Cape Town: South Africa’s diamond city

Cape Town

Cape Town is the second largest city in South Africa (after Johannesburg), the capital of the Western Cape Province and the legislative capital of South Africa (it is in Cape Town where the parliament of the Republic of South Africa is located).

Located in the southwestern part of the country near the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town is the southernmost city in Africa.

The population of Cape Town exceeds three and a half million people, dominated by colored (about 48%), black (about 31%) and white (about 19%) South Africans. The average age of Cape Town residents is 26 years old. The most common languages spoken in the city are Afrikaans and English.

The history of Cape Town goes back to 1652 when the expedition of Jan van Riebeek founded the first settlement of Europeans at the foot of Table Mountain. In 1679 the Castle of Good Hope, a national monument and the oldest building in South Africa, was built in Cape Town. The city grew successfully, largely due to the port, located in a very convenient bay. Before the discovery of gold and diamonds in the central parts of South Africa in the 19th century, Cape Town was the main city of the region. It was here that the wine industry was actively developing and new territories were being explored by settler farmers. It was here that the Great Trek, the migration of Europeans deep into the continent, began.

It was in Cape Town, on February 11, 1990, a few hours after his release from prison, that Nelson Mandela gave his first public speech in decades, marking the beginning of a new era in South Africa.

Cape Town is characterized by a Mediterranean climate, with warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Temperatures in Cape Town range from 7°C to 18°C in winter and from 16°C to 27°C in summer. The record low winter temperature is -1°C and the highest summer temperature is 42°C.

Cape Town has been dubbed “the most entrepreneurial city in South Africa,” and it is thought that the opportunities for business development here are three times higher than the national average. A serious impetus to the city’s development was given by the World Football Championship in 2010, which caused a real boom in real estate and construction markets.

Most of the major shipbuilding companies in the world have their offices and production units in Cape Town, which is one of the most important ports.

The city has the headquarters of insurance companies, publishers, designers, fashion designers, petrochemical companies, architectural and advertising agencies, the mining industry is rapidly developing.

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Cape Town, with its good climate, rich and varied nature and well-developed infrastructure, is one of the most interesting places for tourists in South Africa.

The Table Mountain National Park, Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope are located right next to the city. Cape Town’s beaches are very popular. Surfing is very popular in the city and the Red Bull Big Wave Africa competition is held every year.

One of Cape Town’s most interesting sights is Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, the historic heart of Cape Town harbor. It was here in 1860 that Prince Alfred, son of Britain’s Queen Victoria, began building the harbor. The first harbor was named after the prince, the second after his mother.

There are many hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment venues.

Also in the Victoria & Alfred (or, as it is often called, VA) area is the Two Oceans Aquarium, which features more than three thousand live marine animals, including sharks, fish, turtles, clams, and penguins. The Aquarium has seven permanent galleries, including Predator Gallery, Atlantic Ocean Gallery, Indian Ocean Gallery, Sea Plants Gallery and others.

A must visit Bo-Kaap, “colorful” district of Cape Town, which is inhabited mostly by the descendants of slaves brought to South Africa from Southeast Asia (hence the second name – the “Malay Quarter”). Here you can see very colorful buildings, winding streets, beautiful Muslim mosques.

A tour of the South African Parliament building will provide an insight into the history of South Africa and its political system. The tour includes a visit to the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.

Cape Town is home to one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world, the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

Cape Town

Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in South Africa. Familiar insofar as each of us has, at least once in our lives, sung in company, “In Cape Town Harbor, with a breach in the side. “. And unfamiliar because even with the beginning of Russian tourism in South Africa, not everyone is drawn that far. As the name implies, Cape Town is located near the Cape, which is considered the southernmost point of the continent. Since the time of Vasco da Gama, every navigator who rounded the Cape of Good Hope considered it his duty to mark this achievement on shore. Our sailors were once regular visitors here – in part, that’s why the city has now become a sister city of St. Petersburg.

Save on a trip to Cape Town!

