Cape Town - the oldest city in South Africa was founded by Jan van Riebeeck in 1652, and huddles in the city 'bowl' - that is formed by majestic Table Mountain. Blessed with the most stunning scenery and a pleasant climate, South Africa's "Mother City "has a rich history and culture to go with its fabulous tourist attractions.

Among the top attractions are the wide choice of good restaurants, bars and nightclubs, excellent hotels, craft markets and specialty stores, a lively calendar of dramatic arts and events, superb wine and sandy beaches.

Table Mountain is Cape Town's premier attraction rising 1086m above sea level with magnificent views from its distinctive flat-topped summit. When covered by cloud tumbling over its northern face, it wears its spectacular 'tablecloth', a sight much loved by locals. The summit can be reached by several charted paths of varying difficulty, or via the cable car, which boasts a revolving floor and 360° views over the city. At the top there are short walks, a restaurant and a souvenir shop.

Visible from the summit of Table Mountain is Robben Island, where former-President Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for most of his 27-year imprisonment. The island has served as a sheep farm, a penal settlement, a leper colony, a pauper camp, an infirmary and a lunatic asylum, and was recently proclaimed a World Heritage Site. Trips to the island by modern ferry take in the tiny prison cells (including Mandela?s) as well as other sites of importance.

The city center is best explored on foot. Notable sites include the Castle of Good Hope, the Old Slave Lodge, the National Gallery, Greenmarket Square, eclectic Long Street, the Houses of Parliament and the Company's Gardens.

Connecting the city and harbour is the ambitious Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a multi-billion dollar private development with numerous attractions that include the Two Oceans Aquarium, an IMAX cinema, and a wealth of restaurants, bars and retail stores.

You can take an afternoon tour of the townships of the Cape Flats, where entrenched poverty is juxtaposed with the new hope and energy of South Africa. Visitors will gain a glimpse of the past while experiencing the textures that make up township life ? shebeens (bars), spaza (informal shops), street markets, sangomas (traditional healers), musicians, activists and artists.