Cape Town, alternatively known as the Mother City, Kaapstad and iKapa, is Africa's southernmost metropole and South Africa's oldest city. The Cape Town of today is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city that is fast establishing itself as one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.
Its importance stretches from its role in the political upheavals of the past, its association with great leaders like Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu, medical and other research, education, trade and industry, tourism, sport, biodiversity, eco-sensibility and conservation.
The city is the seat of Parliament and a major new motion picture filming and production hub. It has an internationally acclaimed international airport, a busy seaport and good road and rail infrastructure. Among its attractions are the Cape Point nature reserve, Kirstenbosch botanical gardens, magnificent beaches, the Cape winelands, Vicoria and Alfred Waterfront, the now defunct Robben Island maximum security prison - a World Heritage Site, centres for opera, ballet, theatre, music and art, and world-class shopping, dining, sporting and conferencing facilities.
In the 1990s a lot of emphasis was put on restoration and rehabilitation of the city, while the past few years have seen the gradual repopulation of the CBD, with many office buildings being converted to upmarket residential blocks. Most building activity is now confined to the eastern and northern reaches of the metropole.