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Founded as a Dutch settlement in 1652, the port city of Cape Town occupies a highly dramatic location beneath craggy peaks and the soaring, cliff-lined plateau of Table Mountain. The legislative capital of South Africa, Cape Town is also Africa’s most popular tourist destination, giving this city a bustling sense of refinement. Begin with a visit to the harbor, where the newly restored Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is a preserve of both vintage structures and a modern shopping and cultural center. The Table Mountain Cableway whisks you nearly 3,500 feet (1,100 meters) above the city to vista points with unparalleled views toward the Cape of Good Hope.
Set on the waterfront, surrounded by spectacular mountains, Cape Town is one of the world's prettiest cities.
Think of San Francisco and the Mediterranean rolled up into one - a place with great arts and culture, nearby wine country with gorgeous old architecture and prize-winning product, sunny, active beaches, and a city centre full of charm and history.
It's been called the African Eden and the Mother City, the place where modern South Africa has its roots. Explorers had sailed round the Cape for many years, but it wasn't until the mid-17th century that the Dutch landed and started a settlement against the backdrop of Table Mountain.
It has grown through the years as a regional centre and remains very much the reserve of South Africa's European descendants. There is little evidence of black South Africa unless visitors stray into the poor townships on the Cape Flats, on the fringe of the city.
The attractions here are endless, from simple walks around the historic downtown quarters, dining and drinks at the waterfront, art galleries, Cape wine tours to drives up the scenic west coast or along the Indian Ocean-side Garden Route.
Africa's racial policies kept Cape Town a travel secret for decades, but apartheid is gone and the city wants a place on the world stage. It's now bidding for the 2004 Olympic Summer Games.