Saturday, 23 May 2009

Cape Town - Not just a perfect holiday destination...

Well, since I'm bored and not doing much, I thought I'd update my blog... But not really an update on my life itself. I can sum that up in one sentence: Things are going well and I only have three weeks left in Cape Town before I head to the USA for my Mercy Ships long-term training. So now I thought I'd introduce you to Cape Town and a few images of my hometown. I wrote this piece for my company but thought I'd put it here as well. It's aimed at selling Cape Town as not just a great holiday destination - but actually a great place to live too.

Cape Town, South Africa. The thought of this place conjures up awe-inspiring images of the mighty Table Mountain, the breathtaking Chapman’s Peak Drive, and Robben Island, notorious as the island prison that held Nelson Mandela and many other political prisoners during the apartheid regime. But Cape Town is not just a perfect holiday destination with many tourist attractions. A thriving place both for industry and business, Cape Town is an ideal place to live, not just to visit.

Affectionately known by locals as the Mother City, in reference to the city’s place as the oldest town in South Africa, Cape Town is located at the south-western tip of the African continent. Cape Town is situated in an area known for its mild weather and favourable climate. The Western Cape has a Mediterranean climate, characterised by warm summers and mild, wet winters (summer temperatures peak at around 30 degrees Celcius and in winter the daily temperature is around 15 degrees Celcius).

Apart from this attractive climate, there is also a vibrant culture in the Mother City. There is the Cape Minstrel Festival on “Tweede Nuwe Jaar” (Afrikaans: “Second New Year”, the 2nd of January). This annual festival sees some 13,000 minstrels (part of local troupes) take to the streets dressed in bright clothes and playing various musical instruments. This is one of the many highlights of Cape Town. Cape Town is indeed a kaleidoscope of cultures, with descendants of Malay slaves and European settlers living side by side with African (Xhosa and Zulu) locals. The Bo Kaap in upper Cape Town is a particularly colourful area, as are the sprawling townships on the Cape Flats. Seeing these areas is a definite must for both local and tourist alike, as is sampling the vast variety of local cuisine.

Cape Town is a major sporting centre of South Africa, with international sports stadiums like Newlands Rugby Stadium, Sahara Park Newlands (cricket), Athlone Soccer Stadium as well as the under-construction 2010 FIFA World Cup stadium at Green Point. There are many cricket, rugby and soccer clubs that are based in the Cape region. The Cape Peninsula hosts the Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour, the world’s largest-timed cycling event (some 35,000 participants), and the Two Oceans Marathon. Many fine schools and tertiary institutions are also based in the Cape Town area. The University of Cape Town is a world-renowned place of higher education, nestled on the slopes of Devil’s Peak.

Business, technology and a world-class infrastructure make Cape Town an ideal place for investment and economic opportunity too. Many companies have their headquarters in Cape Town’s Central Business District and Cape Town also boasts important links to the world through the Port of Cape Town, South Africa’s second busiest port after Durban, and Cape Town International Airport, which has flights departing direct to destinations in Europe and America. An effective road and rail network also links Cape Town with the rest of the country.

Steeped in history with a rich natural and cultural heritage, and a world-class infrastructure, why not consider settling in Cape Town today?

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