Affectionately known as the Mother City, Cape Town is South Africa's oldest city. Founded in 1652 by Jan van Riebeeck and his band of Dutch settlers, Cape Town has one of the most dramatic backdrop of flat-topped Table Mountain against the sweep of the Atlantic Ocean. The city was originally developed as a victualling location for Dutch ships sailing to Africa, India, and the Far East. The first permanent European settlement in South Africa, Cape Town quickly outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope. It was the largest city in South Africa until the growth of Johannesburg and Durban.
Cape Town today has a relaxed atmosphere, offering visitors a host of outdoor leisure activities together with all the amenities of a world-class city by the sea. Catch the cable-car up Table Mountain to enjoy a panorama of the city and peninsula, take a ferry to historic Robben Island or drink tea at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. For outdoor lovers, the Cape of Good Hope presents spectacular views over two oceans in all directions or there are numerous hikes and trails all around Cape Town for energetic visitors.