Although Cape Town has long been a favourite with both local and international visitors, it has only recently really received the international acclaim it so richly deserves. Just this past week Cape Town was named the Number One Place to Visit in 2014 by The New York Times and British newspaper The Guardian. Cape Town secured the top spot ahead of Los Angeles, the Vatican and the Seychelles in the American newspaper’s list of 52 places to visit in 2014.
The New York Times attributed the city’s natural beauty, diversity of its people and the role it played in the victory of democracy to its selection as a preferred destination for people from around the world. The newspaper further described Cape Town as “a place to meditate on freedom and the creative life that followed”.
These accolades follow hot on the heels of earning a respectable third place on Lonely Planet’s 2014 Best in Travel list and being voted the world’s Favourite City in a survey held by another popular British newspaper, The Telegraph. The runners up in this survey were Vancouver and Venice.
Explaining the reason behind Cape Town’s win, The Telegraph said: “While all three cities nominated were seaside cities, there is only one in which you can surf the Atlantic, climb mountains, eat in Michelin-starred restaurants, stay in both historical and super-hip accommodation, indulge in wine tours and still find time to relax on the beach (with or without penguins).”
Of course Cape Town’s connection with Mandela and the fact that Cape Town is the 2014 World Design Capital have played no small part in its recent rise to prominence. The World Design Capital programme is an initiative of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, which aims to promote and celebrate cities that have used design as a tool to re-invent themselves and improve social, cultural and economic life. Cape Town has enjoyed success on all of these fronts, hence its selection. The council awarded Cape Town the title in October 2011 ahead of Dublin, Ireland and Bilbao, Spain.
The city will now proceed to host a year-long programme of design orientated events which will showcase the city’s artists, artisans and architects. According to the Western Cape government, previous World Design Capital titleholders boasted an uptick in visitor numbers in their title year. Coupled with its recent bevy of travel accolades Cape Town can, in all probability, look forward to a stellar year.
Some of the top attractions which have put Cape Town on the map include:
· Cape Point
· Boulders Beach penguin colony
· Kalk Bay harbour
· Chapmans Peak drive
· Fish Hoek beach
· Cage diving with Great White sharks
· Surfing at Muizenberg
· Countless gourmet restaurants
· Robben Island
· The District Six Museum
· The Old Biscuit Mill
· Long Street’s many bars
· Kirstenbosch Gardens
· Numerous upmarket spasa
· The Cape winelands
· Mount Nelson Hotel
My personal favourite when visiting Cape Town is Fairview Wine & Cheese Estate. In Johannesburg, I’ve taken a liking to Maboneng and the incredible creativity and innovations stemming from this node. It’s safe to say that every city has attractions and hotspots that make it stand out. What’s yours?