Lion’s Head forms part of the iconic Table Mountain range near Cape Town. However, Lion’s Head does not get its name from being frequented by big cats. During the 17th century, Dutch settlers named the peak "Leeuwen Kop" (Lion’s Head) and its adjacent summit Leeuwen Staart (Lion’s Tail, today known as Signal Hill). Settlers thought the space between the two peaks resembled a crouching lion. On a side note, two couples get married atop Table Mountain’s flat peak every month, according to Cape Town magazine.
Cape Town was almost turned into a convict colony by the British government. However, Charles B. Adderley, a member of the British parliament, successfully thwarted the plan. To honor him, the city’s main road was renamed Adderley Street in 1850. The street is famous for its flower sellers and was originally made entirely from wooden blocks. You can still spot remnants of the wood toward the upper end of the street as your stroll among the colorful flower stalls.
South Africa has 19,004 miles of railway track, which makes up 80 percent of Africa's entire rail infrastructure. Guests aboard Rovos Rail are immersed in luxury of as they meander through the spectacular countryside. The trains are true pieces of history. The oldest engine in the fleet is also the smallest—439 TIFFANY named after owner Rohan Vos' youngest daughter. It is one of 40 Class 6 steam locomotives manufactured by Dubs & Co. in 1893. Rovos also has a private station at Capital Park, Pretoria. The once bustling hub in the old Transvaal is now the headquarters for Rovos Rail. The colonial-style railway station serves as the new departure or arrival point for all train journeys and has a small railway museum.
Believed to have originated in Cape Town, bobotie (ba-boor-tea) has been likened to both the English's shepherd's pie (but better, locals claim) and the Greeks' moussaka. This national dish of South Africa is a mix of fruit and curried minced meat, traditionally mutton and pork, but today more commonly made with beef or lamb. It is topped off with a creamy, golden eggy crust and served with rice and chutney. Similar to an Indonesian dish called bobotok, the recipe first appeared in a Dutch cookbook from the South African Cape in 1609.
The Noon Gun
Visitors to Cape Town might be startled by a loud boom around midday. There is no cause for alarm, this is just Cape Town's longest tradition: the Noon Gun, which is actually not a gun, but a pair of cannons (one acts as a backup). Located at Signal Hill's Lion Battery, the British brought the cannons to the city during their invasion in 1795, and it is believed that they were used in the Battle of Muizenberg. Beginning around 1806, the cannons were used as time signals for ships anchored in the harbor, and residents grew to rely on them as a means of telling the correct time. Back then, they were fired four times—day, night, morning and afternoon. You can visit the site to watch as the canons are loaded and fired, however, be prepared to plug your ears as it's quite loud.