People often ask me why we keep returning year after year to Cape Town and my answer is always the same, because we've not seen everything yet!
"A world in one country" is the way South Africa is often described, but this statement can so easily be attributed to Cape Town alone.
Cape Town is one of the top destinations world-wide for vacations these days and now that South Africa has managed 10 years with relative stability and economic growth, people are rushing to take a look at this magnificent city.
Based in the Southern Hemisphere, its summer months are those of December, January and February; the winter months, June, July and August. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the destination for winter warmth is second to none.
What can you expect to see and do?
Mountains and sea dominate the landscape and shape Cape Town's character.
One of the first ports of call is Table Mountain, which fills the skyline with its impressive edifice and flat-topped surface. Everywhere you go in Cape Town is in the shadow of the Mountain, whose face changes as the sun moves around ? it's something you never get bored of.
In the Waterfront, life teems with award winning restaurants, shops, entertainment, education and accommodation, all amongst a working harbour and docks. Brightly coloured fishing boats, jostle with cruise ships, such as The World.
Life on the ocean wave means boating, surfing, kite surfing, water-skiing, rock pools or just paddling. The sandy, white beaches stretch all the way along two coasts, one on the Indian Ocean, one on the Atlantic Ocean, with something to occupy everyone.
Animal life abounds, both in the wild and in more structured environments. The Two Oceans Aquarium in the Waterfront offers glimpses of the diverse life found off the South African coastline.
Down in the harbour, the seals lounge around in the sun, entertaining the visitors. Bird life is spectacular, from Egrets, Pelicans, Terns, Oyster Catchers, through to Flamingo's and birds of prey.
Away from the coast, wonderful inland towns such as Stellenbosch support a unique wine route, with hundreds of different wine estates. The Cape Dutch houses, with beautiful furniture and an insight into a life no longer with us, bring a whole new meaning to the word museum, whilst tasting of the wines produced on these estates bring us firmly back into the modern day.
Busy holidays, lazy holidays, a combination of the two ? all are on offer in this magical place, whilst the sun shines down with benevolence on a world in one country.
Helen Palmer is the author of the website http://www.magical-cape-town-vacations.com, whose family's love of Cape Town was spawned some 30 years ago, when her aunt moved there to live. Regular visits and a genuine love of travel persuaded Helen to share her passion.