When thinking of the words to describe Cape Town and the Western Cape, ‘unique’ is usually at the top of my list. Nowhere else compares to our beautiful home. From the diversity of Cape Town’s cultures, to the impressive displays that Mother Nature created, living in this city is truly a blessing. To celebrate the Cape’s uniqueness, here are 10 things that are quintessentially Western Cape:

1. Penguins

Boulders Beach is one of the five breeding colonies for African penguins in the Western Cape. This beach is the ideal spot to observe these little waddlers in their natural habitat. From their charismatic tuxedos to their donkey-like braying sounds, the African penguin is a charming Cape Town character.


View this post on Instagram


And off they go! Another scene from today’s African Penguin release at Stony Point in Betty’s Bay ๐Ÿง๐Ÿ“ธ: @emmastrumpman #SANCCOB #sanccobsavesseabirds #seabirdrehab #marineconservation #africanpenguin #endangeredspecies #adoptapenguin #volunteer #stonypoint

A post shared by SANCCOB (@sanccob) on

2. Fynbos

The fynbos vegetation that envelops Table Mountain National Park is the epitome of unique. With 9 000 species, 6 200 of which are endemic to South Africa, fynbos is a real gem of the Cape. Getting its name from the Cape Dutch word for “fine bush”, fynbos refers to all the plants associated with the mountains of the Cape region. Fynbos looks unimpressive from far but up close, these plants are laden with colours. If you would like to learn more about this diverse vegetation, book a foraging experience with Veld and Sea.

3. Rooibos

Our beloved rooibos. This herbal deliciousness is a South African favourite. Grown in the Cederberg, rooibos is not only used for warm beverage brewing purposes. The flavour of rooibos has become very popular in Cape Town’s gin scene, as well as in various baked good products. Even the beauty industry is utilizing the healing properties of the traditional red bush. Cape Town can be proud of the delicious, herbal plant.

4. The gatsby and koesister

It’s no secret that the Cape Town’s food scene is laden with delicious dishes. What really makes it so unique, however, is the authentic foods. The gatsby and koesister, for example, are two quintessentially Cape Town dishes. If you’re visiting the Mother City, your trip wouldn’t be complete without trying one of these.

5. The Cape Doctor

The Cape Doctor is easily a Capetonian’s favourite thing to complain about. The south easterly wind is enough to drive anyone mad, but it actually benefits our city in many ways. The Cape Doctor clears away smog, brings about the iconic Table Cloth on Table Mountain and creates an epic time on the water for the city’s kite surfers. While the wind can get hectic, it’s Mother Nature’s way of giving Capetonians a breath of fresh air.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Nadya Brand-Benkenstein (@nadyabrand) on

6. Mountains, mountains and more mountains

Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostles are some of the iconic mountains encompassing the city of Cape Town. Our beautiful peaks are a playground for avid hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners. The view from the top of these magnificent mountains will literally take your breath away but the juice is well-worth the squeeze.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by M a u i ๐Ÿฌ (@mauicoolasmilk) on

7. Cape Winelands

The Cape has a rich, historical love affair with fermented grapes. The winelands are Cape Town’s pride and joy. The golden child of the Cape, if you will. Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Paarl are the front-runners for wine country, but if you venture a bit further to Robertson, all your wine prayers will be answered. The picturesque town is all about wine. From well-known wineries, to the secret gems of the valley, Robertson is a classic Cape Winelands destination.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Verushka Ramasami-SpiceGoddess (@spicegoddess143) on


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Mont Blois Wine Estate (@montbloiswines) on

8. Two oceans

From the mountains, to winelands, to the ocean, Cape Town has something for everyone. Our coastline borders two of the world’s oceans, the Indian and Atlantic Ocean. The diversity of marine life makes our waters an underwater paradise. The kelp forests are well-worth exploring if you can brave the Atlantic. If however, the underwater world makes you feel claustrophobic, then try surfing at Muizenberg. The waters are somewhat warmer than the chilly Atlantic seaboard side. If staying land-based is more your thing, visit Cape Agulhas, and see where the two oceans officially meet.

9. Whale watching

Whale watching is an annual spectacle in the whale-haven that is Hermanus. Each year, the Southern Right whales grace us land-dwellers with their presence, typically between June and December. Hermanus has been internationally recognised as one of the world’s best spots to watch these gentle ocean giants frolic in the waters. If you missed the annual Whale Festival, you still have time to spot these animals before they move off once again.

10. Street Art

Cape Town is a hub of creativity. In 2014 our city was recognised as the World Design Capital. Today, many buildings across Cape Town have been transformed into the canvases of some of the most talented street artists. One-of-a-kind, storey-high murals celebrating a plethora of different styles are located all around Salt River. Woodstock and the rest of the CBD surrounds are bursting with authentic, Capetonian street art.

Image: Pixabay

Article written by

Imogen Searra