Video: Cape Town


Cape Town’s main attraction is the famous Table Mountain, one of the most recognizable in the world. Cape Town has a lot to see and do: the largest aquarium in the southern hemisphere, the oldest buildings in South Africa, and the famous Cape Town Stadium, which in 2010 hosted many matches of the World Cup, the biggest and noisiest soccer game in the world.

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Cape Town developed as a staging post for Dutch ships en route from Europe to East Africa, India and other parts of Asia and played a leading role in that capacity for more than 200 years, until the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Cape Town, founded on April 6, 1652, by colonists under Jan van Riebeek, was the first permanent European settlement in sub-Saharan Africa. Cape Town quickly became more than just a staging post, and before the rapid growth of Johannesburg and Durban it was South Africa’s largest city.

View of Cape Town from the sea View of Cape Town from Table Mountain


There is no reliable information about when the first human settlements appeared here. The earliest archaeological finds (Pierce Cave, near Fish Hoek) dates back to about 12,000 years ago. Little is known about the early history of this region. The first written evidence dates only to 1486, when the Portuguese Bartolomeu Dias visited the Cape of Good Hope. Vasco da Gama also rounded the Cape in 1497, but regular contact with Europeans began only after the arrival of Ribeck in 1652. Ribeck worked for the Dutch East India Company and had to provide anchorage for its ships en route to Europe. The tip of South Africa at the time was inhabited primarily by the Hottentots, with the Khosa, a people of the Bantu family, coming in from the east.

In the initial period, the city grew slowly because of the lack of labor. To make up for it, the Dutch began importing slaves from Indonesia and Madagascar. Many of these slaves were integrated into colonial society, and the descendants of mixed marriages of Indonesians, Europeans, and locals formed several distinct ethnic groups called “coloreds,” with the Cape Coloreds standing out as a special community.

Colorful houses on Cape Town beach are a popular subject for postcards

In 1795, British troops captured the city after the Battle of Maysenberg. Under the terms of a peace treaty concluded after the war in 1803, Capstad was returned to the Dutch, but in the same year the conflict resumed and in 1806 the British recaptured Kaap after the Battle of Blauberg. By the peace treaty of 1814 the region became an integral part of the British Empire. The territory subject to the British grew and the Cape Colony was established, with Cape Town as its capital.

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Sunset over City Hall

The discovery of diamond deposits in West Griqualand and gold deposits on the Witwatersrand (near what is now Johannesburg) in 1869 triggered a gold rush and the rapid growth of Johannesburg through the influx of immigrants. In addition, friction began between the Boer states, created during the Great Trek and experiencing the influx of foreigners-Itlanders), and the British colonial administration. This conflict culminated in the Anglo-Boer War. Having defeated the Boer states (the Orange Republic and Transvaal) and having consolidated control over gold and diamond mining, the British merged the Boer republics with the Cape Colony and the British possession of Natal, creating the Union of South Africa. The SSA was proclaimed in 1910 and Cape Town became its legislative capital, a function it retained even after the Republic of South Africa was created in 1961.

Cape Town in 1870

In 1948 the National Party won the election, promising to introduce racial segregation, known as apartheid. Under the Group Areas Act, suburbs with a mixed population were to be either cleared of “illegally” residents or demolished altogether. Cape Town’s Sixth Ward, demolished in 1965, received a great deal of publicity in connection with this campaign. Because the area was proclaimed a white neighborhood, more than 60,000 black residents were forcibly evicted. During the apartheid era, hiring preference in Cape Town was legally given to people of color over blacks.

Many anti-apartheid fighters lived in Cape Town; some of them (including Nelson Mandela) were later imprisoned on Robben Island, 10 kilometers off the Cape Town coast. On February 11, 1990, a few hours after his release from prison, Mandela made his famous speech standing on the balcony of Cape Town City Hall. Since apartheid was abolished in 1994, Cape Town has faced many problems, including HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and crime, including drug-related crime. In the meantime, the city’s economy has boomed, especially with tourism and a booming real estate market.

