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Mother City bags top spot in regional survey

  • 08 August 2017 | Libby Peacock

View towards Hout Bay. (Image: John Viljoen)

Cape Town is no stranger to illustrious travel and tourism awards, but one more glowing accolade never hurts.

Every year, Travel + Leisure magazine asks readers to rate their top cities on sights, landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness and more in its World’s Best Awards survey.

The Mother City came out on top in the publication’s 2017 Best Cities in Africa & the Middle East survey category – for the 16th time in the awards’ 22-year history.

Boland winelands in summer. (Image: Libby Peacock)

The survey ran from November 2016 to March 2017 and the results appear in the magazine’s August 2017 issue and on its website.

Readers who chose Cape Town were particularly impressed by the city’s “rich and varied offerings”. Travel + Leisure commented that there’s “likely no other city on Earth where you can go from hiking a mountain to spotting giraffes to eating at a world-class restaurant, all in the span of a single day”.

It continued that “with outdoorsy pursuits and splendid natural beauty”, the city was “worth a whole week’s vacation” and “far more affordable” than most similarly cosmopolitan cities.

In its online travel guide, the publication also sings the praises of Cape Town’s harbour, nightlife, beaches and mountainous surroundings, as well as the “iconic” Table Mountain plateau and “sapphire-blue Table Bay”.

Having beaten Jerusalem (placed second), Beirut (third), Marrakesh (fourth) and Fez (fifth) to lead the regional list, Cape Town was also rated eighth overall in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Top 15 Cities category – ahead of such popular tourist meccas as Barcelona, Rome and Udaipur. The global winner was Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende.

The magazine said what tied the global contenders together was that almost all were pedestrian friendly, possessed ample green space and had “a rich history that’s being thoughtfully preserved as the city grows”.

How to make the most of what the Mother City has to offer

Penguin love, Boulders Beach. (Image: John Viljoen)

See the sights and experience the delights and attractions that prompted Travel + Leisure’s globetrotting readers to vote Cape Town number one in the region by hopping on one – or more – of City Sightseeing’s many tours.

Red-bus routes crisscross the city and surrounds and a ticket gives you access to all the main attractions, including Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront and the Two Oceans Aquarium, Camps Bay, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Hout Bay and the Constantia winelands.

You can also take a full-day, guided Cape Explorer excursion to Cape Point or the Cape winelands in a luxury air-conditioned coach – or take advantage of one of City Sightseeing’s free walking tours to explore the city’s history, the picturesque Bo-Kaap, poignant District Six or the bustling V&A Waterfront.

Book your tickets online, from the ticket offices at stop 1 or stop 5, or from the bus driver (subject to availability).