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  • Last Updated: 25th July 2013

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Cape Town - Lifestyle & Culture

Culture

District Six Museum

Commemorating the history of a township that was wiped from the map in the apartheid era (when the National Party decreed the area for ‘whites only’), this excellent museum is trying to rebuild this community’s heritage, and, in doing so, tells a harrowing tale.

Historical Mile

Home to the post house (Het Posthuys), built by the Dutch not long after the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck in the Cape in 1652. A fascinating glimpse into the country’s early colonial history.

Nearby, the Rhodes Cottage Museum was once the private retreat of Cecil Rhodes, a prominent figure in the early development of Southern Africa and a ruthless empire builder.

Iziko South African Museum

With almost two million cultural items in its vast collection, the museum traces South Africa’s history from the fossil records to the present day. Along the way the collection takes in Stone Age tools, life-size casts of marine creatures, clothing, machinery, flora and fauna... a one-stop introduction to this fascinating country, housed in a glorious white, Victorian villa.

South African National Art Gallery

With thousands of paintings, from all epochs and major art movements, the gallery is strongest on African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art dating from the colonial to the modern, with paintings, photography, sculpture, architecture, beadwork, textiles and works on paper. Other interesting galleries (focusing on new and emerging talent) can be found at the Bell-Roberts Contemporary Art Gallery and the always-interesting Chelsea Gallery.

Irma Stern Museum and Art Gallery

The gallery hosts a permanent exhibition of the South African Expressionist Stern’s, paintings, drawings, ceramics and sculpture, as well as her private collection of early European furniture and African and Oriental art.

Nightlife

Cape Town knows how to party. Long Street is the epicentre of the city’s vibrant after dark activities - one glittering procession of bars, clubs, cafes and entertainment venues.

This city centre thoroughfare is home to sociable spaces such as Mama Africa’s African themed restaurant, the Zula Sound Experience’s colourful African floorshows and super clubs such as The Lounge and Joburg, pumping out dance tunes all night long.

Elsewhere, Green Point is currently giving the city centre a run for its money. Here, between Table Bay, Signal Hill, and the V&A Waterfront is the Cape Town Stadium, which hosted the World Cup, and, alongside, you’ll find swanky bars, clubs and restaurants aplenty attracting South Africa’s beautiful people.

The Obs (home to South Africa’s excellent Observatory) is a bo-ho suburb of cool clubs, cocktail bars and trendy live music venues. All the night action is centred on Lower Main Road, with bars playing a vibrant soundtrack of Afro Latin, folk and jazz.

Grand West Casino

For thrills of a different nature, the Grand West Casino offers poker and black jack tables, restaurants, ice-skating and ten-pin bowling. You can also catch a movie at the cinema or enjoy a meal at any of the many restaurants. A great, family-friendly entertainment complex all under the one roof.

Theatres

South Africa’s theatre scene is booming. From the Artscape theatre complex in the centre, home to ballet and opera, to the cabaret of Shortmarket Street’s On Broadway, there’s always something going on. Theatre on the Bay, in Camps Bay, stages contemporary fare, while Maynardville Open Air Theatre, a South African institution, boasts a seasonal programme of al fresco Shakespeare, comedy, and classics. The Baxter Theatre is the place to head for classical music recitals and comedy and roots music performances.