April 2013
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Western Cape of South Africa – Part 4

The Western Cape is a province located in the south west of South Africa. The capital of this province is Cape Town. The region that now forms the Western Cape was part of the much larger before 1994. Before the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, it was called the Cape Colony.

National Parks of Western Cape

Table Mountain National Park
• Table Mountain National Park, which is also known as the Cape Peninsula National Park, is a national park in Cape Town in South Africa.
• This national park was declared on May 29, 1998.
• The purpose of this park was to protect the fynbos vegetation which is becoming rare.
• South African National Parks manage this national park.
• Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope are the two important and popular points of this park.
• The park runs approximately north-south along the range of mountains.
• These make up the mountainous spine of the Cape Peninsula, from Signal Hill in the north, through Lion’s Head, Table Mountain, Constantiaberg, Silvermine, the mountains of the southern Peninsula, terminating at Cape Point.
• The park is not a single contiguous area.
• The park is divided into three separate sections, the Table Mountain section, Silvermine-Tokai section and the Cape Point section.

Tankwa Karoo National Park
• Tankwa Karoo National Park is a scientific National Park located near the Northern Cape of South Africa.
• The location of the park places it 70 km due west of Sutherland
• The park is located one of the most dry and waterless regions of South Africe, near the borders of the Western and Northern Cape
• The amount of rainfall that the reserve receives varies per year lies between 50 to 70 mm.
• The temperatures in January are hot, around 39 °C while it is much cooler in July with the average being 5.7 °C.
• Before the reserve was formed, there was some amount of protection, but very limited. A 2 square kilometer patch, the Gamka Mountain Nature Reserve was protected.
• Succulent Karoo, is now a Biodiversity Hotspot, declared by Conservation International along with the Cape Floral Kingdom.
• Over a period of time, the area of Tankwa increased from 260 km² to 1436 km².
• The eastern borders are formed by the Roggeveld Mountains, the western borders by Cederberg, the northern borders by the Kouebokkeveld Mountains and its southern border is the scattered foothills of the Koedoesberge and Klein Roggeveld Mountains, and the Tankwa River
• In the year 1998, 280 km² of sheep farm were sold to the South African National Parks by Conrad Strauss.
• After this, the first set of activity was to reintroduce game that earlier would be there naturally in the area.
• The vegetation in the area is as a very sparse type of shrubland and Dwarf Shrubland.
• There are a large variety of birds in the park
• The birds are most often found here in August to October and some of these birds are the Blackeared Sparrowlark, the Ludwig’s Bustard and the Black-headed Canary.

Other Nature Reserves
• Cederberg Wilderness Area
• De Hoop Nature Reserve
• Great Winterhoek Wilderness Area
• Knysna Elephant Park

Things to Do
• buzzing night-life in Cape Town
• wonderful beaches
• visit to the Cape of Good Hope
• visit the penguins at Boulders Beach
• wine tasting in Paarl or Franschhoek or Robertson, Swartland and Overberg
• trip along the Garden Route
• hiking trails
• largest permanent hedge maze in the world
• a philosophers garden
• unique succulent gardens with the oldest cactus -anno 1910- of South Africa.
• arrangies Kop
• die Vrolijkheid
• rock Climbing
• scuba diving
• diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay
• diving Hermanus
• diving Agulhas and Struisbaai
• diving Mossel Bay
• diving Plettenberg Bay

Activities of the park
• Hiking
• Overnight Trails
• Fishing/extractive diving
• Dog Walking
• Free Guided Walks at Cape Point
• Scuba Diving
• Mountain Biking
• Surfing/Wind Surfing
• Rock/Sport Climbing
• Picnic and Braai areas
• Hang/Paragliding
• Horse Riding

• Platteklip Gorge (north face)
• Nursery Ravine and Skeleton Gorge (the latter two being accessible from Kirstenbosch)
• Silvermine
• The Cape of Good Hope
• The Constantiaberg

Overnight Trails
• The Hoerikwaggo Trail
• The Cape of Good Hope Hiking Trail

Best time to visit / climate

• The interior Karoo has a semi-arid climate.
• It has cold, frosty winters and hot summers with occasional thunderstorms.
• The Garden Route and the Overberg on the south coast have a maritime climate.
• It has cool, moist winters and mild, moist summers.
• Mossel Bay in the Garden Route is considered to have the second mildest climate worldwide.
• This is after Hawaii.
• Thunderstorms are generally rare in the province.
• Extremes of heat and cold are common inland, but rare near the coast.
• Snow is a common winter occurrence on the higher lying ground.
• Frost is relatively rare in coastal areas and many of the heavily cultivated valleys.
• Cape Town International Airport averages: January maximum: 26 °C (min: 16 °C), July maximum: 18 °C (min: 7 °C), annual rainfall: 515mm
• Kirstenbosch, Cape Town annual rainfall: 1395mm
• George averages: January maximum: 25 °C (min: 15 °C), July maximum: 19 °C (min: 7 °C), annual rainfall: 715mm
• Marion Island (Prince Edward Group) averages: January maximum: 10 °C (min: 5 °C), July maximum: 6 °C (min: 1 °C), annual rainfall: 2401mm

Location on Google Maps

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How to get there?

By Plane
• Cape Town’s international airport is the country’s second largest after Johannesburg.
• There is also an airport in George which offers connections to most major cities in South Africa.

By Train
Spoornet operates regular inter-city trains from Cape Town to:
• Johannesburg
• Worcester
• Beaufort West
• Durban
• Kimberley
• Bloemfontein
• Pietermaritzburg
• East London

MetroRail operates frequent commuter trains to towns and suburbs near Cape Town, such as:
• Simon’s Town
• Bellville
• Malmesbury
• Somerset West
• Stellenbosch
• Strand
• Worcester
• Paarl

By Car
The Western Cape is easily accessible from the rest of the country by car.

By Bus
Greyhound offers a plethora of inter-city routes nation-wide.

How to Get around?

By Bus
The main bus companies offer regular services in the Western Cape as does the Baz Bus.

By Car
Car rental is available in Cape Town and in the larger towns.

Some Travel Books on South Africa

South Africa South Africa – Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs & culture The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at tripadvisor.com
Hotels at cape.hotelguide.co.za
Hotels at sa-venues.com
Hotels at hotelclub.com

Blogs / Sites about Western Cape – South Africa

blogs at wikipedia.org
blogs at westerncape.gov.za
blogs at sa-venues.com
blogs and reviews at tripadvisor.in

Images and photos about Western Cape – South Africa

images at westerncape.gov.za
images at wikipedia.org
images at tripadvisor.in
images at sa-venues.com

Videos of about Western Cape – South Africa

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