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Melkbosstrand is a beautiful seaside town with about 17 000 inhabitants, which lies 28km north of Cape Town on the west coast. The 7 km long, sprawling and fine sand beach is very popular with the Cape Town locals but seldom gets overfilled. For surfers its a paradise here. Many small cafes and restaurants make this wonderfully laid out place an ideal place to stay if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the big metropolis.
The choice of an accommodation (whether guest house or apartment) in the center is particularly recommendable, if you like to explore the city on foot and not necessarily always dependent on a rental car , Especially if you want to visit the numerous restaurants, pubs and clubs in the long street or Kloof Street or at the waterfront in the evening, you are in the city centre especially well cared for.
And if you want to do without a rental car for a variety of reasons, you can easily take a taxi or bus from here. Tour operators (the Tourism Head Office is also in the middle of the city) pick up the customer at the accommodation or you can go short distances to arranged meeting points. There is also the red “topless” bus, where the visitor can get in and out of the bus every hour at a unit price.
Melkbosstrand is located on the west coast of Cape Town and has a panoramic view of the beautiful Table Mountain on South Africa’s Atlantic coast. The village of Melkbosstrand, at the foot of the Blouberg, has become famous because of the fantastic view over the Table Bay and over to the Tafelberg. The most famous postcard view of Cape Town is from here. Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak, Lions Head and Signal Hill frame the city from this perspective. The name Blouberg may be derived from the fact that Table Mountain and Cape Town from Blouberg often appear in a blue haze.
CAPE TOWN AT A GLANCE
At first sight Cape Town seems to be quite small and neatly arranged. The reason for this is because of the massive Table Mountain that surrounds the town centre and seems to hold it like a bowl. Accordingly the terrain between mountain and harbour is called the City Bowl. Here lies some of the oldest parts like Sea Point, Oranjezicht, Tamberskloof, Gardens and the Bo Kaap (Malay Quarters).
The closer they are to Table Mountain, the steeper plots become. In the City Bowl there are, besides shops and offices, a number of tourist attractions like, for instance, the Castle of Good Hope, City Hall, the park of Company’s Garden, the Parliament and many museums. All these attractions can be reached on foot.
GUIDED TOUR TO A LOCAL TOWNSHIP
Khayelitsha is a black township just 30 minutes drive from central Cape Town. This is a real third-world slum with houses constructed from ancient sheets of corrugated iron and pieces of rubbish.
Despite appearances and the obvious poverty of the locals, there is a strong sense of community and a very well-maintained level of security provided by the elders. Visit three houses, the first owned by Goldie, a man with a negligible level of education who makes a living cutting aluminium cans and shaping them into flowers.
The second was a bed-and-breakfast, with even a “bridal suite.” Last, we visited Jenny, who rises at 4:30am each morning to prepare breakfast for all the local children whose parents are unable to provide for them. It was a wonderful, uplifting experience to make contact with these people and to share their experiences and struggles to better themselves.
SHOPPING IN CAPE TOWN
Generally one can do inexpensive shopping in South Africa on account of its undervalued currency and relatively low production costs.
A great variety of jewellery is being made in Cape Town. Many talented goldsmiths and jewellery designers live in the Cape, and their creations cost comparatively little. Textiles are also priceworthy especially leather, sports and outdoor wear. The same applies to antiques, books and wine. In Cape Town there are a number of shopping malls with large clothing stores and many small shops, restaurants, bistros, coffee shops and cinemas.