The ship's approach to Cape Town is an unforgettable sight, arguably one of the most picturesque sheltered harbours in the world. It is situated along the peninsula of the Cape of Good Hope, with the dramatic backdrop of craggy Table Mountain in the distance. Cape Town is the oldest European settlement in all of South Africa and many of the original Dutch buildings remain standing in the town, surrounded by old swaying trees and colourful gardens. There is much to do and see here including: the Cultural History Museum; the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens; and the Castle of Good Hope, built to house the first governors of the Cape Colony and the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, with its restaurants, bars and smart shops.
A cable ride to the top of Table Mountain offers breathtaking views of the town below. Nearby is the dramatic coastal scenery of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point, framed by two oceans - and the Cape Winelands with their mellow old Cape Dutch architecture
Cape Town was founded in 1652 by Jan van Riebeeck as a supply base for the Dutch East India Company and is the oldest city of European origin in South Africa. It remained under Dutch control, aided by the presence, from 1781 to 1795, of a French garrison, until captured by British forces in 1795 during the Napoleonic Wars. The settlement briefly reverted to Dutch control in 1803 and was again occupied by British troops in 1806. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, before the building of the Suez Canal, Cape Town was a major station for ship-provisioning. It became the capital of the British Cape Colony in 1814 and subsequently was made the legislative capital of the Union of South Africa (1910-1961) and the present Republic of South Africa.
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