Geographic location

The center of Cape Town is located on the northern edge of the Cape Peninsula. Table Mountain provides a picturesque backdrop to the City Bowl, rising more than a thousand meters above sea level. It is surrounded by almost sheer cliffs, such as Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head. Sometimes a thin cloud, sometimes called a “tablecloth,” forms over the mountain. The peninsula itself is a small mountain range (more than 700 peaks are over 300 m high) and ends at Cape Point. Many of Cape Town’s suburbs are located on the large Cape Flats plain, which connects the peninsula to the mainland. Cape Flats consist mainly of sandy soils and were formerly a shoal: formerly Table Mountain was an island.

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According to the most recent South African Census of 2001, Cape Town had a population of 2,893,251 (about 7% of the country’s population). There were 759,767 households, of which 87.4% had sewage, 94.4% lived in more or less sanitary conditions with garbage disposal and weekly toilet cleaning. 80.1% of households used electricity as their primary means of energy. Similar statistics are collected in South Africa, where much of the population, especially the black population, still lives in rather deplorable conditions (this is especially true of recent migrants from villages to cities and impoverished white farmers after the black majority came to power). 16.1% of households had one head of household, reflecting the impact of the AIDS epidemic.

Cape Town’s population dynamics, like those of South Africa as a whole, are complex and contradictory, varying widely across racial and linguistic groups. In general, the city has a high birth rate, especially among blacks and colored people, but it is lower than the national average. At the same time, the mortality rate is also very high. The raging AIDS epidemic, especially in the city’s slums, and high crime rates with a significant number of gun deaths make a particular contribution to the death rate. The city also has a significant migration influx of marginalized black migrants from the hinterland of South Africa and other African countries.

Racial Composition

Cape Town is notable for its racially diverse population, but also for the conflicting, contradictory relations between major racial and ethnic groups that traditionally compete with one another for the city’s rather limited economic resources. As in the U.S., race relations have been characterized in the past by overt, legislated racism that has now taken an implicit form (discrimination, reverse discrimination, residential segregation, etc.)


Racially, the city is relatively dominated by so-called people of color – descendants from interracial contacts of Asians (mostly imported as Malay domestic servants and slaves), whites (Dutch, Germans and partly Portuguese) and Negroes. Coloreds make up 48.13% of the population (1.393 million). Cape Town is the cultural capital of the colored population, whose native language is Afrikaans.


Next in size is the black population. Cape Town’s Black population is 31.0% (897,000), far lower than the national total (79%). The majority of blacks are recent migrants from tribal villages in the Northwest as well as natives of other, even less prosperous regions of Africa. Since blacks came to power after 1994, one of the goals of modern government has been to increase the proportion of blacks in the city and give them cultural, political, and economic leverage.

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The third largest racial component of Cape Town is white, comprising 18.75% of the population (542,000). Their proportion in the city is almost double that of the country as a whole (10%), but whites are heterogeneous in origin and language. In the seaside areas (especially on the Cape), the bulk of the population is of British descent and speaks English. They are joined by relatively recent migrants from Europe (including Russians, Lithuanians, Portuguese, etc.) The other significant proportion of whites in the city are descendants of 17th and 18th century Dutch and German settlers (Afrikaners or Boers) who speak Afrikaans. The proportion and number of whites in the city has decreased considerably in the last 40 years, and especially in the last decade, due to their intense emigration to the USA, Australia, and Great Britain and their unwillingness to accept the loss of political power in South Africa, but Cape Town, because of its geographical position and long history, is still favorable, to a considerable extent and more than other South African cities, to preserve at least a part of the white population in the future.

Thunderstorm over the city

Interesting Information

And in the cellars of Vaughan Johnson`s Wine Shop you will find over 500 different brands of South African wines. The owner is happy to advise you which wine to choose, its history and its virtues. Of course, if you are in Cape Town you should also take a trip along the Wine Route to see the South African wineries of Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek and Constantia. The tradition of winemaking here dates back to the time of the first Dutch settlers. The first “cape” wine was ceremonially tasted in February 1659. Later, two hundred Huguenots, who had fled to South Africa from religious persecution, brought with them the secrets of the famous French wines. The local climatic conditions were so suitable for the cultivation of special “wine” varieties of grapes that wine production became one of the main occupations of the local farmers. Incidentally, Napoleon was very fond of Cap wine. You will surely enjoy visiting several wineries, learning about the production process and, of course, tasting them.

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