A province of diversities, it offers unique cultural and natural heritage sites such as Table Mountain and Robben Island. Cape Town is the legislative capital of SA. A top tourism destination, it is filled with world-class beaches and restaurants and is also home to some of the most expensive real estate in the country. Because of its many attractions, it is a top spot for those semigrating within the country.
- Area: 129,462 km2
- Population Est: 7,113,776
- Density: 45/km2
- Afrikaans (49,7%)
- Xhosa (24.7%)
- English (20.2%)
- Capital: Cape Town
The Western Cape is climatologically diverse, with many distinct micro- and macroclimates created by the varied topography and the influence of the surrounding ocean currents. These are the warm Agulhas Current which flows southwards along South Africa’s east coast, and the cold Benguela Current which is an upwelling current from the depths of the South Atlantic Ocean along South Africa’s west coast. Thus climatic statistics can vary greatly over short distances.
Most of the province is considered to have a Mediterranean climate with cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers. Both the Great Karoo and Little Karoo, in the interior, have an arid to semi-arid climate with cold, frosty winters and hot summers with occasional thunderstorms. The Garden Route and the Overberg on the south coast have a maritime climate with cool, moist winters and mild, moist summers. Mossel Bay in the Garden Route is considered[by whom?] to have the second mildest climate worldwide after Hawaii. The La Niña phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation cycle tends to increase rainfall in this region in the dry season (November to April).
Thunderstorms are generally rare in the province (except in the Karoo) with most precipitation being of a frontal or orographic nature. Extremes of heat and cold are common inland, but rare near the coast. Snow is a common winter occurrence on the Western Cape Mountains occasionally reaching down into the more inland valleys. Otherwise, frost is relatively rare in coastal areas and many of the heavily cultivated valleys.