As we approach the final lap of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers, the spotlight will inevitably fall on next month's Final Draw which will decide the destination and the fate of the 32 qualified teams that will participate in Africa's maiden FIFA World Cup next year.
And, it is therefore no surprise that Cape Town, the city that will host the Final Draw on 4 December is now the centre of attention. In South Africa, Cape Town is often fondly referred to as the ‘Mother City', and after a short tour of the place, it is probably not hard to imagine as to why this artistic centre that sits at the foot of one of the most majestic peaks, Table Mountain, holds such significance for the Rainbow Nation.
Renowned for its beautiful beaches, bright sunshine and artistic places, Cape Town will provide the perfect setting for the draw and, with its summer weather, the city is now gearing itself up to welcome visitors and teams alike. Known as a melting point of different cultures, languages and ethnic groups, Cape Town is one of the highly coveted destinations in South Africa for tourists.
It has an impeccable record in hosting top international events and now the Final Draw will position it as a destination of choice in the minds of millions of viewers who will watch the proceedings around the draw from their television sets. It is these people who are expected to flock to South Africa next year to watch the first ever FIFA World Cup on African soil.
So, what is it about Cape Town that makes it so enticing? FIFA.com takes a closer look at South Africa's ‘Mother City'.
Standing at just over 1,000 metres tall, the flat-topped giant that is Table Mountain towers over the city of Cape Town. The summit of Table Mountain can be accessed by hiking trails or cable car. From the top of the mountain, the expanse of Atlantic Ocean unfolds across the horizon. The prominent shapes of Lions Head and Devil's Peak loom in the distance and sitting on the ocean's surface, Robben Island, flickers from inside the ocean mist some 11 kilometers off the coast.
From the manicured hills of Stellenbosch to the vineyards of Franschhoek and Paarl, the wine regions located nearby Cape Town have produced some world-renowned wines. Guesthouse and hotels abound in these areas, making the winelands the perfect place to spend a few days. A typical day in the winelands brings with it scenic views, superb cuisine and mouthfuls of captivating wine.
The toughest part of a Cape Town beach day is choosing which beach to frequent. Camps Bay is set across the road from a busy strip of restaurants, cafes and beach bars. Meanwhile, Clifton has long been the playground of the slim and sexy. Clifton comprises four separate beaches tucked into natural coves, which provide perfect shelter from the wind. Further out of the city, Llandudno is an old favourite amongst local surfers and sun-worshippers. Blouberg Beach is a popular surf spot for both board riders and kite surfers, while many surfers have learnt their moves at Muizenburg Beach.
The V&A Waterfront
While many people are put off by the idea of spending precious holiday hours in a shopping mall, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is an entertainment and shopping area without equal. Forming part of the Port of Cape Town, a busy international harbour in its own right, the Waterfront is where industry meets leisure. Shopping aside, there are numerous attractions including the Two Ocean's Aquarium, Clock Tower and Robben Island Museum. You can also take boat rides out to sea, helicopter flips along the coast and tours to Robben Island. Inside the mall, designer stores stand alongside uniquely South African stores, ensuring that the contents of your shopping bags will be as cosmopolitan as the city you bought them in.
A melting point of cultures
The contrast and overlapping of cultures in Cape Town is a characteristic that dates back over half a century. First, there were the Portuguese explorers that sailed around the southern tip of Africa in 1488; then the Dutch and British colonists that jostled to lay claim to this important stop on the trade route to India; after which there were the slaves from Indonesia and Madagascar that would form the origins of the lively Cape Creole Culture that exists today. Today, Cape Town is home to many different cultures including the Xhosas, the coloureds and other many other tribes in South Africa.