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 Oranjezicht, Tamboerskloof, 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.
To the north of the Table Bay are the Blouberg Suburbs, Milnerton, Tableview and Bloubergstrand. They all have stunning white beaches and breathtaking views of Table Mountain. But the notorious South Easter wind frequently hits these areas with vicious force.
On both sides of the N1 freeway to Paarl lie the Northern Suburbs. Bellville, Parow and Durbanville, are very similar to Gauteng due to their architectural and landscaping styles and because they are flat. They areas are actually residential areas where immigrants from Gauteng prefer to settle.
The Southern Suburbs east of Table Mountain are first in the Capetonians' favour: Rondebosch, Claremont, Observatory, Mowbray, Newlands, Wynberg, Kenilworth, Bergvliet, Tokai and others. These suburbs are quite far from the sea, but well protected from the wind. In this respect, the quietest area is Constantia. Here one mostly finds parklike plots with luxurious mansions.
At the Atlantic side of the Cape Peninsula lies Hout Bay, Noordhoek and Kommetjie. At the Indian Ocean side lies Simon's Town, Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay and Muizenberg, all with good beaches.
Further suburbs can be found all around False Bay: Somerset-West, Strand and Gordon's Bay. They offer beautiful beaches, but they are far from the centre of town.
Cape Town boasts, like few cities in the world, suburbs of extraordinary beauty. Whoever travels the N2 coming from Cape Town International Airport towards the city centre, also passes the downside of this South African City: For kilometres on end quarters of misery line the road on both sides. The parts of the Cape Flats are Kayelitsha, Crossroads, Nyanga and Langa, where the majority of the population, formerly suppressed by the Apartheid regime, still live under appalling conditions.
Left: Lion's Head with the Kloof Nek Road. On the right Camps Bay, on the left Clifton and Sea Point. Top: City Bowl from Cape Town's harbour.
The conical mountain west of Table Mountain is called "Lion's Head" (apparently because the last Cape lion was shot there in 1923), and the pass between the two mountains is "Kloof Nek". A road leads through Tamboerskloof up to Kloof Nek, where it goes left to the Cableway Station and straight down to Camps Bay and - if continued along the sea - to Hout Bay and Llandudno on the Cape Peninsula, all very popular and likewise expensive parts of the town with beautiful beaches.
Travelling from the City Bowl in a western direction, past the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, you get to the Atlantic Seaboard. Green Point and Sea Point at the foot of "Signal Hill" lie directly at the Atlantic and are characterised by high-rise apartment buildings with innumerable restaurants and bars. There are promenades for leisurely walks, but no beaches for swimming.The coastal road leads further on to Camps Bay. On the way one, comes past Fresnaye, Bantry Bay and Clifton. Here are mainly terribly expensive luxury apartments with stunning seaviews. You find great beaches in secluded rocky bays.