CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Cape Town is a place of wry contrasts, a place where you might encounter an international fashion model, a hippie or a "bergie" (beggar). There are urban black townships and picturesque seascapes. A mix of colonial history, the struggle against apartheid and 20 years of democracy color what Cape Town is today.
Two of the city's most famous attractions are Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and Table Mountain, with an aerial tram to the top. You'll have to buy tickets to take the island ferry or the tram, but many other experiences can be had for free.
SEA POINT PROMENADE
This is the perfect vantage point to see sea gulls, waves crashing onto rocks and miles of Atlantic beaches. With the taste of sea salt in the air, you can walk, jog or sit on a bench to view the Mother City. The promenade offers a temporary art project, art54, with new pieces exhibited from time to time. For exercise lovers, there is a free outdoor gym.
Around the corner, Green Point Urban Park, a 2010 World Cup legacy, offers one of the most biodiverse regions with Wetland Walks and child-friendly spots for picnicking.
The Company's Garden was started in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company, which supplied ships for the spice trade route via the Cape of Good Hope. It's a calm, quiet hideaway from the surrounding busy streets for students, tourists and people who work in the center of Cape Town.
The oak trees that silhouette Government Avenue lead to landmarks like the somber Slave Bell memorial, the Houses of Parliament and the National Gallery (which charges admission).
You can also meet cute and curious squirrels that expect visitors to feed them nuts. Will you by chance spot the particularly aggressive albino squirrel made famous by YouTube and the Company's Garden travel writings?
Visit quaint Kalk Bay, a village with old-fashioned stores, sea-hugging trains and natural harbor. Walk along as waves crash the wharf and see rustic boats and seals that are lazy on land but look elegant in the water. You can meet Afrikaans fishermen, colorful and candid, while locals barter for the catch of the day.
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