Western Cape, South Africa

This Expedition reveals the beauties of the Western Cape in South Africa, from dramatic coastlines to iconic Table Mountain.

This story was created for the Google Expeditions project by ePublishing Partners, now available on Google Arts & Culture

View from Table Mountain

Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa.

It is a significant tourist attraction, with many visitors using the cableway or hiking to the top. The mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park and is one of the 7 Wonders of Nature.

Table Bay

This is a natural bay on the Atlantic Ocean overlooked by Cape Town and is at the northern end of the Cape Peninsula, stretching south to the Cape of Good Hope. It was named as a result of being situated at the foot of Table Mountain.

Robben Island

Robben Island is both a South African National Heritage Site as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Island was, "home" to one of the world's most famous prisoners, presidents and leader, Nelson Mandela. He was imprisoned there for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheid.

The Island, just 9 km offshore from Cape Town, was dubbed "Robben"(the Dutch word for seal) Island by early settlers, due to the seal population at the time.

Cape of Good Hope

The Cape of Good Hope is located within Table Mountain National Park and is on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula.


The Cape of Good Hope is home to at least 250 species of birds including one of the two mainland colonies of African penguins. Other animals seen around the Cape include baboons, bontebok, eland, red hartebeest, and Cape mountain zebra. It's also a great area for whale watching.

Rocky headlands of Cape of Good Hope

The Cape of Good Hope was famous in seafaring days as the point where a ship begins to travel more eastward than southward. It is one of the great capes of the South Atlantic Ocean. Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias, who rounded the cape in 1488, originally named the cape “Cabo das Tormentas” which means “Cape of Storms.”

Lion's Head

Lion's Head forms part of the Table Mountain range and provides a scenic backdrop to the City of Cape Town. Lion's Head is best known for its stunning views of the Mother City and Table Bay on one side, and the Atlantic shoreline on the other. 

The walk up to the top is enjoyed by many hikers, daily and worth all the effort. Add a little mystery to the walk by tackling it during full moon and be rewarded with a glittering view of Cape Town by night.

Fog over Table Mountain

The cloud over Table Mountain is also known as the Tablecloth. It is formed when a south-easterly wind is directed up the mountain's slopes into colder air. The moisture then condenses to form Table Mountain covering cloud.

Signal Hill

Signal Hill is a prominent landmark from which the historic noon gun is fired, and forms the “lion’s body” for the adjacent Lion’s Head mountaintop. There are spectacular views across Table Bay harbour, the central city and the Atlantic Ocean.

Signal Hill is named for its original use: the practice of flying signal flags to communicate with nearby ships, and later for the daily firing of the famous Noon Gun.

West Coast National Park

The park lies approximately 120 km north of Cape Town and is well known for its bird life and for the spring flowers which occur in the months from August to October.


Known as the Geelbek hike, one can take a walk along the boardwalk to the salt marshes in West Coast National Park. The boardwalk allows you to have a great view of the aquatic wading birds in addition to protecting the fragile ecosystem.

Salt Marsh

The Langebaan salt marshes are unique in that no river feeds into the lagoon. These salt marshes constitute approximately 32% of the entire saltmarsh habitat in South Africa, the largest in the Country.

Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach is located on the coast just north of Cape Town city center and is known for its great views of Table Mountain.

A View of Table Mountain

Many visitors come to Sunset Beach for a great view of Table Mountain against the ocean. The mountain is a significant tourist attraction. The mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park and is one of the 7 Wonders of Nature. 

Kite Surfing

Kitesurfing is a water sport that combines snowboarding,  wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, skateboarding and gymnastics into one extreme sport. A kitesurfer will use the power of the of wind with a large power kite to propel themselves across the water. 

This is a very popular sport in Cape Town due to the winds and hundreds of kites can be seen on the beaches in Blouberg on a windy day in the Mother City.

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

Situated about 10km south-east of Stellenbosch, the mountains are popular with hiking and mountain biking enthusiasts. During the colder months, snow can sometime be seen on the higher peaks.

Hottentots-Holland Mountains

This mountain range forms part of the Cape Fold Belt: a barrier between the Cape Town Metropole and the Overberg Coast line. The mountainous trails are the only way to see the wildflowers and natural pools. The more adventurous can enjoy a canopy tour through the previously inaccessible and pristine World Heritage site.


Fynbos is a small belt of natural vegetation found in the Western Cape. The Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest of the six world’s floral kingdoms, but is the richest per unit of area.

Clifton Beach

Also known as Millionaires Row, Clifton's four fashionable beaches are home to some of the most sought-after real estate in the country. Each beach is popular with different groups of people.

Granite Boulders and Sand

Large falls of granite boulders divide the beaches into four quite distinct areas. The pure white granite sand gives the beach a striking look against the backdrop of the Lion's Head and the Twelve Apostles.

View of Lion's Head

There is a particularly nice  view of Lion’s Head from the Clifton Beaches. Lion’s Head forms part of the Table Mountain range. 

The Atlantic Ocean

The world’s second largest ocean, following the Pacific Ocean. These waters are safe to swim in but are very cold, no matter what time of the year. It's very popular with the surfers.

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