecting the City Bowl with Muizenberg. Except for a section between Rondebosch and Newlands that has at-grade intersections, this route is a highway. The M5 splits from the N1 further east than the M3, and links the Cape Flats to the CBD. It is a highway as far as the interchange with the M68 at Ottery, before continuing as an at-grade road. Cape Town has the worst traffic congestion in South Africa.
Golden Arrow Bus Services operates scheduled bus services in the Cape Town metropolitan area. Several companies run long-distance bus services from Cape Town to the other cities in South Africa.
Cape Town has a public transport system in about 10% of the city, running north to south along the west coastline of the city, comprising Phase 1 of the IRT system. This is known as the MyCiTi service.
MyCiTi Phase 1 includes services linking the Airport to the Cape Town inner city, as well as the following areas:
The MyCiTi N2 Express service consists of two routes each linking the Cape Town inner city and Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain on the Cape Flats.
The service use high floor articulated and standard size buses in dedicated busways, low floor articulated and standard size buses on the N2 Express service, and smaller 9 m (30 ft)
Cape Town has taxis as well as e-hailing services such as Uber. Taxis are either
Cape Town metered taxi cabs mostly operate in the city bowl, suburbs and Cape Town International Airport areas. Large companies that operate fleets of cabs can be reached by phone and are cheaper than the single operators that apply for hire from taxi ranks and
Minibus taxis are the standard form of transport for the majority of the population who cannot afford private vehicles. Although essential, these taxis are often poorly maintained and are frequently not road-worthy. These taxis make frequent unscheduled stops to pick up passengers, which can cause accidents. With the high demand for transport by the working class of South Africa, minibus taxis are often filled over their legal passenger allowance. Minibuses are generally owned and operated in fleets.
Cape Town is noted for its architectural heritage, with the highest density of
The city also encloses the 36 hectare Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden that contains protected natural forest and fynbos along with a variety of animals and birds. There are over 7,000 species in cultivation at Kirstenbosch, including many rare and threatened species of the Cape Floristic Region. In 2004 this Region, including Kirstenbosch, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Whale watching is popular amongst tourists: southern right whales and humpback whales are seen off the coast during the breeding season (August to November) and Bryde's whales and orca can be seen any time of the year. The nearby town of Hermanus is known for its Whale Festival, but whales can also be seen in False Bay. Heaviside's dolphins are endemic to the area and can be seen from the coast north of Cape Town; dusky dolphins live along the same coast and can occasionally be seen from the ferry to Robben Island.
The only complete windmill in South Africa is Mostert's Mill, Mowbray. It was built in 1796 and restored in 1935 and again in 1995.
Food originating from or synonymous with Cape Town includes the savoury sweet spiced meat dish
Several newspapers, magazines and printing facilities have their offices in the city.
Cape Town has many local community
Cape Town is a centre for major broadcast media with several radio stations that only broadcast within the city.
The SABC has a small presence in the city, with satellite studios located at Sea Point. e.tv has a greater presence, with a large complex located at Longkloof Studios in Gardens. M-Net is not well represented with infrastructure within the city. Cape Town TV is a local TV station, supported by numerous organisation and focusing mostly on documentaries. Numerous productions companies and their support industries are located in the city, mostly supporting the production of overseas commercials, model shoots, TV-series and movies. The local media infrastructure remains primarily in Johannesburg.
Sport and recreation
Cape Town's most popular sports by participation are
Cape Town has had Olympic aspirations. For example, in 1996, Cape Town was one of the five candidate cities shortlisted by the
The city of Cape Town has vast experience in hosting major national and international sports events. The
There are several golf courses in Cape Town. The Clovelly Country Club and Metropolitan Golf Club are two of the best Golf Courses in Cape Town both offering superb views while playing the 18 holes.
The coastline of Cape Town is relatively long, and the varied exposure to weather conditions makes it fairly common for water conditions to be conducive to recreational scuba diving at some part of the city's coast. There is considerable variation in the underwater environment and regional ecology as there are dive sites on reefs and wrecks on both sides of the Cape Peninsula and False Bay, split between two coastal marine ecoregions by the Cape Peninsula, and also variable by depth zone.
False Bay is open to the south, and the prevailing open ocean swell arrives from the southwest, so the exposure varies considerably around the coastline. The inshore bathymetry near Cape Point is shallow enough for a moderate amount of refraction of long period swell, but deep enough to have less effect on short period swell, and acts as a filter to pass mainly the longer swell components to the Western shores, although they are significantly attenuated. The eastern shores get more of the open ocean spectrum, and this results in very different swell conditions between the two sides at any given time. The fetch is generally too short for southeasterly winds to produce good surf. There are more than 20 named breaks in False Bay. The north-wester can have a long fetch and can produce large waves, but they may also be associated with local wind and be very poorly sorted. The Atlantic coast is exposed to the full power of the South-westerly swell produced by the westerly winds of the southern ocean, often a long way away, so the swell has time to separate into similar wavelengths, and there are some world class big wave breaks among the named breaks of the Atlantic shore.
- Cape Colony – British colony from 1806 to 1910
- Timeline of Cape Town – Chronological listing of notable events
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- Largest online collection of photos/Videos of the past by HiltonT on Flickr
- Largest online collection of photos/Videos of the past by Etienne du Plessis on Flickr
- Cape Town Historic Society (many photos into past of what things used look like)
- Cape To Durban, how British (1820 Settlers) explorered) (many photos into past of what things used look like)
- Cape Town (Cape of Good Hope) – (Unofficial Index to all resource on the net) The history occurring on its land Relevant Reading Material
- Building of all South African Railways into the interior of the Country – Video
- British Rolay Rolay Tour of South Africa Uncut – Video
- Official website of the City of Cape Town
- Official website of the Western Cape
- Official website of Cape Town Tourism
- Cape Town Tourism Guide website
- 32675806 Cape Town on OpenStreetMap
- 7 Breathtaking Beaches In Cape Town