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10 Things you didn’t know about Cape Town

Get ready to volunteer in Cape Town today!

We list the 10 things you don’t know about South Africa’s legislative capital.

  1. Bartholomew Dias set sail from Portugal around the southern tip of Africa to find a sea route to the East and while enduring terrible storms, named the area the Cape of Storms. He later renamed it to Cape of Good Hope to please the king of Portugal.
  2. The English Explorer Sir Francis Drake fondly referred to the Cape as “The fairest Cape in all the circumference of the world”.
  3. The Castle of Good Hope was completed in 1679 and is the oldest building in South Africa.
  4. Malay slaves, brought into the Cape from Java, brought their cuisine and the best-known of all South African cooking styles including samosas, Malay curry and flat breads.
  5. South Africa is the only country in the world where you can order something called monkey gland steak at a restaurant without the risk of a real internal organ being placed before you. It was invented many decades ago by overseas chefs as a pointed insult, aimed at the brash inhabitants of Johannesburg who poured Worcestershire and tomato sauce over everything.
  6. No other country eats as much kingklip (fish) as South Africans do (also known as Congrio, Ling and Rockling in other parts of the southern hemisphere).
  7. The Dom Pedro is a uniquely South African dessert. This popular dessert which is found on most SA menus is made by blending vanilla ice cream with a liquor of your choice – usually whiskey or Kahlua. An indulgent adult milkshake!
  8. Although Cape Town’s Robben Island is most famous for its political prisoners it was not only used as a prison. In the 1840’s the island was chosen as a place to house leprosy patients and the mentally and chronically ill.
  9. During World War 2 Robben Island was used as a training and defence station by the British. The island was fortified and guns were installed as part of the defences for Cape Town.
  10. Cape Town offers township tours on bicycles, offering tourists a unique view of the South African informal settlements and everyday lives.

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