'Cape Town is like Southern California on steroids!' + other spots embodied by Mother City flavour

2019-07-15 12:12 - Gabi Zietsman
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For travellers, Cape Town isn't only the best city in Africa - but it also beat out Middle Eastern cities!

The Mother City received some much-needed love from Travel + Leisure for their World's Best Awards by taking the top crown on the continent. It won against the likes of Jerusalem, Marrakesh, Beirut and even Dubai, with one respondent from the survey calling Cape Town "Southern California on steroids!"

WATCH: Cape Town throws all the cliches at you with their cool winter deals campaign

But the city doesn't only just encapsulates the spirit of this well-known stretch of US coastline - Cape Town is an all-in-one city with a wide-ranging appeal that attracts foodies, cultural enthusiasts, urbanites and even nature lovers.

So much so, it can easily stand-in for other spots around the world besides Southern California - join us on this global tour that can all be done in just one place!

READ: The world's best cities to live in - and where Cape Town, Durban and Jo'burg rank

Eat like you're in London

When you think of foodie cities in the world, the sprawling streets of London is definitely high up on the list. While it's not necessarily the traditional English cuisine that people flock to its restaurants for, it's the fusions of a world of cultures that have become entrenched in the fabric of the city - the curry scents drifting through the streets, European cuisine made by world-famous chefs and even the classic fish-and-chips rolled up in newspapers. 

Well in Cape Town you'll find this and more - our Cape Malaysian cuisine is an important part of the city's culture and just a quick walk down Long and Kloof Street will let you travel the world just through food. We also have one of the best restaurants in the world - The Test Kitchen - and for those with lighter wallets can always head to Hout Bay for classic fish-and-chips while indulging in the sea air. 

SEE: From the promenade to Chinese dumplings - the wonder of Cape Town's lively Sea Point

Preserved heritage like Singapore

In a modern city like Singapore, you might not really think of historical cultural sites surviving the onslaught of new skyscrapers and architectural marvels taking over the skyline. But the city-state actually has a very solid conservation plan when it comes to renovating and upkeeping their historical buildings, especially in places like Joo Chiat which became Singapore's first heritage town as a traditional Peranakan cultural enclave. 

Cape Town has similar cultural sites and architectural heritage that's fighting for conservation - specifically our colourful Bo-Kaap suburb. The area recently won conservation status to protect its streets and homes from developers, retaining the Muslim community's history and identity for the benefit of the whole city.  

WATCH: Bo-Kaap and gentrification: When your home becomes a tourist attraction

San Francisco-style urban living

San Francisco is one of the most picturesque cities in the world - and with that comes a laid-back lifestyle that's actually quite active for its urban surroundings. Young professionals and creatives flock from all over to take part in its vibrancy, very much like a city of our own.

The Mother City has been compared to this US one numerous times, especially because you don't even have to travel outside the city to take a hike in nature - all thanks to the iconic Table Mountain. When the sun glints early in the morning on the fog that can descend without notice on its buildings, you might do a double take to not confuse it with San Francisco. Another feature the two cities share is that both have a world-famous prison island - Alcatraz for the US and Robben Island for SA. 

WATCH: A pilgrimage of memory to Robben Island


Wine it up like Bordeaux

France's Bordeaux region is probably one of the most well-known wine regions in the world - producing some of the biggest award-winners and most expensive cultivars for those with a refined nose. Not only is the wine exquisite, but its vineyards and tasting rooms drip in old-school winemaking charm, creating unforgettable wine experiences. 

But you don't have to be a millionaire to enjoy amazing wine - or even travel far into the countryside. Cape Town obviously has not only some of the best wine in South Africa, but also some of the oldest, and wine farm stalwarts like Groot Constantia have even produced wine favoured by world history icons like Napoleon Bonaparte, Frederick the Great and Louis Phillipe. 

READ: Groot Constantia: Championing winelands conservation for over three centuries

Beaches that rival that of Ipanema

Few beaches in Brazil are as famous as Rio de Janeiro's Ipanema Beach, hugely popular for sunbathing, surfing and watching the sun set over the blue horizon. But there's more to the beach than its sandy beauty - high-end restaurants and bars line the beachfront, luring in those looking for the perfect sundowner. 

But you don't have to travel to Brazil for this kind of beach experience - Cape Town's beaches have consistently ranked in the top lists around the world. Some are less popular offering quiet escapes from the big summer crowds, while others have a vibey party atmosphere spurred on by long days on the Camps Bay beach before heading into the cocktail haven of its beachfront road. Ipanema who?

SEE: Most Instagrammed beaches in the world: Boulders comes in 6th

Berlin's art scene rediscovered in Cape Town

It all started with the fall of the wall - since then artists from around the world have flocked to the multicultural landscape of Germany's Berlin where they are welcomed with open arms. Hundreds of galleries, famous international artists and long stretches of street art have turned the city into a major art hub.

But Cape Town is hot on its heels - First Thursdays have put a major spotlight on the city's many art galleries making it accessible to all, and since the opening of the Zeits MOCAA contemporary art museum African works have found another foothold not just in the city but in the world. And when it comes to street art, just take a tour through Woodstock and Salt River where not only locals have unleashed their creativity but international artists as well. 

WATCH: Quick guide to the street galleries of Cape Town


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